Ian Lamming finds a surprising companion for a swift run to school
Ian Lamming finds a surprising companion for a swift run to school

LATE. Again! The boy just won’t get out of bed in the morning nor get ready at anything faster than the pace of a sloth.

Consequently, we are 16 minutes late setting off so that’s 16 minutes late for school then unless we can make up a bit of time. I say we but it’s down to me and the only bit of contrition he shows is telling me I’m a good driver – well, I’ll take that.

The twisty roads to the M6 are going to be the challenge. If you hit traffic you can end up doing 30mph all the way but if it’s a clear run you can double your speed.

So, what am I in? Something rapid and good handling I hope. Ah a Mazda2 Hybrid. Needs must, so let’s push this little hatchback and see what it is like.

Well, it’s quite a surprise. Firstly the three cylinder petrol hybrid motor has plenty of power for such a little car – 116PS to be precise – and acceleration is brisk. Coming up behind a slow mover I hit the throttle hard and the CVT auto gearbox puts the engine straight into the power band and keeps it there until we are safely past. Impressive.

Then there’s the handling and grip which prove to be excellent too allowing the Mazda2 to carry a fair amount of speed through the bends. When it is a tad too much the brakes scrub it off effectively and the balance of the chassis is such that nothing gets out of control. I really like this Mazda.

On the motorway the Mazda2 switches between petrol and electric depending on the gradient of the road and it cruises nicely, wafting along at the legal maximum. Being a triple it even sounds quite good with a pleasingly rorty edge to the exhaust note. Sooner than I imagine we arrive at school and have made up the time, the boy oblivious to the stresses of the journey.

But have I ruined the economy by pushing the Mazda along? Well, the trip computer reads 57mpg so I can’t really complain. At the end of the day we head home but miss the motorway section out completely going the scenic way instead, which is actually nine miles shorter but takes ten minutes longer. A glance at the fuel figure leaves me elated – 84mpg. Wow what a car and it’s clean too emitting a lowly 97g/km of nasty CO2, with the all the commensurate tax benefits to boot.

If you think the Mazda2 Hybrid looks familiar that’s because Mazda has borrowed it from Toyota – it’s a rebadged Yaris and there’s nothing wrong with that. There is a proper ’2 in the range which comes without hybrid but is a fully fledged Mazda with good looks and a fab interior.

There’s nothing wrong with the Hybrid. It is all very functional, looks nice enough and has reasonable specification in its tidy interior – though you have to use Google maps from your phone as there is no satnav.

While the handling is great there is a bit of road noise and vibration transmitted through the suspension but it’s not that bad really.

Mazda2 Hybrid is compact but there’s a useful boot, as small cars go, and enough room in the back for a lanky, slothful teen. It is also comfortable and is much more capable all round than its city car pretentions would suggest.

While I’m annoyed leaving late in the morning pushing on proves to be a useful exercise as it highlights just how accomplished the Mazda2 Hybrid is and how enjoyable it is as a driver’s car. Add unbelievable economy into the equation and the Hybrid really is an excellent little car.

Fact File

Mazda2 Homura

Engine: 1.5 three-cylinder petrol hybrid

Power: 116PS

Top speed: 109mph

0-62mph: 9.7 secs

Combined MPG: 67.3

Transmission: CVT

CO2 g/km: 97

Price: from £27,280