September 09, 2015

Horse 1977 - 2 Is A Good Number

Not quite a month ago our Peugeot 206 decided to throw a timing belt and spear several valves through the top of the cylinder head (see Horse 1961). Such a thing as you might expect is quite expensive and the cost of repairs to the vehicle ended up being worth more than the vehicle itself; at that point the economic decision was reached to dispose of the Peugeot. Au revoir, tu frai des ennuis. Au revoir, oh sourse de la douleur!
The replacement then was going to be either a Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2 or Ford Fiesta. As the race tightened, it was obvious that the Yaris and the Fiesta were going to lose because of their interiors; so we bought a Mazda 2.

The fourth generation Mazda 2 DJ was launched at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show and is the the first 2 to be produced after the Ford-Mazda divorce. To be honest, it doesn't share the same chuckability or absolute positive handling of the Fiesta (which is still in my opinion the best supermini currently on sale) but it has very pleasant handling anyway.
The steering is direct, though I would prefer more resistance through the wheel and there is less pitch than I would have expected. The wheels are jammed right into the corners and so in every circumstance that we've tried so far, which includes some very windy roads with changes in elevation, the car corners pretty well much flat; even at speeds of more than 100km/h.

Where does one take a new car? For anyone living within three hours of the place, the choice is obvious. On the other side of the Blue Mountains from Sydney and in the Central Tablelands, lies a city of about 33,000 people and which is the oldest inland settlement in Australia. In the 1850s the first discovery of payable gold in Australia was made in the area but today it is more reknown for being the location of the most famous mountain in Australia: Mount Panorama.
The motor racing circuit at Mount Panorama is arguably the most revered 6.2km of tarmac in the nation and so should have been the perfect choice to take a photograph of a new chariot, if it wasn't for the fact that Bathurst City Council have rangers patrolling every square inch of the place and there are signs every 40 yards telling you not to stop on the grass verges.

This photograph is on the mountain itself; looking over Bald Hills and off in the distance is the delightfully daftly named Hen & Chicken Rd and the Mid Western Highway which will take you on to Cowra, Young and Wagga Wagga (so good they named it twice).

The plucky little hobgoblin from Hōfu puts out 113 horsies from its 1.5L SkyActiv engine and although I had to bite my tongue and we got the six speed automatic, it comes with a tiptronic option which what I use most of the time. Those 113 horsies are so well behaved and so quiet, that I've already found myself on the wrong side of 120km/h without even really trying or even noticing until the speed warning started beeping at me.
I think that it looks reasonably attractive, though I don't quite like the C-pillar and the narrowish rear windows. The car does tend to present some problematic blind spots but that unfortunate is common across a lot of cars these days. Gone are the likes of the Ford Laser KC with its massive theatre of a rear window.

Driving this car is perhaps not as fun as it could have been but it is incredibly smooth. I like a car which does its level best to shake all of bones from their sockets but Mrs Rollo doesn't; this car feels more like wearing a pair of fur lined slippers than a pair or football boots. It is very comfortable to drive and I fully expect that after 12 hours at the wheel, you'd still be quite happy and fresh. It's happy enough that it invites you to play but it isn't so plush that it feels dead like a Yaris.

Inside it comes with more electronic toys than I've ever seen in a car which makes me a little bit scared but everything comes to hand quite nicely. Details such as the vents and a trim line which runs across the car, reminds me of the sort of thing that you might find in cars from the late 1950s, though I'm sure that if the little 2 was on the roads at the same time as Chuck Berry was on the radio, the people of the time would have thought that a spaceship had landed on earth. The car also has keyless start/stop which I've already been caught out with once; having tried to lock the car with the engine still running.

This is the car which I'll most like have well into the next decade and I think I'm quite happy with it. Sure, it isn't a Fiesta (and sadly isn't a Ford Ka either) but it does everything properly and more than everything I've asked of it. It even comes as advertised with a bit of "zoom-zoom" under the bonnet; so 2 in this case is a good number.

No comments: