The problem with today’s crop of small cars is that they aren’t actually very small. There’s nothing wrong with that apart from the fact that they also come with the penalty of weight.

On the plus side they are spacious and solid but it comes at a price - namely performance and economy.

If the engine remains small and the load rises then the motor will have to be thrashed to make reasonable progress and fuel economy drops as a result.

But Mazda has come up with a cunning plan and by making the all-new 2 as light as a soufflé it has managed to retain the peppy nature of the little car.

Small cars have their place in life scooting from A to B in a cute and attractive fashion.

Congestion and parking problems are part of the daily grind so the ideal small car will be nippy and easy to manoeuvre - which Mazda2 is.

Small cars also used to suffer when it came to bumps in the road. There simply wasn’t enough travel in the suspension which meant the shock was transferred to the old spine.

Not so the modern micros. Great care is taken to tune the suspension so it has the ride of a much bigger car, which the Mazda2 certainly has. It handles well too being sharp and composed around the bends so no complaints at all in the driving department.

The 1.4 litre diesel turns out a modest 68PS but more importantly 160Nm of torque at a lowly 2,000rpm. So when you floor the throttle you do feel a healthy kick in the back.

Couple this with an aerated sub-1,000kg weight and you have a little car that is ready to dash. Yet none of this occurs at the expense of economy and the little diesel will happily return more than 60 miles per gallon.

The improved performance reflects a change in target audience. The old Mazda2 was driven by more mature citizens who liked its upright stance and practical nature. But that car was never going to win over the kids.

New 2 is designed to appeal to youngsters and comes complete with funky styling, groovy interior and vibrant colour schemes.

There’s plenty of room inside to take your mates and a decent boot for young people’s paraphernalia.

There’s even a socket for your iPod and overall the car has a fun feel about it that will appeal to buyers. Older customers will have to get with it or upgrade to a Mazda3.

Top spec models get steering wheel mounted controls for the trip computer, cruise control and the hi-fi so there’s no need to even take the your hands off the wheel while you are thumping a beat to the latest sounds.

Young people are also more aware of their carbon footprints nowadays and will be delighted by the car’s low emissions and more than 50mpg fuel consumption.

Modern small cars really are masterpieces of packaging to maximise their appeal to the widest audience

Mazda2 represents a positive shift in appeal to a younger, more style conscious market. It can’t fail to grow in popularity and stature - but thankfully not in weight.

Car facts

Model: Mazda2 TS2

Engine: 1.4 litre, 16v, four cylinder turbo diesel

Drivetrain: five speed manual

Power: 68PS

Top speed: 101 mph

0-62mph: 15.5 secs

Insurance group: 3

Miles per gallon (combined): 68.9

CO2 (g/km): 107

Price: from £12,145.00

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