IT’S taken seven tortuous hours, a screeching bird, a huge dress and the blare of a truck’s horn to do it, but I finally say the words that have been haunting me for months: “Getting married sucks!”
The words ricochet around the Mazda 2’s cabin like a bouncy ball, but mercifully don’t wake my beautiful wife-to-be, who’s doing her best impersonation of a sleeping zombie in the passenger seat.
We’re en route from Melbourne to Sydney to get hitched, an overnight road trip that’s been 18 months in the planning, and one I now realise is a mistake. The road trip part, not the married bit.
It’s 10pm, I’m tired after a full day at work and the little 2 is so crammed with wedding paraphernalia it feels like a coffin. Even worse, as good as the 2 has been in suburbia, it’s less convincing on the freeway.
This is the second intestate dash we’ve tackled in the 2 (oh, the joys of planning a Sydney wedding from Melbourne) and both trips have been plagued by road and wind noise, a bugbear of Mazdas for many years. The roar is so pronounced I actually pulled over on our first trip to ensure the boot and rear doors were closed. Sadly, they were.
But while your ears take a pummelling, I can’t fault the 2 for interior comfort. The cloth seats are supportive and well made, the driving position excellent, the air-con freezing and faultless, and I absolutely love the head-up display, which still feels like a novelty in a $20K city car. It means that, while its below-par NVH can be tiring, even tall blokes like me can clamber out after a 10-hour stint without a sore back or stiff legs.
Then there’s how much crap the 2 can swallow. Its 250-litre boot capacity is hardly class-leading, but with both the rear seats folded flat I’ve managed to squeeze into the cabin two suitcases, all our wedding equipment and a wedding dress so large it has several moons. There’s even room in the back for a small birdcage occupied by a screeching cockatiel named Alfie, which my future wife is ferrying to its new home in Sydney. Bless her.
Another blessing is the 2’s frugal economy, with its amazing 1.5-litre donk sipping just 5.5L/100km up the Hume. On the freeway the atmo four cruises quietly and effortlessly, and is so flexible you just leave it in sixth. Only the hills around Yass require some quick downshifts back to fourth.
Lots of positives, then, but the 2’s lack of refinement at highway speeds is hard to ignore. It’s a shame, not only because the rest of the package is so convincing but because, after 10 hours of slogging on the freeway, it’s enough to drive you spare.
Just like wedding planning.
This article was originally published in Wheels July 2015.
Click here to read the full range review on the Mazda 2