The Mazda2 has excellent chassis and well-proven mechanical layout, featuring Mazda’s innovative SkyActiv technology, delivers one of the best driving experiences in the class. The Mazda is not a price leader but still the top-selling Neo version, which is the entry level in the range, offers respectable value for money in terms of standard features, insurance cost and fuel consumption. Cabin space, while not abundant, is functional, the seats are comfortable, and most drivers will appreciate the simple, easy-to-use layout of the instrumentation and controls. The Neo gets a slightly more basic 1.5-litre SkyActiv engine than the higher-spec Mazda2 models, but with its useful 79kW of power and 139Nm of torque put to the road efficiently by a smooth changing six-speed automatic, the performance is still better than most others at this budget-focused end of the market. On the road Mazda2 has a surefooted feel. Direct steering and a small turning circle make city driving a real breeze. Its roadholding and cornering ability are impressive, while the ride, although firm, is fairly compliant.