The bold and sophisticated exterior design of the Mazda2 model range is now enhanced for 2006 with new interior and exterior colours, new front, rear and fog lights, new design alloy wheels and black body trim updates. On the inside, Mazda2 has two new trim levels, and a new audio system with CD player. Mechanically the Mazda2 for 2006 is unchanged.

On sale now in the UK, the upgraded Mazda2 offers customers a nine-strong model line-up. Prices start at £8,700 (on-the-road) and rise to £10,630, with a choice of four powertrains (all Euro Stage 4 compliant) and three equipment levels. Three new body colours are available – Sea Grey Mica, Breeze Green Metallic and Neptune Green Mica – in the range of 10 exterior colours and the Capella now has stylish five-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels as standard. The 1.4 diesel with the five-speed ASM semi-automatic transmission is no longer available.

The 2006 Mazda2 retains its athletic and sophisticated exterior with the unmistakable Zoom-Zoom front end, strong shoulder lines and broad stance for its fun to drive appearance.

Overall length (3,925mm) and width (1,680mm, excluding door mirrors) remain as before. Enhancing this sportiness are newly designed headlights (now with round-shaped combination lamps for even more elegance), new clear-glass rear combination lamps (to emphasise the youthful look) and new ‘all black’ rear pillar design (which visually lowers the rear of the car).

Standard wheels and tyres on S and Antares models are 14-inch steel with plastic trim covers and 175/65 R14 tyres, while new five-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/45 R16 low-profile tyres are standard on the Capella.

The interior design of Mazda2 has always combined stylishness and high levels of craftsmanship, with sporty touches and premium fabrics and textures for a high quality feel interior. For 2006 the Mazda2 introduces two new trim levels along with new fabrics for the seats and door trim to enhance these attributes even further. For the S model interior, the former Black is replaced by a new Khaki colour. An enhanced Black interior colour is introduced for the Antares and Capella models. Higher quality new seat and door trim materials were chosen to visually coordinate with the titanium-look centre console for a more unified interior atmosphere.

On the inside, the 2006 Mazda2 retains the same award-winning interior with easy access, a spacious cabin, exceptional functionality and generous equipment. With room for five adults to travel in comfort and style, Mazda2’s dimensions provide roominess that is unique for a car in this class. Versatility is enhanced by rear seatbacks which split 60/40 and can be folded to create a nearly flat load floor and a front passenger seatback which folds forwards (on all but the S models) to allow long loads to be accommodated.

The high opening hatch and low load sill (513mm from the ground) make it easy to convert the car into a small two-seat transporter for larger items. Mazda2 was voted the overall winner of the What Car? magazine ‘Comfort Test’ in 2003 and 2004.

The 2006 Mazda2’s powertrain line up retains its three spirited, 16-valve DOHC petrol engines with a choice of 75ps, 80ps and 100ps power outputs. Each engine is frugal and Euro Stage 4 compliant. The petrol engines are matched to a precise shifting five-speed manual transmission that makes driving the Mazda2 sporty and fun.

The 1.4-litre can also be ordered with a five-speed Auto Shift Manual (ASM) transmission, which allows fully-automatic or clutchless driver-selected gear changes, and makes this version of the Mazda2 especially easy to drive.

The smooth operating and lively MZ-CD 1.4-litre common-rail turbo diesel engine is now Euro Stage 4 compliant without a diesel particulate filter system. The engine features an updated powertrain control module (PCM) and a new high pressure injection system with improved injection nozzles that deliver good fuel atomisation.

The engine’s exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system has also been improved to reduce NOx emissions with an electric EGR valve (replacing the former vacuum actuated EGR valve) a new EGR cooler, a new throttle valve that increases EGR flow and a boost temperature sensor. Although it now has cleaner emissions, the 1.4 diesel produces 68ps of power and 160Nm of torque at just 2,000rpm – as its predecessor, with a fuel-sipping consumption of 60.1mpg (Combined Cycle) and a CO2 rating of 124g/km.

Mazda2’s standard equipment for 2006 includes retractable ‘jack knife’ key with remote central locking, power steering, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, height and slide adjustable driver’s seat, a stereo radio/single CD payer with two speakers and a perimeter alarm.

The Antares model gains air conditioning, electric front windows, folding front passenger seat, body colour door mirrors and door handles, two additional audio speakers and black trim. Capella model customers benefit from electric rear windows, electric and heated door mirrors, two additional audio speakers and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Mazda2 retains the same chassis systems for 2006 that made the original model such a fun car to drive with precise steering, front MacPherson struts and a twist beam axle at the rear for predictable handling and a supple ride. The braking system features robust 258mm ventilated front discs and 203 mm rear drums working in conjunction with three electronic safety aids as standard – ABS, EBD and EBA – to stop the Mazda2 in just over 38 metres from 62mph.

Standard passive safety features include driver and passenger airbags, three-point seatbelts for all five occupants (with pretensioners and load-limiters in the front), along with impact absorbing materials in the B-pillars and roof lining.

Since launch, more than 105,000 Mazda2s have been sold in Europe where customers have taken advantage of this Mazda’s combination of fun driving attributes with low fuel consumption and the brand’s renowned reliability and durability. The 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre petrol models accounted for 33.5 per cent sales in 2005, with 27 per cent of customers buying the 1.4-litre diesel and 6 per cent the range-topping 1.6-litre petrol last year. Globally, Mazda2 attracted over 370,000 customers in the three years from January 2003.