I slip into the comfortable leather seats. Autumn’s just arrived and it’s chilly as I set off into Perthshire, so I switch on the heated seats and – for good measure – put the heated steering wheel on too.
A head-up display beams my speed onto the windscreen so I don’t have to look away from the road, and a podcast is playing on the premium stereo.
Am I in a high-class executive car? No, I’m driving a Mazda2 supermini.
Mazda’s littlest model has been revamped and really does push for class leadership when it comes to looks, quality and refinement.
Fair enough I’m in a top spec GT Sport Nav model, but at £18,340 it’s not expensive considering the impressive list of standard equipment, and entry level models cost from just over £15,000.
Under the bonnet is a 1.5 litre mild-hybrid petrol engine producing 90bhp, enough to get it from 0-62 in 9.7 seconds. Fuel economy is 53.3mpg.
Most rivals have gone for 1.0 litre three cylinder engines but I’d question how reliable they’ll be in a five or seven-year old car. Mazda’s petrol engines have a reputation for being bulletproof and the 1.5 is a great unit, scoring highly on power, economy and refinement.
Comfort is first rate and the Mazda cruises nicely at 70mph. It handles well too, making it fun on a country lane. And, of course, it’s excellent around town, darting out of junctions, while its light steering and compact footprint make parking a cinch.
The infotainment screen is controlled by a rotary dial that’s far more user friendly than the touchscreen affairs most rivals now use. There’s a suite of safety features including lane keep assist, auto emergency braking and driver attention alert.
It’s also great looking, especially if you go for one of Mazda’s metallic colours, which really add some pop. The back will just about fit adults and the boot’s a good size too.
My top spec model cost around the same as an entry Audi A1 and I know which one I’d rather spend my cash on.