The Wedding Planner

Alex (and his car) sound off about getting hitched

ALEX INWOOD

ITíS taken seven tortuous hours, a screeching bird, a huge dress and the blare of a truckís horn to do it, but I finally say the words that have been haunting me for months: ďGetting married sucks!Ē

The words ricochet around the Mazda 2ís cabin like a bouncy ball, but mercifully donít wake my beautiful wife-to-be, whoís doing her best impersonation of a sleeping zombie in the passenger seat.

Weíre en route from Melbourne to Sydney to get hitched, an overnight road trip thatís been 18 months in the planning, and one I now realise is a mistake. The road trip part, not the married bit.

Itís 10pm, Iím 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, itís less convincing on the freeway.

This is the second intestate dash weíve 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 canít 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 thereís how much crap the 2 can swallow. Its 250-litre boot capacity is hardly class-leading, but with both the rear seats folded flat Iíve managed to squeeze into the cabin two suitcases, all our wedding equipment and a wedding dress so large it has several moons. Thereís 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 2ís 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 2ís lack of refinement at highway speeds is hard to ignore. Itís a shame, not only because the rest of the package is so convincing but because, after 10 hours of slogging on the freeway, itís enough to drive you spare.

Just like wedding planning.

EYES ON THE PRIZE

The Genki scores the same head-up display as an up-spec 3, yet its relatively simple graphics better suit the 2

Family affair

AS IF tying the knot didnít make me feel old enough, I did something else that made me feel positively ancient: fitted a baby seat. Having never even laid eyes on one before, it was an exhausting process of bent hooks, swearing and twisted seatbelts, yet despite my incompetence, the 2 swallowed the seat, and its occupant, comfortably while leaving room for another kid alongside. And the boot was big enough for a pram (another unfathomable object), which further boosts the 2ís family car cred.

OurGarage

MAZDA 2 GENKI

Date acquired: February 2015 Price as tested: $20,190 This month: 1787km @ 5.5L/100km Overall: 2834km @ 5.7L/100km