Far from being the baby of the Mazda range, the Mazda2 is a thoroughly grown-up supermini.

Extra equipment, a more refined ride and smart interiors are part of the package that aims to keep this compact car a serious player in the biggest selling and most competitive segment in the UK car market.

Tweaks to the suspension and steering help to increase steering response and revised front and rear damper settings improve ride quality in an already sharp-handling car.

Interior upgrades included new seat fabrics, a new steering wheel and improved sound insulation which all helps to make the Mazda2 a rather nice place to be, whether nipping around town or making longer cross-country journeys.

With an easily adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel that adjusts for rake and reach it takes a matter of seconds to get comfortable.

The instrument and control layout is new – the compact cowled binnacle ahead of the driver features a new winged instrument panel that contains driving data and the test car came with a dash-mounted seven-inch colour touchscreen display combined with a rotary controller between the front seats.

Visibility levels have been improved over the last-generation model by the repositioning of the A-pillars and the wing mirrors, creating a wider field of vision.

The combination of a longer wheelbase, new seats with thinner backs and headrests, a compact instrument binnacle and slimmer centre console has resulted in a little more space for not only the driver and front passenger but also a bit of extra knee clearance for rear passengers, compared to the outgoing model.

Boot space has also increased.

Mazda says it has made the cabin quieter by fitting noise-insulating glass in the windscreen and additional under-bonnet sound proofing. Sound-absorbing material has also been added to the inside of the tailgate, the parcel shelf and the spare wheel well to reduce high-frequency noise entering the cabin from the rear.

Mazda has slimmed down the range to a five-trim, eight-model line-up priced from £13,595, all of them powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine, in a choice of three power outputs, with either five-speed and six-speed manual transmissions or a six-speed automatic transmission.

All cars, outside of the entry-level engine models, come with a touchscreen display with integrated navigation and infotainment system, DAB radio and cruise control.

While the Sport Nav+ trim level, like the car driven here, adds a set of glitzy 16-inch alloy wheels, shark fin roof antenna and a range of upmarket equipment like privacy glass, rear parking sensors, climate control air-conditioning and smart keyless entry.

The standard safety equipment is also upmarket with all models supplied with six airbags, anti-lock braking, dynamic stability control, traction control system, emergency stop signalling, hill hold assist, tyre pressure monitoring system and ISOFIX child seat anchors on the two outer rear seats. All 90 horsepower and 115 horsepower cars are also fitted with infrared sensor-operated smart city brake support and a camera-operated lane departure warning system.

Competition in the supermini market is white hot, with manufacturers raising their game as people look to downsize from physically larger vehicles while being reluctant to give up the luxuries that were once the sole preserve of much larger cars.

The Mazda2 might be compact but it is large on luxury.

Auto facts

Model: Mazda2 1.5 90PS Sport Nav+

Price: £17,295

Insurance group: 15 (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 62.8mpg

Top speed: 114mph

Length: 406cm/159.4in

Width: 169.5cm/66.5in

Luggage capacity: 9.9 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 9.9 gallons/44 litres

CO2 emissions: 118g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles