Mazda Malaysia has introduced a mid-spec variant of the Mazda 2 1.5 sedan and hatchback, and prices for the new base version of the car now starts from RM74,866 on-the-road without insurance, or RM75,396 with the cost-option Soul Red paint finish.

Fundamentals such as the 114 hp/148 Nm 1,496 cc Skyactiv-G petrol engine and six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox remain untouched, and so changes that bring the Thai-assembled Mazda 2 to a lower price point are accomplished through a new trim specification.

Out goes the machined/two-tone 16-inch alloys, and 15-inch units – wrapped with 185/65 series tyres – take their place. In front, the foglamp housings are similar to the ones found with the recent update, but are in matte black compared to the gloss black on the fully-specfied variants.

Elsewhere, the blades on the front grille are also finished in matte black instead of being body-coloured items. The mid-spec also dispenses with the LED headlamps and daytime running lights, while around the back, the boot release is now solely operable by a button residing above the bonnet release inside the cabin.

Further along, the push-button engine start has been retained, but there’s no keyless entry. Inside, seat upholstery is a grey fabric scheme instead of the part-leather, part-suede trim found higher up the model range. Safety equipment remains as is, with dual front airbags and Isofix child seat anchor points at the back.

Among the more apparent changes on this specification include manual air-conditioning, a polyurethane steering wheel and the omission of paddle shifters, though the Sport mode toggle switch – which provides a more enthusiastic gearshift logic – remains. Also, the padded leather dash panel and centre console knee padding have been replaced by gloss black chequered plastic trim on this one.

Infotainment on the mid-spec Mazda 2 is reduced to a simplified CD audio player unit, which features four speakers instead of six and a downsized dot matrix display in place of the LCD unit on the full-spec car. The display choice means that there’s no reverse camera here, but reverse parking sensors remain.

Also, the simplified audio system also does away with Bluetooth connectivity as well as the Commander Control rotary dial and button set, but you get an extra cubby hole for small items in its place. One of the two USB ports on the higher trim level model makes way for a 3.5 mm auxiliary audio cable input.

Elsewhere, driver instrumentation omits the HUD and the instrument cluster features some revisions – the central binnacle now features an analogue speedometer in place of the tachometer (and digital speedometer) seen on the higher variants. Here, the tachometer has been shifted to the smaller display on the left.

All in, the mid-spec car offers a saving of approximately RM12,000 from the more generously kitted one – do you think it’s a worthwhile trade-off, the lower entry point to the Jinba Ittai experience, dear readers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

You can view the full specifications of the mid-spec Mazda 2 1.5 hatchback and mid-spec Mazda 2 1.5 sedan on CarBase.my.