Mazda 2 review
The Mazda 2 brings sharp looks, decent running costs and a fun drive to the supermini class
Good looks, practicality and engaging driving characteristics mean the latest Mazda 2 is a serious contender in the supermini class. While other brands seek efficiency through small capacity engines and turbocharging, Mazda sticks to larger, naturally-aspirated engines that give punchy performance and decent economy.
The Mazda 2’s spacious, well-designed interior has a quality feel for the most part, and the car is good value and safe too. With low running costs and strong demand for used versions meaning residual values should stay pretty healthy, the Mazda 2 is a supermini that can appeal to the head as well as the heart.
About the Mazda 2
The Mazda 2 is the company's smallest car, but there are plenty of small Mazdas in the company's history. One of its first cars was the Carol, a tiny saloon with a 360cc petrol engine. Since then, Mazda has offered the 121 and the Demio, the latter is what the Mazda 2 is called back in Japan. While the latest 2 is produced in Mexico and Thailand, UK cars are built in Japan.
If you want something different from your supermini, then the Mazda 2 could be right up your street. The current car is the Mk4, which was introduced in 2014. And while it's gunning for sales in the hard-fought supermini class, it has plenty of appeal for buyers looking for a sporty small car with fun handling and decent economy.
The sharp shape is compact and appealing, while the large grille, distinctive eagle-eye headlights and LED running lights on higher spec cars add to its looks. The Mazda 2 only comes as a five-door supermini these days - if you want a small Mazda in another body style, your other options are the Mazda CX-3 small crossover or the sporty two-seat MX-5 roadster.
There are three petrol engines to choose from with the Mazda 2. They're based on the same 1.5 Skyactiv-G powerplant and come in 75PS, 90PS or 115PS guises with 74bhp, 89bhp or 113bhp respectively. All engines come with a five-speed manual, except for the 115PS unit, which has a six-speed manual. The 90PS engine can also be had with a six-speed auto for around £1,500 extra.
A mild facelift took place in 2017, and the Mazda 2 range currently comprises SE-L, Sport, GT Sport and GT Sport Tech trims. Prices start at just over £16,000, while the top-spec GT Sport Tech is the only equipment level available with the 113bhp engine - priced at almost £21,000.
There are a lot of rivals for the Mazda 2 in the supermini class. At the head of the pack are established models like the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and Citroen C3. Of these three, the Fiesta matches the 2's handling fun, although the new SEAT Ibiza is also a front-runner for an entertaining drive. Elsewhere, the Hyundai i20, Toyota Yaris and Kia Rio are sensible choices, while the Nissan Micra adds some tech and funky looks to the mix. The Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa offer solid quality but are getting on a bit, while the Skoda Fabia, Honda Jazz and Renault Clio are practical alternatives.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Mazda 2 brings sharp looks, decent running costs and a fun drive to the supermini class
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Mazda 2 is refined, comfortable and eager thanks to punchy engines and an agile chassis
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsMazda promises great ‘real world’ economy with low emissions. Residuals look good too
- 4Interior, design and technologyEye-catching exterior and a stylish interior ensure the Mazda 2 has plenty of showroom appeal
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceA supermini with space to seat five adults in relative comfort, but luggage space is only average
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Mazda 2 is packed with safety gear, although some of it is optional, and shouldn’t suffer reliability issues either