Mazda 2 Sport review
Top-spec Mazda 2 Sport has plenty of equipment and is one of the best superminis out there
The Mazda 2 Sport sits at the top of the Mazda 2 range and is designed to rival models such as the Ford Fiesta Zetec S and Vauxhall Corsa SRi. Featuring plenty of standard kit, sparkling driving dynamics and low running costs, the Mazda 2 Sport is one of the best superminis money can buy. It’s available with a choice of diesel and petrol engines, plus the there’s the option of a Nav version that aids a neat touchscreen sat-nav system.
Like the S, SE and SE-L models, the Mazda 2 Sport features the same eye-catching Kodo design cues as the bigger Mazda 3 and Mazda 6. However. The Mazda 2 Sport is identified by its larger 16-inch alloys wheels, tailgate spoiler and privacy glass for the rear-windows.
The interior of the Mazda 2 Sport gets similar upgrades, which help give it an upmarket feel that’s missing from cheaper variants. For instance, there’s a stitched faux-leather trim insert on the dashboard, while the ventilation and infotainment controls get an Audi-style knurled metal finish. Other highlights include the eye-catching combination of analogue and digital displays for the instruments, plus a slick, tablet-influenced touchscreen infotainment system that can also be accessed via a rotary controller mounted on the centre console.
The overall quality of the Mazda 2 Sport’s interior is good, with solid fit and finish and robust-feeling switchgear. However, some of the plastics used lower down in the cabin and for the door trims have low rent look and feel. Plus, on five-door models the rear doors shut with a tinny clang, rather than the reassuring thud you’d experience on the VW Polo.
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Still, the Mazda 2 Sport comes packed with standard equipment, including keyless entry, cruise control, a DAB radio and a multi-function steering wheel. You also benefit from the sort of safety equipment that’s normally reserved for bigger and more expensive models. For instance, both lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking are fitted as standard.
The Mazda 2 Sport also features a reasonable amount of space. It now matches the VW Polo when it comes to rear legroom, while the boot will swallow a class competitive 280-litres of luggage. The cabin is also full of useful storage, including a decent-sized glovebox, big door bins and a number of cupholders.
Under the skin the Mazda 2 Sport is identical to the standard car, meaning drivers benefit from eager acceleration and sharp handling. The use of Mazda’s weight-saving SkyActiv tech means that even the entry-level 89bhp 1.5-litre petrol will accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds. Yet while this looks good on paper, the four-cylinder unit feels a little sluggish at low revs and needs to be worked hard to give its best – the torquey turbocharged Ford EcoBoost and VW TSI units are more relaxing in day to day use.
The more powerful 113bhp version of the 1.5-litre engine is quicker in the sprint from 0-62mph, but it has the same 148Nm torque output so doesn’t feel much quicker in the real world, despite the addition of slick and precise six-speed manual gearbox – the lower powered car gets a five-speed unit.
Buyers looking for a little more mid-range muscle should consider the 89bhp 1.5-lire diesel, which boasts a healthy 220Nm of torque at just 1,400rpm. As a result it pulls more strongly at low revs and sails up motorway inclines without the need to change down a gear.
Whichever engine you choose, you’ll get the same sharp and engaging handling. The steering is a little light, but it’s quick and delivers decent feedback. There’s also plenty of grip, strong body control and powerful, progressive brakes.
More importantly, this agility doesn’t come at the expense of refinement. The low speed ride is a little firm, yet smoothes out the faster you go, while wind and road noise are well suppressed.