Price £12,195 - £17,395
- Good-looking inside and out
- Efficient engine choices
- Sharp handling
- Light steering
- Noisy petrol engine
- Some cheap interior materials
At a glance
“The Mazda2 is a seriously stylish supermini that offers modern looks, an engaging driving experience and a range of economical engines.”
The Mazda2 is a supermini that competes with top-selling stalwarts like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, as well as the classy Volkswagen Polo and the impressively practical Skoda Fabia. In such accomplished company, it would be easy to overlook the small Mazda; thankfully, though, the 2's handsome and distinctive looks help it stand out from the crowd, while an engaging driving experience and economical diesel engine prove its talents run deeper than looks alone.
Mazda offers the 2 with a 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel engine. The petrol is available with 74, 89 or 113bhp, while the one diesel produces 104bhp. Fuel economy across the petrol range is impressive, if not class-leading. The 74bhp engine returns 60.1mpg and emits 110g/km of CO2 (making road tax just £20 a year), while the more powerful 89bhp engine doesn’t have to work as hard, so economy rises to 62.8mpg – although road tax remains the same.
The most powerful 113bhp petrol is still reasonably economical to run, returning 56.5mpg and costing just £30 a year in road tax. If you cover a lot of miles and prioritise efficiency, though, you should probably choose the diesel; this boasts impressive fuel economy of 83.1mpg and is exempt from road tax thanks to its low CO2 emissions. Do note that the larger alloy wheels of higher trim levels adversely affect economy slightly.
Performance is good for a supermini – as long as you avoid the entry-level 74bhp petrol engine, which takes a leisurely 12.1 seconds to go from 0-62mph. Moving up to the 89bhp engine sees the time shrink to 9.4 seconds, while the top-of-the-range 113bhp petrol engine is faster still, taking 8.7 seconds to do the same. The 1.5-litre diesel engine sits somewhere in the middle of the petrol range in terms of acceleration, going from 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds. This is strong performance given the diesel's efficiency, so it's the engine we recommend.
On the road, the Mazda2 is a great car to drive. It can’t quite match the Ford Fiesta's sense of fun, but the steering is accurate and the suspension gets the balance between stiffness and softness just right: there's little body lean when cornering, yet potholes, cat's eyes and other imperfections in the road surface are smoothed out nicely. The gearbox is also remarkably smooth and precise to use.
Inside, the Mazda2 really impresses with a sleek, modern and easy-to-use dashboard. The gearlever and heating control are set higher than in some small hatchbacks; this not only makes them easier to reach, but also gives the sense that you’re nicely cocooned and protected.
All of the controls work intuitively and solidly and while there are some scratchy plastics to be found lower down the dashboard, this is true of most superminis, and many cars from the class above as well. Front and rear passengers get an impressive amount of head and legroom for a supermini, while at 280 litres, the boot is identical in size to the Vauxhall Corsa's and Volkswagen Polo's.
Mazda offers the 2 in five trim levels, starting with SE and rising through SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and top-spec Sport Nav. The entry-level SE model feels slightly sparsely equipped, as it does without split-folding rear seats and alloy wheels – although you do get air-conditioning, front electric windows and remote central locking.
Moving up to SE-L trim brings a seven-inch infotainment system, complete with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone app integration, allowing you to use Facebook, Twitter and internet radio. SE-L also includes rear electric windows, 15-inch alloy wheels and cruise control. Note that if you choose the basic 74bhp petrol engine, SE-L trim is slightly different, and doesn’t come with the touchscreen infotainment system. The Sport gets interior and exterior trim upgrades (such as metal finishes to the air vents and tinted rear windows) while the Nav derivatives add sat nav, as their name suggests.
Mazda's reliability record is excellent and the 2 finished in an impressive 28th place out of 150 cars in our 2016 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. While it only received four stars out of five in its Euro NCAP safety tests, the Mazda2 was scrutinised under the latest and strictest test criteria, and many similar cars tested under this regime have fared similarly.
The Mazda2 isn't class-leading, but it's cheap to run – the diesel is our pick of the range
Diesel Mazda2 is more fun to drive than petrols, but isn’t quite up to the Ford Fiesta’s standards
The Mazda2 has a modern and appealing dashboard
The latest Mazda2 is much more spacious than the old model
The Mazda2 is expected to be safe and popular with owners