Price £11,995 - £17,395
- Good-looking inside and out
- Efficient engines
- Sharp handling
- Some cheap interior materials
- Noisy petrol engine
- Light steering
At a glance
"The new Mazda2 is more spacious than the old model and has an excellent diesel engine. The petrol models lack the verve we hoped for, but the Mazda is both comfortable and fun to drive."
This is the fourth generation of Mazda's Ford-Fiesta-sized hatchback, the Mazda2. It's got quite a tough fight on its hands, too – going up against a raft of recently launched models such as the Skoda Fabia, Vauxhall Corsa and MINI 5-door hatchback.
Mazda's 'Kodo' design language – which gave us models such as the Mazda3, Mazda6 and Mazda CX-5 – is evident in the new Mazda2. A relatively wide body gives the Mazda a broad stance and the car also sports a three-dimensional grille that's slightly different to those on the rest of the Mazda line-up. The new car will be available with a choice of 10 paint colours. Basic models get 15-inch steel wheels, while the rest of the range has either 15 or 16-inch alloy wheels.
The interior's funky air vents could have been lifted from the Audi A1 and top-end models can be specified with a classy leather-trimmed dashboard. Look around and you can still find some cheap-feeling plastics, but that's no different to most other models in this price bracket.
To offer the amount of interior space demanded by customers, the Mazda2 has grown in size. Its wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) is 80mm longer than the previous model's and that means there's more passenger room inside – as well as a bigger boot.
All of Mazda's recent models have managed to give customers a taste of the Mazda MX-5 sports car's fun driving experience and the latest Mazda2 achieves the same effect.
The SKYACTIV-D diesel engine is only available with 104bhp, but that's plenty for a car of this size. With fuel economy of 83.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 89g/km, the Mazda2 is also incredibly cheap to run. The diesel is our pick of the range, but there are also three SKYACTIV-G petrol engines to choose from. They're nosier than we'd like, but should be cheap to run.
Mazda hasn't messed around on the equipment front, either: the new car can be fitted with a head-up display, a seven-inch infotainment screen, plus advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking and a lane-departure warning system.
The new 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
Excellent Mazda2 interior is let down by some poor-quality plastics
The new Mazda2 is much more spacious than the outgoing model
Expect the new Mazda2 to be safe and popular with owners