Price: £11,195 - £13,395
- Stylish looks
- Fun to drive
- Decent resale values
- Firm suspension
- Small boot
- Uncomfortable seats
"The Mazda 2 is a stylish supermini that's well equipped, well priced and great to drive."
The Mazda 2 is a supermini rival to the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa, Nissan Micra and Volkswagen Polo. But it's based on one of the best superminis available – the Ford Fiesta – so it's much more fun to drive than almost all of its rivals.
That's not the only thing it has going for it, either. The price tag is very reasonable and the equipment levels are good. The Mazda badge has never been more desirable thanks to a recent crop of great new cars including the Mazda3, the Mazda5 and the CX-5 crossover. The 2 is also stylish and well put together, and should be extremely dependable given Mazda's brilliant reputation for reliability.
It does have some drawbacks, though. The 2 is not the most practical of cars because it has quite a small boot. It's also not very comfortable as a result of the firm suspension needed for its sporty handling. But it does come with some very competitive finance offers and excellent resale values.
It comes in a choice of four specification levels plus two additional special edition models. Spec levels include entry level SE Air Con, Tamura, Tamura Nav Auto and Sport Venture. While special edition cars are called Colour Edition Red and Sport Colour Edition Red.
MPG, running costs & CO2
No where near the best in class for fuel economy
Mazda doesn’t sell the 2 with a diesel engine, which is unusual for a supermini. Nor does it offer a turbocharged three cylinder petrol engine, and as a result, there isn’t a version of the Mazda 2 which emits less than 100g/km CO2 and qualifies for road tax exemption.
There are three engines to choose from: a 74bhp 1.3-litre petrol, an 85bhp 1.3-litre petrol and a 102bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine. Both of the 1.3-litre engines will do 56.5mpg and 115g/km CO2, putting them in tax band C (which is free for the first year and £30 per year after that). The 1.5-litre will do 44.8mpg and 145g/km CO2, putting it in tax band F at a rate of £140 per year. These figures aren’t great for a supermini, but the 2 prioritises performance over economy.
Insurance group ratings are low, though, and Mazda offer some excellent-value zero per cent finance deals.
Interior & comfort
Suffers from a firm ride and intrusive road noise inside the car
One of the reasons that the Mazda2 is so great to drive is that it has quite a firm suspension setup. But while that may help it to slice through corners with ease, it also means it judders over bumps and potholes.
The seats don’t have enough back support, either. As a result, the Mazda 2 is some way behind the competition when it comes to comfort levels and it's also pretty noisy at higher speeds, too, because the cabin isn’t particularly well insulated from wind and road noise.
The petrol engines are nice and quiet though and there is plenty of room for adjustment in the seats and the steering wheel, allowing you to setup the perfect driving position.
Practicality & boot space
Small boot is hard to load but there's plenty of useful cubbies
You don’t buy a supermini expecting to find an enormous boot, but with just 250 litres of capacity, the Mazda2's boot is really very small. To put it in perspective, the Ford Fiesta has a 290 litre boot, while the Skoda Fabia has 315 litres of capacity. In fact, even the Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen up! – which are tiny city cars – have slightly bigger boots than the Mazda2.
You can fold down the back seats to increase capacity to 787 litres, but this is also some way off class average. And matters are made worse by the fact that the boot is awkwardly shaped, which makes loading and unloading harder than it should be.
The 2 only comes as a five-door, though, which means getting in and out of the car is easy – and there are plenty of storage cubbyholes in the cabin, as well as a big glove compartment.
Reliability & safety
Five-star safety rating, superb reputation for reliability and great customer feedback
Mazda has one of the best reputations for reliability in the car industry, so you can buy a 2 safe in the knowledge that it will prove dependable.
Customers have been really impressed with the company's cars, too. It came fourth out of 32 in the 2013 Driver Power manufacturer rankings, ahead of brands like Mercedes, Honda and Audi. In fact, it was only beaten by premium brands Jaguar and Lexus and peoples’ favourite Skoda. The 2 didn’t quite crack the Top 100 Cars league table, finishing 102nd – but that's more a reflection of the car's age and limited practicality than anything to do with its reliability.
It scored the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, with electronic brake assist, anti-lock brakes, twin front airbags and ISOFIX points for child seats come as standard. Basic models don’t get side and curtain airbags or electronic stability control, though – which is disappointing.
Engines, drive & performance
Mazda 2 is sharp, agile and great fun to drive
The Mazda 2 is one of the most entertaining superminis you can buy. The steering is nice and accurate, there's plenty of grip and great body control, which means you can whizz about winding country roads in total control. It's sure to put a smile on your face.
The engine line-up is petrol-only as Mazda withdrew the 1.6-litre diesel from the market in 2011. You can choose between a 74bhp 1.3-litre engine, an 85bhp 1.3-litre engine and a 102bhp 1.5-litre engine.
The 2 comes with an excellent five-speed manual gearbox unless you opt for a Tamura Nav Auto specification car, which we don’t recommend you do because the four-speed automatic gearbox is less effective than the manual.
Both 1.3-litre engines provide decent performance, while the top-of-the-range 1.5-litre petrol feels fast – but while they’re effective, none of them will get you from 0-62mph in under 10 seconds.
Price, value for money & options
Competitively priced, with good equipment levels and decent resale values
The Mazda 2 offers really good value for money. It's well priced against rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, comes with a great range of equipment and has strong resale values, too, so you won’t lose a huge chunk when you come to sell it on.
There are four specification levels plus two special edition cars. Spec levels include SE Air Con, Tamura, Tamura Nav Auto and Sport Venture, while special edition models consist of Colour Edition Red and Sport Colour Edition Red.
Even entry level cars get alloy wheels, air-con, electric front windows, remote central locking and USB connectivity as standard. Sport Venture models come with climate control air-con, parkin sensors, sat-nav, split-folding rear seats and Bluetooth connectivity.
What the others say
"On the outside, the 2's sporty good looks remain, but a wider front bumper, narrow upper grille and new foglight surrounds bring the design into line with the rest of Mazda's range. A fresh set of 15-inch alloys emphasises its sporty intentions, too."
"Prices are competitive, resale values are strong and even the petrol models sit in low road tax bands. All versions are frugal, too. Mazda has a reputation for building cars that last, and the 2's cabin is constructed from sturdy materials with tightly fitting panel gaps."
"Light steering makes it easy to drive in town, yet it's also responsive and nicely weighted, making it great fun on twisting roads. The simple line-up is easy to understand and there's a good choice of frugal and nippy engines."
Last updated: 7 Mar 2014