In-depth reviews

Mazda2 hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

The Mazda2 is quite fun-to-drive, but its engines can feel lethargic

Carbuyer Rating

3.4 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.7 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Although the Mazda2 doesn't quite knock the Ford Fiesta off its pedestal as the most fun-to-drive car in this class, it gets reasonably close. Its steering could do with more weight and feel, for more confidence when cornering quickly, but it does benefit from Mazda’s ‘G-Vectoring Control’ system. This is said to improve steering feel and precision through varying engine output when cornering.

All models have a slick manual gearbox as standard. Cars with the 89bhp engine can also be ordered with a six-speed automatic, but the manuals suit the Mazda2's eager character best. Watch out for models fitted with the larger 16-inch alloy wheels, as they don't deal with potholes as comfortably as the smaller-wheeled cars.

Mazda2 petrol engine

The petrol engine (in its three power outputs) is smooth and fast enough, but work it hard and it starts to sound coarse, with a booming noise making its way inside the cabin. The 74bhp petrol isn’t very quick (0-62mph takes 11.3 seconds) and is reserved for the cheapest SE-L model, while the 89bhp model does the same in 9.8 seconds. Range-topping GT Sport Tech cars now get a 113bhp version of the engine, reducing the 0-62mph time to 9.1 seconds.

Not only does the automatic gearbox make the car less efficient than the manual but it makes it considerably slower too. It’s actually the slowest configuration in the range, taking over 12 seconds to do 0-62mph.

At 1.5 litres, it’s a big engine for this size of car but, unlike most rivals, it doesn’t have a turbocharger. At times, you’ll sorely miss it, especially if you’re trying to get up to speed on a motorway, for example. You can tell that motorway miles aren’t its forte; it’s best below about 40mph or so.

Most Popular

New electric MG4 hatch to start at £25,995
MG4 Front driver side
News
5 Aug 2022

New electric MG4 hatch to start at £25,995

Kia EV4 SUV to take on the Volvo XC40 Recharge
2024 Kia EV4 - front
News
5 Aug 2022

Kia EV4 SUV to take on the Volvo XC40 Recharge

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Renault Clio hybrid
Deals
5 Aug 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
12 Jul 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
12 Jul 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022