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 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.

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