Mazda 2 review 2019

Find out more about the Mazda 2 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

Loading...
3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Excellent handling
  • Lively engines
  • Sporty cabin

Cons

  • Cramped back seats
  • Small boot
  • Pricy
  • MPG

    50 - 55

  • CO2

    111 - 127 g/km

Model Review

There has been a Mazda 2 in the Japanese company’s line-up since 2002, though that first generation model was actually assembled for Mazda by Ford.

At the time, Mazda was a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, and the original estate-like 2 was a reskinned version of the European Ford Fusion, assembled at Ford’s plant in Valencia.

It has changed a bit since then, for while the first generation Mazda2 was all about practicality, it has morphed into a car that’s a lot more about driver appeal.

A second generation 2 appeared in 2009, its main chassis architecture shared with the 2008 Ford Fiesta, and the last car that the two companies would collaborate upon. That model was superseded by the current Mazda2 in 2014, by which point practicality had been relegated a long way down Mazda’s list of priorities.

Instead, the current car is marketed as one that is born out of the DNA of the MX-5 sports car—a supermini designed to handle like something much more driver-focused. It’s an unusual but not unsuccessful formulas—but make sure it suits you before you buy.

Latest model

The current Mazda2 made its debut as the Mazda Hazumi concept car at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, with front end styling that would set the precedent for the rest of the firm’s passenger cars over the next generation.

The production model appeared that summer, with the overall lines largely unchanged from the Hazumi. Now that Mazda is no longer owned by Ford, the car is built on a scaled down Mazda CX-5 platform, which makes it longer and wider than the last generation 2, yet somehow less spacious, with worse leg and headroom—something that Mazda says is to do with making the 2 a driver-focused package above anything else.

It’s certainly an entertaining drive, much more so than quite a few of the superminis on the market today. However, driving dynamics aren’t the be-all and end-all for supermini buyers, which makes the 2 a more appealing prospect for singles and couples rather than those who use a supermini as a second car.

Value for money

With prices starting just shy of £14,000, the Mazda2 looks expensive on paper but in reality, it’s not that drastic. The entry-level car is just as well-equipped as most mid-range rivals.

With profit margins on small cars being much tighter than on big ones, this isn’t as daft a strategy as it might seem, as there’s no point making dealers compete in an area of the market where they won’t make money.

Furthermore, the engine range is fuel efficient and tax efficient which, when coupled to the decent spec levels, means the Mazda 2 is a better value proposition than it first appears.

Looks and image

 

Here’s where the Mazda 2 plays its trump card. It might not be as practical or versatile as many of its rivals, but its lithe good looks, which are close to those of the original 2014 concept car, mean it’s by far one of the best looking superminis on the market.

The handsome, low slung lines are matched by a cabin that clearly draws inspiration from the MX-5 sports car, with a three-spoke sports steering wheel and purposeful round air vents and dials. Higher spec models also get stitched leather trim across the interior fascia, which adds a premium feel that’s absent from many other small cars on the road.

A Mazda might not be the default choice of supermini, but for image conscious buyers, it’s an intelligent choice and one that will reward you the more time you spend appreciating its design detailing.

Video Review

Space and practicality

 

If you’re travelling alone or with just the one passenger, then the Mazda2 is a refined and comfortable companion with plenty of adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel and well padded, supportive seats. There are also plenty of storage cubbies and cup holders, in the door bin and ahead of the gear lever.

The heated leather sports seats on GT Plus models are particularly comfortable, but the frames are quite bulky, highlighting one of the Mazda2’s real weak points—namely rear passenger space.

Although access to the back is simple enough, the legroom and headroom are significantly worse than many of the Mazda’s rivals. The price you pay for that sleek and swooping roofline is that only short passengers will be truly comfortable in the back.

Things don’t improve when you open the boot, either. With the back seats erected, the luggage capacity is a mere 280 litres, making it the smallest boot in the supermini market and only marginally bigger than some city cars, such the VW Up!, SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo.

Drop the seats and you can increase the load bay capacity to 950 litres, but the seats don’t fold flat into the floor, nor is the shape of the load bay all that practical.

 

Engines

All Mazda 2 variants are fitted with different versions of the same 1.5-litre engine, in varying states of tune.

The entry-level SE+ model gets a 75bhp version that gives it a 060mph sprint time of 11.3 seconds and a top speed of 117mph.

SE+ L upwards allows you to spec the 90bhp unit, which is offered with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. The auto does 0-60mph in 12.0 seconds and the manual 9.7 seconds, both again with a top speed of 117mph.

The range-topping engine is a 115bhp version of the same engine, fitted to the Sport + and GT Sport models. These have a 0-60 time of 9.0 seconds and a top speed of 130mph, making lively and good fun to drive.

Things to look for

There have been no reliability issues reported with the current Mazda2, although there have been five recalls since it went into production. Two of these were for potentially loose fuel hoses, one for a brake hose, one for a software malfunction that may cause the engine to stall and another for a fault with the electronic handbrake, which could cause it to release unexpectedly. You need to check with Mazda that these have been carried out.

Rivals

There are stacks of rivals in the supermini market, but in terms of driver appeal it’s the Ford Fiesta, MINI and Renault Clio that are the closest to the Mazda2, while styling-wise it’s probably the Nissan Micra that’s the most similar proposition. You should also consider the Hyundai i20, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris and latest Suzuki Swift, all of which are fun cars to drive with a bit more practicality.

Running Costs

 

The Mazda promises nothing too horrific in terms of running costs—all versions are £165 a year to tax under the current system which is about average, insurance groups are quite low and MPG is decent enough—55mpg for most versions or 52mpg for the 90bhp automatic, none of which is too shabby.

It’s not the cheapest supermini to run, but it’s perfectly competitive to the point that the running costs are unlikely to affect your buying decision.

Depreciation

The Mazda 2 has been on the market long enough for realistic residual values to be set, and it fares pretty well, with a retained value of 38-42% after three years, depending on model. That’s about the same as a Ford Fiesta, ahead of the Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio and considerably better than a Vauxhall Corsa or Peugeot 208, to put it into perspective.

Which 2 to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.5 75 SE+ 5dr

Most MPG

1.5 75 SE+ 5dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

1.5 Skyactiv-G 75 SE-L 5dr

Summary

  1. Large model range, but no budget option
  2. Five-door hatchback
  3. 1.5-litre petrol engine in three power outputs
  4. Automatic transmission available as an option
  5. Nav+ models get integrated nav included
  6. Small boot for its class
  7. Cramped rear leg and headroom
  8. Great chassis and steering
  9. Equipment levels offset high purchase price
  10. Good safety kit across the range

Related News

View Mazda News Archive
View All Motors.co.uk Reviews