Carzone drives the new Mazda2
Mazda's supermini has recently been updated with new engines and looks, and is more refined than ever before. Can it compete with the class favourite Ford Fiesta?
What is it?
The Mazda2 is the smallest car in Mazda’s range and is one of most desirable superminis on sale right now alongside the Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo. Now in its third generation, the 2 borrows styling and technology from more expensive Mazda models such as the CX-5 and Mazda6. What's more, the new model uses quieter engines and a revised cabin layout, which results in one of the most refined small car driving experiences at this price point.
What is it like?
The Mazda2 is now only available in five doors and there is a choice of four different specifications. The base version, starting at €15,995, is well-equipped, and we drove the top of the range ‘GT’ model which gains niceties like dusk-sensing lights, an integrated multimedia system with Bluetooth, lane departure warning, keyless entry and rain sensing wipers. Unlike most other superminis which use small sub 1-litre engines, the Mazda2 is powered by a range of comparatively large 1.5-litre engines. The options are a base 75bhp petrol, more powerful 88bhp petrol and a 103bhp diesel unit. We tested the 88bhp petrol and it’s brisk around town and copes well with motorway speeds. Thanks to Mazda’s SkyActiv technology it’s quite efficient too; we managed six litres per 100 kilometres of economy during our test, and it slots into one of the cheapest motor tax bands at €190 per year.
Inside, the 2 feels like a larger car up front with its high driving position and long windscreen, and it’s very quiet on the move thanks to new refinements. The dash plastics are sturdy if a little hard to touch, but overall the layout is airy and pleasant. The instrument cluster behind the steering wheel is nicely designed and displays all driving statistics clearly. We loved the Mazda multimedia system which connects seamlessly to smartphones via Bluetooth and there are two USB charge points for the driver and passenger. This example is fitted with stylish half leather ‘light stone’ cream leather upholstery which is available as part of an upgrade pack that costs an additional €1,100, and it makes the 2 feel more like an executive saloon inside than a small hatchback!
Boot space, at 250 litres, is tighter than other small hatchbacks like the new Renault Clio, but that said, it does grow significantly when the rear passenger seats are dropped forward; we even managed to fit a mountain bike in the back during our test!
Carzone verdict: 4/5
We really enjoyed our time driving the new Mazda2 and were pleasantly surprised with how capable it is in and out of town, and just how efficient it is in petrol guise. The Ford Fiesta is traditionally the class best seller here in Ireland, and while it’s more engaging to drive, the Mazda2 matches it in terms of running costs, affordability and arguably pips it in the styling stakes.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Mazda2 GT
Prices from: €15,995
Price as tested: €21,965
Annual Road Tax: €190
Engine: 1496cc four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: Five speed manual
Body style: 5-door hatchback
Top Speed: 183 km/h
0-100km/h: 9.1 seconds