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2011 Mazda Mazda2 Review

The Mazda2 is an underrated car and now with a cleaner 1.3-litre petrol engine it's a bargain too.

There are lots of bargain car around, but not all of them are any good. This one is though. We really do like the Mazda2 and if you want a fun small car then this should be high on your list.

Review

When: February 2011

Where: Ireland

What: Mazda2 1.3 Sport

Occasion: Irish test drive

Sometimes the Mazda2 is an easy car to overlook, but you are definitely missing a trick if you ignore this car.

Inside & Out: 3.5/5

The Mazda2 has always been a car that we here at CompleteCar.ie regarded as a very talented supermini, but it is often overlooked. Although the petrol engine these days is seen as being something of a pariah, the Mazda2 has a clean new petrol engine now, making this car a lot more relevant.

Lets' deal with the looks first. The Mazda2 is a handsome little thing and our Sport model came with smart 16-inch alloy wheels, a body kit and a sporty black interior, making for an attractive little package. Visually there are some changes to the 2011 model, with a larger five-point grille and Mazda badge as well as newly designed front fog lamp bezels.

Inside, there is a generous amount of equipment, with air conditioning, Bluetooth and a multi-function steering wheel. The seats are good too, feeling both supportive and comfortable. There is a newly designed instrument panel, new seat patterns and seat fabric colours, meter panel with blackout finish dials and chrome rings, while the centre stack is finished in piano black.

Engine & Transmission: 3.5/5

The new petrol engine is cleaner than before, so it now sits in motor tax Band A with emissions of 119g/km- and fuel economy isn't bad either. The engine we tried was the 84hp version that comes with the Sport spec, but there is also a 75hp version. We were really quite impressed by the 84hp engine because it feels seriously lively. The gearbox is good too – light around town and slick enough when you push the car on a bit.

Ride & Handling: 3.5/5

One criticism of the Mazda2 was its ride comfort and Mazda says that it has worked hard to remedy this. The ride comfort over imperfect roads has been improved thanks to changes to the front suspension geometry, softer mountings for the rear trailing arms and re-tuned dampers.

What we were really pleased with was the handling. The chassis on the Mazda2 is really good and the fact that the car is wrapped in a lightweight body means it makes the most out of the available power - making is entertaining to drive.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 4/5

Standard equipment levels are good. Prices start at €14,495, with a €1,000 price walk to the mid-grade 'Sensu' model, on which equipment includes: 15-inch alloys, air conditioning, steering wheel audio controls, leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, electric/heated/foldable door mirrors, front and rear roof airbags and front side airbags.

The range topping 'Sport' model features 16-inch alloys, rear spoiler, side skirts, front fog lights, climate control and interior trim upgrade, for only an additional €600 over the Sensu. Customers can save up to €3,000 with Scrappage on the new Mazda2. Scrappage prices start from €11,895.

CompleteCar Index: 4/5

There are lots of bargain car around, but not all of them are any good. This one is though. We really do like the Mazda2 and if you want a fun small car then this should be high on your list.

Mazda2 1.3 Sport:

•Engine: 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol
•Maximum power: 84hp at 6,000rpm
•Maximum torque: 121Nm at 3,500rpm
•Acceleration (0-100km/h): 13.6 seconds
•Maximum speed: 172km/h
•Fuel economy (combined cycle): 5.1 litres/100km (37mpg)
•CO2 emissions: 119g/km
•Motor tax band: A
•Annual road tax: €104
•Retail price: Official price of test car without options is €16,595