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The Top Gear car review:Mazda Mazda2
For:Clever engineering creates a satisfying driver-focused supermini
Against:Expensive diesel, it might be too 'mini' for some
1.5 SE-L 5dr
Drives as well as it looks - very nicely. Can we have a faster one next please?
We really rather like the old 2, and with fizzy new engines and posh new tech, this should be a winner too
Tweaked styling, new engines and updated suspension improve Mazda’s supermini
A new – and much better – diesel engine for the 2, helping it pick a pint-sized fight with the Fiesta.
For the ultimate in refinement, look elsewhere; for the ultimate in mpg, you’re in the right spot.
Buy a Smart because you live in a city. Buy a Land Rover because you live up a muddy lane. Simple. But why buy a Mazda 2?
You need to...
Try to picture the old Mazda2. No? Unaccountably tall of physical stature, but short on significance or interest, it was a car to forget. The new...
What we say:
Sweet-looking 2 drives as well as it looks. Fun supermini, deserves more attention
What is it?
The third generation of Mazda’s dinky little 2, which carries on where the tidy outgoing car left off. While its silhouette is almost identical, it’s a smidge longer than the car it replaces, and carries the firm’s current distinctive front end design (which is particularly) striking in range-topping Sport Nav guise). It ushers in a range of frugal and clever ‘SKYACTIV’ engines.
A 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol comes in 74, 89 and 113bhp tunes, while a 104bhp 1.5-litre turbodiesel comes with tiny, 89g/km CO₂ emissions. Petrol is typically your best bet in a car like this though, and the mid-ranking 89bhp version that we’ve driven could be the pick of the range, given that the more potent engines sitting above it will set you back at least £15,995. Stiff money for a supermini, that.
The SKYACTIV unit revs cleanly and with linearity, but rev it you must, with the flexible mid-range of its many turbocharged rivals conspicuous by its absence. There’s much to like though, and mated to a slick five-speed manual gearbox, it’s a sweet drivetrain with instant responses in traffic. Know the snickety shift you get in an MX-5 roadster? This gets nicely near to it.
Mazda’s commitment to lightweight construct sees it weigh in at 1,050kg. As a result, it’s imbued with an agility and keenness to change direction that goes hand in hand with its perky little engine. The steering is a shade too, light, but grip is strong and body roll minimal. A Fiesta is sharper still, but the 2 lies firmly at the lively end of the supermini spectrum.
On the inside
It may lack the perceived quality you’ll find oozing out of a Polo, but there’s a simplicity and ergonomic polish here that’s all you really need at this price. The 2’s new touchscreen media system, which comes on all but the lowest spec levels, is slick and intuitive to use.
The front seats are comfy, though there could be more adjustment in the driving position. The 2’s diminutive size means it ain’t the roomiest supermini on the block, though, and anyone nearing six foot will feel hemmed in if they’re sat at the back.
Prices are on par with the 2’s rivals, while standard equipment is impressive. Mid-range SE-L trim brings with it that touchscreen as well as alloys, DAB, Bluetooth and cruise control, while sat nav is a value £400 option. Indeed, value options are the order of the day, too. A head-up display - previously the preserve of the premium brands - comes as part of a £400 safety pack, one which also includes blind spot monitoring and high beam assist.
The 89bhp car’s claimed 62.8mpg - fantastic given the lack of forced induction - ought to translate to high 40s in the real world. Maybe you don’t need the pricey diesel after all: it’ll certainly take you a long time to recoup the extra it costs, particularly if your annual mileage is low.