What is it?
Sharing some vital underpinnings with the excellent Ford Fiesta, the Mazda2 is an accomplished alternative to default supermini purchases like, well, the Ford Fiesta. Its bold styling, while an acquired taste, is likely to endure rather better than some of its less adventurous rivals and outlive the current obsession with going retro. It’s much lighter than the old Mazda2 as well, so has an unprecedented degree of hurry up to it when matched with the right engine choice. This is a left-field choice for sure, but not by any stretch a risky one.
Not quite as agile as the Fiesta it has borrowed from, the Mazda2 is nevertheless still an entertaining little hatch to hurtle about in. Disappointingly, Mazda has now canned the frisky 102bhp 1.5 Sport model, but luckily the lowlier 1.3-litre petrol isn’t too much of a poor relation. Offered in two power outputs, it’s typically Japanese in its revvy, smooth and eager nature. There’s much to admire here.
The lack of hot hatch pace means the Mazda2 isn’t going to be dislodging any vertebrae, but there’s enough feel and feedback through the wheel and responsiveness from the chassis to make this one of the better superminis to peddle in anger. Steering is sharp, throttle response sharper still. Just don’t assume the 1.5 Tamura Nav auto is a decent Sport alternative. It is not.
On the inside
This is another string to the Mazda2’s bow. The interior is a world apart from the previous car, with stacks of character and style built into a solid, intelligently designed cockpit that keeps everything essential within easy reach of the driver. The high, dash-mounted gearstick is excellent, and all the basic controls and instruments are clear and just where they should be. There’s a reasonable amount of space in here too, with the option of five doors making access to the modest rear more manageable. Boot space is fine at 250 litres, and you can more than triple that by folding the rear seats.
Whichever Mazda2 you order, it’s not going to rob you blind (value is improving as it ages). Insurance groups are low and all cars return good mpg for relatively low CO2. Mazda has, however, dropped the 1.6-litre diesel variant. Despite being capable of over 67mpg, it seems the extra cost over the efficient petrol variants was too much for buyers to bear.
Residuals should be strong and reliability is guaranteed to be top notch. This is a sound little supermini, and a tempting alternative to some of the more obvious choices out there.