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What is it like to drive?

See, this is what makes the disappointing engines a double jeopardy for the 2, because it’s one of the best handling cars of its size. It’s chuckable, forgiving, comfortable and agile. There’s ideally weighted steering, a slick manual gearchange, sensible pedal weighting and plenty of grip. It’s as good as you’d need a boggo supermini to be at going around corners, and quite a lot better besides.

Refinement? Wind and tyre noise is more noticeable than in the very quietest superminis, like the Renault Clio and VW Polo. But hey, swings and roundabouts. The engine ought to drown that out anyway…

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Come on then, let’s deal with the elephant in the room…

Think you mean the asthmatic under the bonnet: AKA that naturally aspirated engine. The mid-range 89bhp version carries just 111lb ft of torque and needs constant hard work at higher speeds to keep up with everything else. Even around town it’s a bit pedestrian. Heaven forbid you buy the lesser-powered one with 74bhp...

Still, it at least explains why Mazda re-introduced a 113bhp alternative, albeit with the same peak torque at an identical 3,500rpm. A good move as it makes the going somewhat easier, if only slightly: 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds is just seven-tenths faster, while a top speed of 124mph, is, erm, irrelevant now that we think about it.

Sadly, the noise isn’t much better: noticeable when idling, surprising when putting your foot down. It’s not quite a roar, but more of a growl.

Is fuel economy decent?

Sort of. In 74bhp guise the 1.5-litre engine is good for 58.9mpg according to Mazda’s stats, rising to 60.1mpg for the 89bhp version with mild-hybrid assistance. Without, it’s 52.3mpg. The top-dog 113bhp model is MHEV only, peaking at 56.5mpg.

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But that’s in test conditions. The more powerful the engine, the less time you’ll spend mashing the accelerator and the closer you’ll get to the official numbers. In our experience, you’ll be foot-to-the-floor a lot.

Can’t you just adapt your driving style?

Well, you could. But if you want to keep up with those around you - or, y’know, overtake a few people - you’ll need to hang onto gears for longer and draw the revs out. This is A Slow Car, after all, and needs to be driven with a just-passed-my-test-look-out-everyone kind of mentality. That means it’s not especially frugal, though you’ll have better luck if you stick to 30mph zones.

We’ve always applauded and lauded Mazda’s ‘rightsizing’ engine approach – that instead of rushing to fit turbocharged teeny engines to every car it makes, it instead carried on making comparatively large normally aspirated motors that suited the size of their models. So, a 2.0-litre in the Mazda 3, when a Golf made so with a 1.0 or 1.5. And a 1.5-litre in the 2, when a Clio has a 1.0. All very sensible, mature thinking. We just wish it could’ve wrung out a bit more torque here, so progress in the 2 didn’t feel so hard-fought. 

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Mazda 2 1.5 e-Skyactiv G 115 GT Sport Tech 5dr
  • 0-629.1s
  • CO2
  • BHP115
  • MPG
  • Price£20,610

the cheapest

Mazda 2 1.5 Skyactiv-G 75 SE-L 5dr
  • 0-6211.7s
  • CO295.0g/km
  • BHP75
  • MPG
  • Price£15,610

the greenest

Mazda 2 1.5 Skyactiv-G Sport Nav 5dr
  • 0-629.7s
  • CO294.0g/km
  • BHP90
  • MPG
  • Price£17,310

Variants We Have Tested

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