Stylish supermini with excellent handling and efficient engines
The Mazda 2 is one of the most under-rated superminis currently on sale. Whilst the Ford Fiesta, the Vauxhall Corsa, and the Volkswagen Polo sell in huge numbers, the 2 lags some way behind in terms of sales figures. First introduced in 2002, the 2 is in its third generation, and the latest is the best ever. It’s fun to drive, stylish, and features some impressive engines. Interior quality isn’t up there with the best in the class, nor is it the most practical, but if you want a supermini that’s going to put a smile on your face, the Mazda 2 is the car for you.
The latest update in 2014 saw a complete redesign, with a new lighter chassis, more contemporary styling, and more efficient engines.
The most stylish interior in the supermini class
The Mazda 2 is a car that features an interior that matches the car’s sporty, striking exterior. It’s one of the most contemporary available in a supermini, though quality isn’t class-leading. It’s not the most practical car in the class either.
When you step into your Mazda 2 you’ll be immediately greeted by a stylish, contemporary cabin. It really is attractive, and its clean modern design is sure to win a lot of fans. Controls are simple, well-damped, and easy to use, and dials are easy to read. Material quality is on the whole pretty decent, though some harder plastics can be found. It’s not up there with the Volkswagen Polo when it comes to classiness, but the 2’s cabin certainly looks the part.
One area in which the 2 slightly disappoints is in the space it offers. Inside there’s more than enough room for four full-sized adults to travel comfortably, but storage space isn’t the best in the class. The 280 litre boot capacity is the same size as the Volkswagen Polo’s, but it’s smaller than the both the Hyundai i20 (326 litres), and the Skoda Fabia (330 litres). There’s still enough room for a big family shop, but the high load lip and awkward shape make heavy and awkwardly shaped items a bit of a pain to get in and out.
Equipment levels in the 2 are pretty generous, so long as you avoid the entry-level model. The SE trim still comes with air-con and Bluetooth, but it’s definitely worth paying extra for the SE L trim, as it adds what most buyers will expect. Alloy wheels, all-round electric windows, an excellent touchscreen infotainment system, and cruise control are all added, additions that are needed in a modern supermini.
Overall the inside of the Mazda 2 is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s one of the most stylish interiors in the class, but it’s let down by a lack of material quality and limited storage space.
On The Road
One of the funnest cars in its class
For years the Ford Fiesta has set the benchmark when it comes to a fun driving experience. With the latest Mazda 2 however, the Fiesta now has a serious challenger. The 2’s low kerb-weight means that it’s an incredibly rewarding car to drive. Steering is sharp and precise, and there’s plenty of grip through the corners. Body roll is also kept well in check, so you can attack a B-road bend with confidence, and exit it with a huge grin on your face.
Suspension and Chassis
The ride in the Mazda 2 is a little firm, due to its performance dynamics. Nevertheless, the 2 is still a pretty comfortable car to be in. Around town it’s excellent, coping with speed bumps and rough surfaces with relative ease. Out on the open road however things get a little bumpier, especially on poor tarmac laden with potholes. There’s also a fair bit of road and wind noise at speed, so the 2 isn’t the most refined motorway cruiser.
Gearbox options in the 2 come in three guises. Entry-level models come as standard with a five-speed manual transmission, whilst higher-spec 2s come with a six-speed. Both are sharp and engaging, though the six-speeder gives more flexibility, especially if you do a lot of motorway driving. There’s also an automatic gearbox available on some models, though it doesn’t suit the character of the 2.
Excellent diesel and petrol engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your 2, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. The 1.5 litre petrol comes with three power outputs, whilst the 1.5 litre diesel is superbly efficient, though these models are more expensive to buy.
If you want the performance to match the 2’s sporty looks, you should take a close look at the petrol-powered 1.5 115 model. 115bhp doesn’t sound particularly impressive on paper, but the 2’s lightweight construction means that it can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 8.7 seconds. That’s not as fast as the hot hatches in the supermini class, but this model is a lot cheaper to buy, and just as much fun out on the open road.
Eco-friendly buyers will be delighted with the diesel-powered 1.5d model. This is because it produces just 87g/km of CO2 emissions, which is up there with the best in the class. Not only is it great for the environment, it’s also road tax exempt. If you forget this models more expensive purchase price, it’s also a great option for buyers who want to save money day-to-day. With an amazing 83.1mpg on offer, you can save plenty of money on your fuel bills, especially if you clock up a lot of miles.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your 2 you’re going to get a clean, efficient, and punchy unit, that will have enough oomph to match the 2’s exceptional handling. Petrol units make the most sense for town drivers, whilst the diesel model makes for an excellent company car.
Not class-leading, but plenty of safety equipment on offer
Unlike a lot of cars in its class, the Mazda 2 failed to achieve the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 86% in adult safety, 78% in child safety, and 84% in pedestrian safety, the 2 might not look particularly impressive on paper. It’s worth noting though that a lot of the 2’s rivals were tested prior to 2015, when tests weren’t quite so stringent. The 2 also comes with plenty of safety kit as standard, with six airbags, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, and traction control all featuring. Mid-range models also come with lane departure warning, and emergency city braking.
Value for money
Excellent value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Mazda 2 represents excellent value for money for supermini buyers. It might be a little bit more expensive to purchase than some rivals, but it’s certainly not more expensive to run. Fuel efficiency is impressive no matter which model you go for (no 2 achieves less than 56.5mpg), whilst CO2 levels are pretty decent for the class. Mazda also has a great reliability record, so you won’t be spending money in the garage very often.
Insurance groups in the 2 depend on which model you choose to go for. The range starts in group 13 for the entry-level 1.5 SE, and climbs up towards group 19 if you’re tempted by the top of the range 1.5 (115) Sport Nav. Insurance costs will be more expensive than most supermini rivals, so it’s worth bearing this in mind.
Depreciation is a factor with the 2, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Mazda 2 is one of the most impressive cars in the supermini class. It’s without doubt one of the most stylish, and it’s also fun to drive. It might not be the most spacious, nor is it the cheapest to insure, but its range of efficient engines, and its generous levels of equipment still make the 2 excellent value for money.
Buying a used Mazda 2 online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Mazda 2 for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used 2. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Mazda 2 online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Mazda? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Mazda 2, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used 2, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Mazda to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.