Mazda 2 (2015-present)

The Mazda 2 is a well-made small car that’s cheap to run, fun to drive, and stylish inside and out

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Distinctive design, inside and out
Most engines are powerful and economical
Most versions feel agile and fun to drive

Weaknesses 

Some versions are noisy
Confusing choice of specifications
Cheapest model feels underpowered

It has a low starting price, reasonable amount of interior space and frugal fuel economy figures, but the Mazda 2 also adds a bit of pizazz to your daily drive, with more distinctive styling than many alternative models, as well as a sense of fun agility, thanks to its responsiveness and grip when cornering.

Superminis such as the Mazda 2 are the most popular type of car in Britain, thanks to their flexibility. The most practical - such as the Vauxhall Corsa, Honda Jazz and Skoda Fabia - have enough space in the back to carry two adults in relative comfort, a decent boot that can carry a weekly shop, as well as hi-tech safety and entertainment options.

That’s roughly the case with the Mazda 2, which is tall enough to give rear passengers plenty of headroom. As always with these cars, passenger comfort will depend on the height of the occupants. If you sit a six-foot adult behind someone else of a similar height, then the car will feel cramped. But shorter adults - and certainly young families - will be able to live with the interior space. Boot space is adequate: the 280 litres is similar to rivals, such as the Renault Clio, Toyota Yaris and Corsa but behind the capacious 326-litre boot in the Hyundai i20.

Apart from the cheapest SE models, the Mazda 2 has split-fold rear seats, so you can lower one of the back seats to boost storage and still have room for a passenger in the back. Storage across the range is good, at least in the front where the deep door pockets will take a couple of large water bottles.

It’s when you get moving that the Mazda 2 stands out. The car is fun to drive like a Ford Fiesta or Mini Hatchback. That’s thanks to its quick responses when you turn the wheel: the Mazda seems to dart into each corner with energy, and resists too much leaning in corners. Unless you choose the most powerful (115 horsepower) petrol engine, it’s not actually that fast, but still feels sporty.

For maximum comfort, you would be better off with a Skoda Fabia or Citroen C3, which are excellent at soaking up bumps and ruts in the road. The Mazda 2 isn’t uncomfortable, but you can feel the car bobbing over potholes. It can also be noisy if you have one of the less-powerful petrol cars, which have a five-speed gearbox. Picking the diesel or most powerful petrol brings a six-speed gearbox, which is quieter in top gear.

Choosing the right specification is particularly important in the Mazda 2 because there are lots of restrictions on the type of engine you can have with different equipment levels. Opting for 15in alloy wheels is a good move, as cars with larger wheels feel less comfortable.

Inside, most versions of the Mazda 2 come with a 7in touchscreen, which is easy to navigate and makes the dashboard look modern and uncluttered. The quality of materials aren’t quite up to the standards of an Audi A1, Volkswagen Polo or Mini, but have a sense of quality.

A four star safety rating from the independent Euro NCAP organisation in 2015 makes the Mazda 2 among the safest superminis that you can buy.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 15:45

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years
Boot size: 
280 litres
Width: 
1695mm
Length: 
4060mm
Height: 
1495mm
Tax (min to max): 
£0 to £30

Best Mazda 2 for... 

Mazda 2 1.5d 105PS SE-L Nav
The diesel engine offers good fuel economy with reasonable performance but is only available with more expensive trim levels. Official figures state that it returns 83mpg but the Equa Index, based on real-world testing, suggests that owners can expect 55mpg.
Mazda 2 1.5 90PS SE-L Nav
Economical, reasonably priced, nippy and well equipped - with safety features such a as automatic emergency braking that can slam on the brakes to avoid a collision - make this version of the Mazda 2 the top choice for families.
Mazda 2 1.5 115PS Sport Nav
A 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds makes this the fastest Mazda 2, and pretty nippy for a supermini. It has larger alloy wheels, bright LED headlights and tinted glass, too, so looks the part.
Mazda 2 1.5 75PS SE
A 0-62mph time of 12.1 seconds feels sluggish: the least powerful Mazda 2 is slow on faster roads, particularly when loaded down with passengers and luggage.

Mazda 2 History 

  • January 2015 Mazda 2 arrives in the UK.
  • August 2015 Mazda 2 Black, based on the 1.5 90PS SE-L Nav, is launched. Has sporty body mouldings and larger alloy wheels.

Understanding Mazda 2 car names 

  • 2
  • Engine
    1.5 Skyactiv-G 90PS
  • Trim level
    SE-L Nav
  • Gearbox
    Auto
  • Engine
    The figure ‘1.5’ refers to the size of the engine in litres and the number following it (in this example, ‘90PS’) its power output in horsepower (also written as PS). You may see the engines called Skyactiv, which is Mazda’s name for the technologies it uses to improve efficiency. Diesel cars feature a letter ‘D’, while you may see a ‘G’ (for gasoline) on petrol models, or there won’t be a letter at all.
  • Trim level
    Trim levels indicate the level of standard equipment fitted to each car. SE is the most basic, followed by SE-L. Sport Nav is the most luxurious and sportiest.
  • Gearbox
    There are three different gearboxes available with the Mazda 2: five-speed or six-speed manual versions or an automatic.

Mazda 2 Engines 

Petrol: 1.5 75PS, 1.5 90PS, 1.5 115PS Diesel: 1.5d 105PS

Until April this year, you won’t pay more than £30 a year to tax any Mazda 2 because all engines are economical - according to official figures. They use a series of technologies, which Mazda calls Skyactiv, to boost fuel economy. Every engine has a size of 1.5 litres, but they differ in the amount of power that they produce, as well as the fuel used.

The cheapest option is the 75 horsepower petrol engine (also written as 75PS). It might look like good value, but it is slow: the 0-62mph acceleration time of 12.1sec makes driving away from traffic lights feel like getting up from an armchair after a heavy lunch. Officially, its fuel economy is 60.1mpg, but the Equa Index, based on real-world testing, suggests that you can expect 44.1mpg.

The 90hp petrol is an ideal choice if you’re doing a mix of urban and out-of-town driving. It offers brisk performance at higher speeds and is more economical that the 75hp car, with an official 62.8mpg for the manual car and a real-world rating of 47.3mpg from the Equa Index. As a common choice with the Mazda 2, cars with this engine are often not shown with their power rating - simply being described as a Mazda 2 1.5. Manual cars only have a five-speed gearbox, making them noiser than the more powerful options that have a six-speed gearbox.

One of those more powerful options is the 115hp petrol-powered Mazda 2, which is fast for a car of its size; it will accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.7sec. It doesn’t have a major impact on fuel economy - you can expect around 43mpg - but you will pay more, not least because the engine is only available with more expensive trim levels.

You’ll pay even more for the 105hp diesel car, which makes it hard to recommend for most drivers, even though fuel economy (55mpg in real-world driving) is considerably better than the rest of the range. High-mileage owners might find that this difference will justify the extra cost.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration

Top speed

1.5 75PS

Petrol

60.1mpg

75hp

0-62mph: 12.1s

106mph

1.5 90PS

Petrol

58.9 - 62.8mpg

90hp

0-62mph: 9.4 -12.0s

114 - 110mph

1.5 105PS

Diesel

83.1mpg

105hp

0-62mph: 10.1s

111mph

1.5 115PS

Petrol

56.5mpg

115hp

0-62mph: 8.7s

124mph

Mazda 2 Trims 

SE, 75 SE-L, SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport Nav

Choosing the right trim level for your Mazda 2 can be a headache. The cheapest versions sound similar but have major differences in terms of equipment levels. That’s before you consider the various restrictions on the engines available with each version.

There’s also a limited choice of optional extras: you can’t pay more to have sat-nav on your Mazda 2 SE, for example. Instead, you have to order a car in SE-L Nav trim or higher.

The cheapest car you can buy is the SE, which only comes with the 75hp petrol engine. It’s basic, with steel wheels, manual rear windows, a one-piece rear seat, FM radio and no Bluetooth for wireless phone connectivity.

You can pay £1000 more for the 75 SE-L, which has the same engine and does add rear electric windows and Bluetooth, along with cruise control and a speed limiter, but you’re probably better off adding on a further £500 (based on official prices - Mazda 2 deals may be cheaper) for a 90hp engine in full SE-L trim. This includes a 7in dashboard touchscreen, alloy wheels, digital radio, a split-fold rear seat and safety equipment including an automatic emergency brake and lane departure warning.

Spending a further £500 buys an SE-L Nav. As its name suggests, this comes with navigation but you also get to choose an automatic gearbox or a diesel engine, both of which add more than £1,000 to the official price.

The top-of-the-range Mazda 2 Sport Nav increases the official price by £1,000 and has climate control, larger alloy wheels, keyless entry and rear parking sensors. It’s the only version that offers heated leather seats as an option at additional cost

Mazda 2 Reliability and warranty 

At three years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, the Mazda 2’s new car warranty is pretty standard. In contrast, rival model the Hyundai i20 comes with five years or 100,000 miles cover, while the Kia Rio’s warranty is a truly impressive seven years or 100,000 miles.

On the other hand, the Mazda 2 proves length of warranty is not necessarily a cast-iron guide to reliability. In the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power owner satisfaction survey it ranks 29th for reliability and 28th for build quality out of 150 models.

Used Mazda 2 

The reliability and current technology of the Mazda 2 makes it an excellent purchase, but your choice will be limited compared to other, more popular, superminis such as the Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa.

Despite its appeal, most versions of the Mazda 2 do lose around a quarter of their value after the first year, which makes them an appealing used buy.

For undemanding drivers, the basic 1.5 75 SE will offer stylish motoring for under £10,000 for a relatively new car.

For the widest choice of colours and mileages you should check out used 1.5 90PS SE-L Navs.

Prices below show typical BuyaCar discounts for our pick of new and used models. Scroll down further for the very latest new Mazda 2 deals or search for all new and used Mazda 2 offers.

List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance

Price

£16,095

£14,915

14280

12500

n/a

Mazda 2 1.5 115PS Sport Nav

Save

7%

11%

22%

n/a

Best for families

Price

£14,595

£13,200

£11,000

10,500

n/a

Mazda 2 1.5 90PS SE-L Nav

Save

10%

25%

28%

n/a

Best for economy

Price

£16,495

£14,905

£12,495

n/a

n/a

Mazda 2 1.5d 105PS SE-L Nav

Save

10%

24%

n/a

n/a