Mazda 2 Review

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

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Distinctive design, inside and out
  • Most engines are powerful and economical
  • Most versions feel agile and fun to drive
  • Some versions are noisy
  • Confusing choice of specifications
  • Cheapest model feels underpowered
Mazda 2 prices from £7,499.
Finance from £142.22 / month.

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 agility, thanks to the responsiveness of its steering and grip when cornering.

Superminis such as the Mazda 2 are the most popular type of car in Britain, thanks to their low prices and overall 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 high-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 (115hp) petrol engine, it’s not actually that fast, but still feels sporty, proving satisfying to drive for keen drivers, without being uncomfortable or tricky to drive for those who don't particularly enjoy driving.

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 the highest 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 a model with 15-inch alloy wheels is a good move, though, as cars with larger wheels feel less comfortable.

Inside, most versions of the Mazda 2 come with a seven-inch touchscreen, which is easy to navigate and makes the dashboard look modern and uncluttered. The quality of materials isn’t quite up to the standards of an Audi A1, Volkswagen Polo or Mini, but this is a cheaper car, so you can't criticise it for that.

A four star safety rating from the independent Euro NCAP organisation in 2015 made the Mazda 2 among the safest superminis that you could buy when new. The crash test format has been made much tougher since then, so newer small cars are likely to provide greater protection in a smash.


Key facts

Warranty 3 years
Boot size 280 litres
Width 1695mm
Length 4060mm
Height 1495mm
Tax (min to max) £0 to £145

Best Mazda 2 for...

Best for Economy – 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 during typical driving.

Best for Families – 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.

Best for Performance – 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 windows, too, so looks the part.

One to Avoid – 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.


  • 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 names

Engine 1.5 Skyactiv-G 90PS

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 hp or 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 SE-L Nav

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 Auto

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

Mazda 2s registered before April 2017 won’t cost more than £30 per year to tax 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 amount of fuel used.

The cheapest option is the 75hp petrol engine (also written as 75PS). It might look like good value, but it is slow: the 0-62mph acceleration time of 12.1 seconds 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 8.7 seconds. 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 version, which makes it hard to recommend for most drivers, even though fuel economy (55mpg in real-world driving) is slightly better than the rest of the range. High-mileage owners might find that this difference will justify the extra cost, but for a vast majority of drivers the 47.3mpg 90hp petrol model is probably a better bet, proving good value to purchase and relatively cheap to fuel.



Fuel economy



Top speed

1.5 75PS




0-62mph: 12.1 secs


1.5 90PS


58.9 - 62.8mpg


0-62mph: 9.4 -12.0 secs

114 - 110mph

1.5 105PS




0-62mph: 10.1 secs


1.5 115PS




0-62mph: 8.7 secs


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 £1,000 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 seven-inch 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. A mid-table showing in the 2019 Auto Express Driver Power owner satisfaction survey shows that it should provide relatively painless to live with, though drivers may experience some niggles.

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, with low cash prices.

For most drivers, the 1.5 90 SE-L Nav is a wise bet, offering stylish motoring with plenty of power, standard kit and good fuel economy for an affordable price.