- Boot space
- Little steering feel
- No ‘hot’ version
Now employing the same ‘Kodo’ design language as larger models in its range, the third generation of Mazda 2 is the most stylish and distinctive small hatchback the firm has offered UK buyers.
With its sights aimed squarely at Ford’s Fiesta, Renault’s Clio, Skoda’s new Fabia, Vauxhall’s refreshed Corsa and Volkswagen’s Polo, the new Mazda 2 has, typically for the firm, gone about things in a different way.
Larger capacity engines
Particularly with petrol motors, many car manufacturers are shrinking the engine capacity and adding a turbocharger to literally boost power up to levels customers have become accustomed to. Not Mazda.
Although the 1.5-litre, 104bhp diesel in the new 2 is turbocharged, all the petrol engines – also 1.5s – are naturally aspirated and are offered in three power outputs: 74bhp, 89bhp and 113bhp.
Despite the engines’ relatively large capacity by contemporary small hatchback standards, performance and economy in most instances shades those of the Mazda 2’s rivals, thanks to the firm’s pursuit of SkyActiv technology – the name given to a suite of initiatives to boost efficiency and save weight.
Putting those efficiencies into context, all Mazda 2s emit 117g/km of CO2 or less, while the least economical engine choice still has an official claim of 56.5mpg.
Manual transmissions are fitted as standard – five-speed for the lower-powered petrols; six-speed for the 113bhp edition and the diesel – although a lightweight six-speed automatic can be optionally fitted to the 89bhp petrol motor.
Aside from the special Sports Launch Edition, the regular Mazda 2 range will comprise of five trim levels, and all barring the base SE model feature a seven-inch colour touchscreen and MZD Connect, a function that allows you to hook up your smartphone to access various online services through the car.
Upgrading the system further to include sat-nav are the SE-L Nav and Sport Nav models, while Mazda claims its new 2 is the first car in the small hatchback segment to be offered with a head-up display system designed to keep your eyes on the road.
Mazda has divided the cabin into two distinct zones, with a view to minimising distractions for the driver. Although the touchscreen and rotary controller are intuitive and easy to use on the move, they’re also easily reached by the front seat passenger too.
Quest for refinement
Mazda has gone to great lengths to enhance the new 2’s refinement levels, with a range of petrol engines that are barely audible at idle speeds. Great care has been taken to minimise all kinds of exterior noise from entering the cabin, the sense of calm amplified by the comfort-biased suspension.
Everything feels well-assembled and robust inside the 2’s cabin, although those who favour soft-touch plastics will be hard-pressed to find any.
It’s a spacious cabin too, only available with five-door bodywork, although access to the less-roomy-than-average boot space is compromised by a high loading lip and narrowing aperture.
Does the newcomer have what it takes to shake up the small hatchback segment? Read Parkers’ full new Mazda 2 review to find out.