- Just petrol power for the Mazda 2
- Three versions of the same 1.5-litre engine
- No more diesel available
The Mazda 2 comes with a choice of three power options, all of which use the same 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, just in different states of tune.
There was a diesel option as well, but this was dropped from the range recently.
Mazda 2 petrol engines
As most small cars cover shorter distances, it makes sense that the Mazda 2 now comes exclusively with petrol engines under the bonnet.
There are three available – or, more accurately, one with three different power outputs. All petrol 2s feature 1.5-litre naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) four cylinder engines, which are uncannily smooth and quiet, particularly at lower speeds.
Serving as the range’s entry point is a 75hp version producing 135Nm of torque at a relatively high 3,800rpm. If you rarely venture outside the urban confines of a city, this motor’s adept at the job of keeping up with traffic without much aural drama.
On the odd occasion you might want to take it further, be prepared for much toing and froing of the slick five-speed manual gear lever, as you’ll need to swap ratios frequently to make the most of what power it’s got on offer. It gets coarser as the speed increases, or when you need to pull out of a junction with a greater degree of pace.
The trade-off of the 106mph top speed and leisurely 12.1-second trundle from 0-62mph is a claimed 57.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 111g/km.
The 90hp version, again with the five-speed manual ‘box, is the most popular choice of the range and it’s easy to see why.
That extra 15hp, joined by an increase in torque to 148Nm, liberates more performance (114mph top speed and 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds), while efficiency figures remain the same.
It’s nevertheless worth noting that despite the raised torque figure, that peak rate is delivered at 4,000rpm. Floor the throttle in fifth gear at motorway speeds and acceleration rate is glacial. Much gear changing is still required.
Spend most of the time driving away from urban confines and the 115hp version makes more sense, although it’s only available in the range-topping versions. Peak torque remains the same as the 90hp engine but with a six-speed manual gearbox you’ve more chance of extracting performance without changing ratios quite as much. Top speed is 124mph while the 0-62mph sprint time is dispatched in 9.0 seconds.
Efficiency takes a bit of a knock with claimed fuel consumption dropping to 50.4mpg, emissions rising to 127g/km.
Mazda 2 1.5-litre 90hp
On the move, the 90hp engine remains smooth and hushed until you really need to stretch its legs getting up to speed on the motorway, but it settles down to a refined and composed experience. If you need the extra oomph but can't quite stretch to the 115hp version, it's a fine compromise.
Mazda 2 automatic
If all that gear changing sounds tiresome, Mazda offers the 2 with a six-speed automatic transmission, exclusively paired to the 90hp petrol engine.
Like other Mazda automatic transmissions, it’s smooth in operation, ideal for diluting the drudgery of stop/start city driving.
Performance and economy are both sapped thanks to the automatic’s installation: it offers a 12.0-second 0-62mph acceleration time and Mazda claims official figures of 54.3mpg and 118g/km of CO2 too.
Mazda 2 diesel no longer available
Turbocharging was part of the 1.5-litre diesel’s arsenal, ensuring that, if you find a used one, this Mazda 2 doesn’t sacrifice too much performance in its economy quest.
With 105hp on tap and 220Nm of torque, albeit produced at a still-revvy 3,200rpm, there’ll be less need to work the six-speed manual gearbox as you approach its 111mph top speed, or go from standstill to 62mph in 10.1 seconds.
Running costs are where the diesel really scored though, Mazda claiming an average fuel consumption of 83.1mpg while it was the only sub-100g/km 2 in the range, producing 89g/km of CO2 when it was on sale.
- Light controls and tidy handling
- Focuses more on comfort than sportiness
- Grippy, but not as fun as a Fiesta
As comfortable and competent as the Mazda 2 handling characteristics are, they don’t deliver much in the way of thrills.
Rather than showcasing the agility afforded by the weight-saving efficiency measures, Mazda’s instead chosen to maximise the 2’s refinement and sense of being in a bigger car, both to driver and passengers.
This is no bad thing and largely this brief’s been successfully undertaken. Ride quality is good both at slower, urban speeds and going faster along motorways, with good body control ensuring it doesn’t porpoise after a series of undulations.
The 2 corners accurately too, the grippy tyres holding on well until gently pushing wider in faster bends when too much speed nudges it into understeer. Body roll is kept neatly in check, including during rapid changes of direction, allowing the Mazda to feel stable and assured.
While you’re confident the Mazda’s going to head in the direction you’re pointing it at, it’s more of a seat-of-the-pants feel rather than the steering wheel acting as a conduit for communications from the road. In fact, holding the rim delivers very little sensation at all.
Steering feel aside, it and the 2’s other controls feel suitably weighted, erring on the lighter side to promote ease of use in city environments. The five-speed manual gearbox was slick in its operation, useful given how often you’ll use to it extract performance from the Mazda, although the six-speed version was slightly less satisfying in its action.
If out and out driving fun is a key buying factor for you, the Mazda 2’s still in the Ford Fiesta’s shade.
- Interior shared with the CX-3 crossover
- Neat and interesting design and user-friendly
- Infotainment easy to use, but dated now
It’s not unusual for Japanese cars to have interiors that are well-built but constructed of firmer plastics than those employed in many European cars, and in this regard the Mazda 2 is no different.
Stylistically the new 2’s interior isn’t dissimilar to the MX-5 sports car, with a driver-focused section Mazda calls the cockpit zone, and a wider section in front of the passenger. The reasoning is that driver distraction is minimised with all the key information directly in front of them, while controls for the air-con and infotainment system, which aren’t looked at as frequently, are to the side where the front passenger can access them equally well.
The instrument binnacle is clear, combining analogue and digital graphics, while a head-up display is also available higher up the range.
Visibility is fine, with an unusually long bonnet view on a small car, which helps position the nose when manoeuvring around cities. Rear parking sensors aid further when negotiating tighter spots, while the very large door mirrors (that fold automatically), aid with rearward visibility.
Finding a comfortable seating position will prove to be a doddle for most, the driver’s seat adjustable for height and the steering wheel for distance and angle.
- Very comfortable seats and driving position
- Long-distance credentials are good
- Interior is rattle-free and refined
There’s room for four six-foot adults to sit comfortably, although the rear seat would be best accommodated by three children who’ve outgrown their car seats. Talking of which, there are two Isofix mounting points should you need them.
On the road the 2’s a calm car to travel in: the interior’s free of niggling squeaks and rattles, while noise from tyres and air rushing over the door mirrors and around the windscreen pillars is kept impressively low too.
Even the engines are remarkably quiet when idling, so much so you’ll find yourself gently dabbing the accelerator to check it’s running, although the need to rev the engines hard at times will disturb some of the peace.
Mazda shrunk its larger car-underpinning philosophy to make the 2, paying particular attention to where occupants feet rest and where the seats are mounted to ensure vibrations at those points are kept to a minimum too. There’s a decent amount of adjustment in the front seats, which remain feeling comfortable after several hours at the wheel.
Combine all these factors with the supple yet well-controlled suspension and damper settings and a raft of standard equipment including online connectivity on mid-range models onwards, and the Mazda 2 is an easy car to travel long distances in.