Mazda2: Green considerations

  • The Mazda2's green credentials are assessed
  • CO2 emissions of 110g/km mean low tax costs 
  • Could be cheaper to own than an equivalent Fiesta

For many the cost of road tax is becoming a more significant factor.

In the grand scheme of things it's a relatively minor outlay, particularly when compared to depreciation and fuel expenses.

Every little saving can help, however, and the potential difference in the price of a car's road tax could help swing the decision between two different models.

Mazda states that the 1.6-litre diesel Sport model emits 110g/km of CO2, making it the lowest-emitting model in the Mazda2 range. It's in band 'B' for road tax, meaning you'll pay a negligible £20 a year in road tax and nothing for the first year.

So, how does it compare to its rivals? The most obvious alternative is the Ford Fiesta, which shares its platform with the Mazda2.

To get a similar level of performance and equipment from the Fiesta means picking a 1.6-litre TDCi Titanium ECOnetic II model. It costs £16,795. That's a substantial £2,000 more than the Mazda2, which currently has a list price of £14,795 without metallic paint.

You may well be wondering why there's such a premium for the Ford. One reason is that the Fiesta is cleaner. It emits 87g/km of CO2, meaning it's exempt from road tax and showroom tax. Such low emissions also mean it's exempt from congestion charging zone fees, important if you intend to drive in London regularly.

The Fiesta benefits further from a much higher claimed average economy figure of 85.6mpg, compared to the Mazda’s 67.3mpg, although whether you can achieve figures like that in real life is questionable. It also gets a DAB radio with Bluetooth and voice control, as well as the added luxury of a heated windscreen, justifying some of that additional premium.

Both are pretty evenly matched in the performance stakes. The Mazda’s 1.6-litre diesel engine churns out 93bhp and 205Nm of pulling power, allowing it to accelerate from 0-62mph in 12.5 seconds. Its top speed is a plentiful 108mph.

The Ford also has a very similar 1.6-litre diesel engine, which outputs 93bhp and 200Nm of pulling power. It completes the 0-62mph sprint in a marginally slower 12.9 seconds, but can reach a top speed of 111mph.

So, the Fiesta and the Mazda are both very much alike in many respects. If you’ve no particular preference between the two, should the Fiesta’s lower claimed emissions and higher claimed economy swing your purchasing decision?

On tax costs alone, compared to the Mazda, probably not. To recoup the £2,000 premium that the free-to-tax Ford commands would require that you own it for 100 years. Not entirely likely.

With regards to fuel costs, the additional economy of the Fiesta could stand to save you around £200 a year. That’s assuming that you were covering an annual mileage of 10,000 miles, and that both cars returned their claimed figures. That’d mean that you’d have to drive the Fiesta for approximately ten years before you’d break even, compared to buying and running the Mazda2.

Taking both fuel and tax costs into account, and assuming that both cars cost a similar amount to maintain, you’d have to drive the Ford Fiesta for just over nine years before you started making any savings. That's provided that you don't drive in London regularly.

This demonstrates how important it is to do the maths and consider the complete cost of motoring before buying a car.

Forecasts suggest that the Mazda2 may hold on to its value better too, making it an even more attractive proposition.

My opinion? Well, I prefer the interior of the Mazda2, and it’s just as good to drive as the Fiesta. Couple that with the potential savings and, well, there's no further thought required.

I'd take the Mazda.

Current mileage: 4,482 miles

Average mpg: 47.67mpg