This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mazda 2 review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Mazda 2 performance options include both petrol and diesel choices.

Petrol engines

As with most superminis, the Mazda 2 is most popular with petrol engines. Mazda offers two choices of 1.3-litre petrol in 74- and 83bhp guises. The more powerful 1.3 is the more rounded of the two, but if you want to make the most of the Mazda 2’s nippy handling, the 101bhp 1.5-litre petrol is the better bet. Economy for the 1.3s is identical at 56.5mpg, while carbon dioxide emissions are the same at 115g/km. For the 1.5 petrol, it emits 132g/km and gives 49.6mpg. A four-speed automatic gearbox is only offered with the 1.5 engine in TS2 trim, but this engine feels livelier and better suited to the standard five-speed manual transmission used in the Sport model. The 1.5 Sport is quick off the mark, offering 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds, but don’t discount the smaller petrols. The 74- and 83bhp 1.3s may only provide 0-62mph in 14.9- and 13.6 seconds respectively, but they rev freely and feel eager while also delivering enough low-rev oomph to be quiet on the motorway and flexible in town.

Diesel engine

Mazda’s has fitted the 2 with its fine new 1.6-litre turbodiesel that delivers economy and emissions on a par with the class leaders in the supermini sector. It has 94bhp on tap and a generous 152lb.ft of low- and mid-rev punch, which means you don need to trouble the five-speed manual gearbox as much as in some rivals to keep the engine in its power band. It helps the diesel spreads its peak power broadly between 1700- and 3000rpm, which is exactly the rev band where most drivers will spend most of the time when driving. All of this helps contribute towards 67.3mpg average economy and 110g/km CO2 emissions.

Parkers recommends

The extra power and performance of the 1.5-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel engines appeal, but we’ll take the 1.3-litre petrol in 83bhp for its mix of decent performance, economy, low emissions and affordable price.

The 2 has a crispness and agility in the way it drives that is missing from so many other small cars. The steering is sharp, responsive and well weighted. It's light enough to make parking a breeze, but also has some feel if you want to make the most out of backroads. It corners precisely, doesn't roll through bends and has a slick five-speed gearbox and responsive brakes.

The ride is remarkable for such a small car. At speed all lumps and undulations in the road are smoothed out with ease, making the 2 comfortable for both driver and passengers.