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View all Mazda 2 reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Likeable Mazda is a very strong alternative to usual suspects

Mazda 2 (15 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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PROS

  • Sharp styling and sharp drive
  • Comfortable interior
  • Plenty of equipment
  • Efficient range of engines

CONS

  • Not as practical as rivals
  • Lack of steering feel
  • No ‘hot’ version
  • Infotainment system dated

PROS

  • Sharp styling and sharp drive
  • Comfortable interior
  • Plenty of equipment
  • Efficient range of engines

CONS

  • Not as practical as rivals
  • Lack of steering feel
  • No ‘hot’ version
  • Infotainment system dated

Mazda 2 rivals

The Mazda 2 is a five-door supermini sitting at the entry-point to the Japanese company’s range. It too features the same Kodo design language as the rest of the line-up, and is currently in its third generation – with the most distinctive look to date. 

It’s not short on competition, though, with superminis regularly found in the top 10 list of bestselling cars in the UK, such as the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo to see off. Add to that, the stylish Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio, the practical Skoda Fabia, equally-sharp SEAT Ibiza, the quirky Citroen C3 and sensible Kia Rio and Hyundai i20, and the Mazda has its work cut out. 

Mazda 2 engines: SkyActiv petrol power only

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. All the petrol engines are 1.5 litres in capacity and are naturally-aspirated, offered in three power outputs: 75hp, 90hp and 115hp.

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. And while official claimed economy and CO2 figures don’t appear to be as impressive as some rivals’, it’s very easy to reach the claimed figures in every day driving, making them realistic.

Previously, the Mazda 2 was available with a turbocharged 1.5-litre diesel engine with 105hp and was a surprisingly punchy motor with excellent fuel economy claims; however this was dropped from the line-up. Manual transmissions are fitted as standard – five-speed for the lower-powered petrols; six-speed for the 115hp edition – although a lightweight six-speed automatic can be optionally fitted to the 90hp petrol motor.

Mazda 2 trim levels and equipment

Mazda 2 interior

For the uninitiated, the trim levels available in the Mazda 2 can appear confusing on first inspection. As of the end of 2018, there’s a total of seven on offer - although some trim levels aren’t available with all engines. The range consists of SE+. SE-L+, SE-L Nav+, Sport Nav+ and GT Sport Nav+, as well as a pair of special editions: Black Edition and Sport Black+. 

There’s a generous level of standard equipment across the range, with higher-spec models coming packed with kit that you’ll find in many of Mazda’s more expensive models. You can read more about the full spec details in the Features section of this review.

In the front, 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. 

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. However, there are some nice touches on higher-spec cars with a strip of trim reaching across the dashboard and on the doors, matching the trim on the seats.

The cabin is spacious enough for most, and the five-door-only body style means access is easy, however it’s not quite as spacious as a VW Polo or Skoda Fabia, while the boot has a narrow opening and high loading lip.

Read on for the full Mazda 2 review

Mazda 2 rivals