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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

At a glance

New price £12,755 - £18,635
Used price £4,200 - £14,375
Used monthly cost £104 - £355
Miles per pound 8.2 - 8.5 mpp
Fuel economy 50 - 83 mpg
Road tax cost £0 - £145
Insurance group 13 - 20 How much is it to insure?

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 great little car with a tough job on its hands – namely, convincing UK car buyers to leave their Ford Fiestas, Vauxhall Corsas and Volkswagen Polos behind in favour of a sharply-styled supermini from Japan.

Currently in its third generation, the 2 does things a little differently to most of its rivals. For a start, it eschews small-capacity turbocharged engines in favour of larger, less stressed engines. This helps boost real-world fuel economy – performing worse in official tests, but better in customer’s own hands.

The 2 competes with some of the UK’s most popular cars, and along with its aforementioned rivals it can also count the likes of the Renault Clio, Skoda Fabia, Citroen C3 and Parkers Award-winning SEAT Ibiza.

SkyActiv petrol power

Formerly available with a diesel engine, the 2 now offers a choice of three petrol engines. All are 1.5 litres in capacity – larger than most rivals – and depending on trim level there are power outputs of 75hp, 90hp and 115hp. Even the most powerful of these isn’t exactly a hot hatchback, despite tidy handling and a pleasingly direct steering rack. Most rivals offer something with rather more zing, such as the VW Polo’s 150hp 1.5-litre TSI or the Ford Fiesta EcoBoost 140.

2017 Mazda 2 rear dynamic

The term ‘SkyActiv’ refers to Mazda’s suite of performance-boosting engine tweaks, centred around improving efficiency and reducing weight.

Five-speed manual gearboxes are standard on 75hp and 90hp engines, while the 115hp gets a six-speeder. A six-speed automatic can be fitted to 90hp engines, but it’s worth avoiding – it’s old-fashioned and relatively inefficient.

Sharp ‘Kodo’ design

The 2 wears the same corporate ‘face’ as the rest of Mazda’s lineup. It’s an eye-catching and handsome supermini, though after several years on sale it’s beginning to look a little dated.

The interior is equally slick, with an asymmetric layout that puts the focus on the driver. Again, Mazda’s gone off-piste here – with a scroll-wheel operated infotainment system that’s much safer to use on the move than a touchscreen.

While the engine lineup may be simple to navigate, the trim levels are slightly more confusing. 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.

Everything feels well assembled and robust inside the 2, 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