Video: Mazda 2 has a 'sporty fun factor that gives it a kerb appeal'
Recently crowned the APMP Small Car of the Year for 2016, the latest generation Mazda 2 offers a fun and sporty alternative to the usual suspects on the small car market.
Performance & Running Costs
Breaking away from the smaller-engined turbo-charged theme of the moment, Mazda have opted to fit the 2 with a naturally aspirated 1.5l four-cylinder petrol unit instead - available with either 75 or 90PS. It does need to be worked a little harder as a result to get up to speed, but not only will some old-school petrol heads appreciate that - according to Mazda it makes for better real-world fuel economy too. We managed an average of 48.5 MPG on our (mainly city-based) week-long test drive, which is not quite the claimed 63, but still a good deal closer than many can get.
The other option then is the 1.5l diesel with SkyActiv technology, but is only available in the Executive SE trim, meaning a minimum spend of €22,195. We're just not sure there are many supermini drivers doing the type of mileage required to make that saving back on fuel economy, which is admittedly incredible at 83MPG. All models fall into the acceptable sub €200 a year motor tax bracket.
The Mazda 2 is a genuinely enjoyable car to drive. Its neat dimensions and spot-on suspension set-up mean you can corner quickly with confidence, yet it still won't jar on rougher surfaces.
Our test car was the 90PS GT model which offers plenty of pulling power and feels as capable climbing mountains as it does around the suburbs.
What’s in the cabin
Mazda interiors are fast becoming the ones to beat in the middle of the market, and their latest cabins could give Audi a run for their money in terms of refinement with their simple, striking elegance. The new Mazda 2 dashboard combines Japanese durability with a high-quality, nice-to-touch European finish, and the (optional) light-stone leather upholstery in our test car made for a very upmarket feel indeed.
Value for money
Standard equipment on the entry-level SE trim is a little on the sparse side, and like the majority of the market, the real volume sellers will be the mid – higher spec models. The Executive model comes reasonably well-equipped for the €16,995 price tag with Cruise Control, Alloy wheels, Air Conditioning and steering wheel mounted controls. You will have to upgrade to the Executive SE for the MZD touchscreen infotainment system, which for a €1,500 premium also adds a multimedia commander dial, Bluetooth, automatic air-conditioning, and some extra safety kit in the form of a lane departure warning system and smart city brake support
The high-tech driver assistance features available on the higher-spec models are pretty impressive but like many of its peers this year, it failed to score the full five stars on the NCAP crash test under the stricter new 2015 criteria. It managed a respectable four all the same.
Reliability is generally not an issue with Mazdas and they tend to hold their value quite well on the used market too.
Although it's not the best right across the board at everything that it does (the boot being a bit of a weak point with its high lip and odd shape), it is probably one of the only small cars on the market that can rival the Fiesta in terms of handling, but with a sporty fun factor that gives it the kind of kerb appeal that even premium rivals will struggle to match.