Mazda 2 First Drive – why Mazda’s made the best supermini on sale today

Mazda’s been on a bit of a reinvention kick recently and the latest car on the receiving end is its smallest offering, the Mazda 2 supermini. The last car was based on the Ford Fiesta and a bit hit and miss, but this time round it’s Mazda through-and-through and has its old sibling very firmly in its sights.

Has it hit the spot? We think so – and here are five reasons why you should be putting the 2 top of your supermini list for 2015.

Just look at it!

Mazda’s rather clunkily named its new corporate look “KODO – Soul of Motion”, but whatever it’s called it looks fantastic. We’ve seen the raw ingredients for this before, on the CX-5, Mazda 6 and Mazda 3, but it’s translated to the smaller car brilliantly.

To our eyes it looks even better in blue or red but a calmer palette is also available should you require it.

It drives like a Mazda

When a company makes something that drives as brilliantly as the MX-5 does you can forgive it for striving to make everything else drive the same. Of course there are limitations set by the laws of physics, but for the most part the Mazda 2 is a lovely little car to really hurl down a country lane, with a snicky gearshift just like its sportscar stablemate.

Don’t worry too much about this translating to bad manners in town. The 2’s ride is relatively compliant and certainly no stiffer than the average in the class. It’s easy enough to bat down city streets and narrow one-way lanes – as we found in the depths of Salcombe – and does a good job on the motorway too.

The engines are excellent

The 2 is only available with a pair of 1.5 litre engines – in three petrol states of tune and one diesel – but they’ve covered a lot of the bases. We didn’t get to test the entry-level 74hp petrol, but we had a drive with the 89hp version and found it to be rev-happy and, should you choose, a lot of fun to stretch out. Not a fan of holding onto your gears? Don’t worry, as it’s plenty pliable bimbling about at 2,000rpm and you’ll get a solid 50mpg in daily use.

We also got to try out the 103hp diesel which is the more potent unit and found it to be just as well behaved – though equipped with a nicer six-speed gearbox than the petrols, with ratios that really suited the fun drive.

The 113hp petrol should be much the same as the 89hp version, just a step more sprightly – and there’s rumoured to be a sporty “MPS” version in the works too. Now that we’re looking forward to.

It has a head-up display

No, seriously, it has a head-up display. This used to be the sort of thing you found in fighter planes or high-end luxury cars, but now you can get it on a regular supermini – if you opt for a model at the top of the Mazda 2’s range at any rate.

In fact Mazda packs in a lot of kit to the wee 2 – you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a much bigger car with all the gizmos you get. Depending on trim level you can see standard navigation, a seven-inch touchscreen, LED headlights and DAB digital radio – or even the internet radio app ‘Aha’, with access to 40,000 channels. All models are equipped with standard hill-hold assist, emergency stop signalling, a start button, rake and reach adjustable steering wheel and USB connectivity.

The prices

So we know that the 2 has a great drive, looks stunning, and has loads of kit – it’s got to be expensive, right? Not a bit of it – the Mazda 2 starts at £11,995 for the entry level 74hp SE specification model, undercutting the equivalent Ford Fiesta by just under £500 but outdoing it on kit, performance and fuel economy.

The most expensive models in the Sport Nav grade weigh in at £16,195 for the 113hp petrol (plus £400 for an automatic if you need) and £17,395 for the diesel and both beat any similarly priced Fiesta when it comes to equipment levels and price. The diesel also shows an 89g/km CO2 rating, making for free road tax – while the petrols all range from 105-117g/km.

Mazda 2

Sharp-suited supermini is fun to drive and cheap to run
£13,295 - £17,095
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