Despite all the know-how gained from making the critically acclaimed MX-5 sports car, Mazda hasn’t been able to make the Mazda 2 the best-driving supermini
Currently, the Mazda 2 comes with one petrol engine.
Where the diversity comes from, though, is in the power outputs: you can get your 1.5-litre petrol to come with either 74hp, 89hp or 113hp. It’s best to avoid the least powerful version, given the 89hp model is noticeably quicker whilst also being more fuel efficient (60mpg vs 63mpg).
The driving position is spot-on, giving you confidence, but the entry-level petrol takes some of that confidence away when overtaking
Unless Mazda ends up building a dedicated performance version of the Mazda 2, then the 113hp engine option is the one to go for if you’re a keen driver. The Mazda 2’s low weight gives it plenty of speed (0-62mph, for instance, only takes 8.7 seconds), whilst also allowing this engine to return a fairly impressive 57mpg.
The Mazda 2 is a very enjoyable car to drive. It has light and precise steering, body roll is well controlled and there’s good grip. It’s just short of the Ford Fiesta in terms of how fun it is to drive, but trails it very closely. The Mazda 2, provided you keep the wheel size small, rides over bumps ok, but can get a bit bouncy over poor roads – a Citroen C3 is more comfortable but far less enjoyable to drive.
Around town, you’ll like how easy it is to dart in and out of traffic while the manual gearbox is pleasing and easy to shift. Take it to some twisty roads and the Mazda 2 shines, giving you confidence and making you grin.
On the motorway, things aren’t so great. There, there’s too much wind noise so you have to overpower it with the stereo and the direct steering makes the Mazda feel a teensy bit nervous at high speeds. Alternatives are not hugely better in this regard so it’s not so bad and the Mazda 2 drives better than just about all of them.