The Mazda2 isn’t exactly the first car you think of buying when you are looking for a city car. It lags behind the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio in terms of sales. We can see this through the 2017 sales figures, over 3,000 Fiestas registered so far this year and over 600 Kia Rios. As for the Mazda, less than 270 units. Why is this? We don’t know because the Mazda2 is good little buy.
Mazda hasn’t skimped on its KODO design for the Mazda2. The B-segment car looks just as mature as the Mazda6, which is not typical for a city car. City cars tend to be cheery and cute but there is no messing with Mazda. The headlights, along with the grill, feature some carbon bits that give the city runabout some sportiness to it, if a bit tacky however. Soul Red is a typical Mazda colour, a lot of press shots have the car painted in this colour. For this reason, I don’t tend to favour this colour on anything but the Mazda2.
Inside, the high quality continues. The seats are trimmed with cream leather and black cloth with a red strip breaking it up. The dash is split with a leather band breaking up the black, soft touch materials used. These materials are not used on the lower centre console though which makes it feel flimsy.
For whatever reason, Mazda have not figured out about Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 7-inch screen fixed to the dash is easy to navigate using the iDrive-esque system. Sat Nav is an option that was specced on our car. It works but is not on par with rivals such as Volkswagen. However, this old school system is a doddle to use.
Space in the back is not generous. I’m 6 foot and with the driver seat in my driving position, there was little to no leg room for someone of similar height in the back. Head room was ok even with the sloping roof. The optional tinted windows made it quite claustrophobic. Although, Mazda didn’t hold back on the rear seats. They are comfortable enough for the short distances that will be done in this car and look as good as the front ones. Up front, space is plentiful. The glovebox and door bins are big enough to fit a small bottle along with your wallet or phone and there are two cupholders in the centre.
In terms of driving, the Mazda2 is a bit hot and cold. It handles well on a nice winding road, which is unlikely for a light city car. The car weighs just 975kg so on paper, 90hp is more than enough. Although, the car is naturally aspirated (not turbocharged) so the 1.5 petrol engine works hard to get this power out. Mated to a 5-speed manual, you only tend to use third and fourth around the city. The small turning circle is one that is to be commended. The car is very easy to park and you can pull out and do a U-turn in a matter of seconds, if needed.
However, motorway experiences are to be avoided in the Mazda2. Trying to get up to motorway speeds is a chore in itself. Once at those speeds, the car feels very skittish and unsteady. The cabin is bombarded with road noise. However, at least you have cruise control. That’s one less thing to worry about as you try tackle the car to stay in lane.
As for running costs, they aren't exactly best in class. I averaged 7.2l/100km throughout my week of motorway and city driving. To put this into perspective, when I had the Skoda Octavia RS, I was averaging the same figure. The Mazda emits 105g of CO2 which equates to a tax bill of €190 per year.
Despite its niggles, the Mazda2 is worth considering. It handles well which is a nice change from its rivals, maybe with the exception of the Ford Fiesta. The 1.5 petrol unit is likely to be a trusty one too as there are no turbos to go bang. There is life yet for the old school Mazda2.