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Review: The Mazda 2 is a great little motor (but don't sit big people in the back)

How does Mazda’s supermini fare on Irish roads? We took it for a test drive to find out.

Image: Max Earey

IN EARLY 2015 the Mazda 2 burst into the busy B-Segment bringing with it an injection of style and refinement.

It is inspired by Mazda’s KODO – Soul of Motion – design language, which is all about capturing the muscular vigour you see when an animal pounces (apparently).

On the Mazda 2, this translates into an elegant, athletic and serious looking car, which is particularly eye-catching in this Soul Red metallic paint, although it is a €720 option.

Source: Max Earey

The front grill mimics the Mazda bird wing logo and it extends into the lights, which I think gives it a very sharp and purposeful look. I like it.

Source: Max Earey

As soon as I sat in the test car I was struck by how different this car’s interior looked to other cars in the segment. The interior is stylish and minimal with lots of clean lines and tactile surfaces. The GT specification test car had the optional half cloth and leather ‘Light Stone’ upholstery and it really makes the cabin pop and gives it a lovely light and airy feel.

Source: Max Earey

The test car was powered by the 1.5-litre 95hp SKYACTIV-G petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. This engine provides ample levels of power for a car of this size and feels smooth on the move.

Mazda has engineered a really slick manual transmission that has quite a positive and engaging feel to it.

Unlike many similarly sized cars the Mazda 2 has nicely weighted power-assisted steering that doesn’t feel overly light. It is still easy to manoeuvre around town and into parking spaces – but on the more open road, it gives a better level of feedback than most.

Source: Ingo Barenschee

While the Mazda 2 feels spacious from the driver’s perspective, rear passenger space is quite limited and even though it can accommodate three passengers back there, the middle seat space is very small. There is also a lack of storage in the rear.

Source: Melanie May

Boot space at 280 litres is slightly smaller than the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Skoda Fabia but a more limiting factor is the restrictive aperture, which doesn’t make loading bulkier items that easy. The rear seats do fold down, however, to increase capacity to 950 litres.

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Source: Max Earey

Is this the right car for you?

If you’re looking for an engaging, stylish small hatchback but practicality isn’t top of your list, then the Mazda 2 is certainly one to consider. In the higher GT specification tested here, it has a really premium feel to it but that does come with a higher price tag.

The Mazda 2 starts at €19,995 but this test car costs €21,240.

In this GT line spec, it is €190 a year to tax and the official combined fuel economy is 4.5-litres/100km (63mpg).

If space is your main priority you should look at the Skoda Fabia, though it doesn’t feel as solid as the Mazda 2.

If you are looking for a great all-rounder that drives well and is practical the Ford Fiesta is worth a consideration and it has a great range of engines.

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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