New Mazda 2 2019 Full Review and Test Drive
New Mazda 2 2019 Full Review and Test Drive.
In a segment as competitive as the small car class, manufacturers are under huge pressure to offer buyers fantastic value for money.
In this respect, the Mazda 2 doesn’t get off to a great start because it looks expensive next to rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Skoda Fabia. However, look beyond the brochure price and the 2 has a range of engines that tend to prove frugal in the real world, and trim levels that offer plenty of kit and safety features.
Mazda 2 buyers can choose from three naturally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol engines, and the mid-range 89bhp Skyactiv-G version is a popular choice. Lacking a turbocharger, which most of its rivals use in order to boost mid-range poke, you need to rev the engine hard to make good progress on motorways. Around town this is less of an issue and it feels responsive enough.
If you hanker for something quicker, there’s also a 113bhp version. However, the truth is it doesn’t feel dramatically more powerful, yet costs more to buy and run. We’re yet to try the entry-level 74bhp version, or the automatic gearbox, which is available exclusively with the 89bhp petrol.
SE+, SE-L+ and SE-L Nav+ get 15in wheels, which offer the smoothest ride. They allow the 2 to smooth the edges off large bumps such as speed humps, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the 2 is a little on the firm side. When you encounter potholes and broken tarmac, it tends to jostle you around. We wouldn’t call it uncomfortable, but if you’re looking for the best-riding cars in the class, the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo should be top of your list.
The more expensive Sport Nav+ trims and above come with larger 16in wheels that only exacerbates the issue, making bumps feel even more abrupt.
If you fancy something more entertaining and capable we’d steer you towards a Ford Fiesta or Seat Ibiza. Why? Well, when you’re pressing on the 2's steering doesn’t tell you much about how much grip the front wheels have on the road, and the ultimate grip levels aren’t especially high.
On the plus side, the weight of the 2’s steering is consistently well judged, whether you’re scooting through town or cornering hard, and the body stays relatively level in bends thanks to that firmer-than-usual suspension.
Cars in this class aren’t always very adept at isolating wind and road noise, and the Mazda 2 is par for the course - it generates a fair bit of both at 70mph. The 1.5-litre petrol engines also sound coarse when you rev them – especially compared to rivals’ motors, such as the Fiesta 1.0 petrol – and send vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals, too.
There’s a good range of adjustment to the seat and steering wheel, including height adjustment on all versions, so even tall drivers should be able to get comfortable.
Electric seats aren’t available on any of the trims, but that’s in line with most of its rivals. The pedals line up nicely with the driver’s seat, too, for a comfortable driving position.
The windscreen pillars are relatively slim and the side windows large, so your vision forwards and to the side is pretty clear. Rear visibility is less generous, as the 2’s sloping roofline and styled rear combine to result in a smaller-than-average rear screen. Rear parking sensors aren’t available as an option on the two lower trims, but they are standard on SE-L Nav+ and above, while range topping GT Sport+ models have a rear-view camera, too.
One of the 2’s best features an impressive infotainment system that’s available on SE-L Nav+ versions and above. You can control the system using the 7.0in touchscreen, which is responsive but does have some fiddly icons. More intuitive is the large, conveniently positioned rotary controller that sits between the front seats, which can be used to scroll through the various options. It’s much less distracting and makes it simple to use on the move. Entry-level cars make do with a simple monochrome display that you control via rotary dials and buttons, and it can’t be upgraded.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available as a £350 option on SE-L Nav+ and above.
Soft-touch materials on the dashboard feel surprisingly classy while the leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob sit nicely in your hands. Some other bits of the interior feel lower-rent, though, including the scratchy plastics in the storage area by the gearlever, and the fake carbon-fibre on the inside of the doors.
GT Sport Nav+ gets a choice of different interior finishes, including black or stone leather inlays, which give it a much more enticing and upmarket feel.
Despite its small dimensions, the Mazda 2 offers plenty of space for two adults in front. There’s more than enough leg and elbow room, and even six-footers won’t find their heads against the roof lining.