Back in 2008 the Mazda 2 was voted World Car of the Year. Considering the car’s engineering thoroughness and individuality, that shouldn’t be a surprise.
First DriveAn early drive in this range-extender version of the Mazda 2 EV reveals an enticing proposition
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What is it?
Mazda’s entry into the hard-fought market for three-door superminis. The three-door version of the Mazda 2 shares its five-door sister’s dimensions, but gets smaller rear windows and a revised glasshouse to make it appear sleeker and leaner.
It’s still a lightweight, tipping the scales at 970kg, and as a result it remains impressively lithe and enthusiastic to drive.
The three-door keeps the five-door’s range of engines, meaning the same 1.3 or 1.5-litre petrol motors and the familiar PSA-derived 66bhp 1.4-litre diesel engine that is tested here.
Mazda is hoping the new bodystyle will more than double the number of 2s sold in the UK, which is being aimed at younger customers.
What’s it like?
The modestly powered oil-burner is smooth, quiet and refined and its low-down grunt is better suited to stop-start city traffic than the peppy petrol alternatives.
The 1.4 diesel engine’s 114g/km CO2 is the lowest emissions rating in class, and if you’re being gentle it’ll return 65mpg – though it stays around 50mpg when you’re making progress.
A 15.5 second stroll to 62mph means that overtaking on faster roads, or accelerating to join a motorway takes some forethought. But once you’ve got momentum the diesel 2 keeps pace with traffic fine. It’s slightly more costly to buy than the basic petrol version, but the TS entry-level price is still competitive.
Although it’s got two fewer doors, the three-door Mazda isn’t impractical. Elongated front doors open wider to offer easy access to the rear seats, where shoulder room is the only sacrifice in terms of passenger space. But the 2’s diminutive dimensions won’t please taller occupants on long journeys and some of the trim quality in the cabin is questionable.
Should I buy one?
In all, the additions further boost the already significant appeal of the Mazda 2 - although the diesel’s lack of urge will limit its appeal to keen drivers. Otherwise, the economical costs of running this version of the 2 make it a fine choice.