What is it?
It’s a mid-life facelift of the Mazda 2, and given the car’s success (it has sold over 207,000 units in Europe since the Mk2’s introduction in 2007) it is understandable that the changes are relatively mild. All the engines have been brought up to Euro 5 emissions standards, the dampers have been softened, and there are some subtle tweaks to the interior and exterior styling.
What’s it like?
We're testing the 101bhp 1.5-litre petrol motor, complete with a four-speed automatic gearbox that joins the line-up for the first time and is only available with this engine and in TS2 trim. It’s not the most hi-tech gearbox but it does what it needs to do.
Hum around at urban speeds and it’s a satisfying car. Step-off is progressive, with no unpleasant jerkiness or hesitation and it sits in the right gear and shifts smoothly. This is not the transmission of choice if you want to plunder the Mazda 2's energetic motor, but those wanting the auto are unlikely to care. In everyday use it is more than adequate.
The suspension alterations are a change for the better, particularly in terms of the 2’s ability to soak up smaller surface imperfections. At slow speed the big bump absorbion can be a little firm, but not uncomfortable and we never found a road in or out of the city where the Mazda 2 didn't feel at home. It has one of the best blends of ride comort and body control in the segment.
The changes made here are marginal, but they all add up to a product that feels slightly more grown-up. Changes to the interior add appeal, and it is no bad thing that the 2 looks pretty much as it did. In fact, it is no bad thing that the 2 also feels pretty much as it did. The auto model is not the best in the range as it does mask the engine’s abilities beyond normal, everyday driving and it’s a way off the emissions of rivals such as the automatic Vauxhall Corsa and Toyota Yaris, but it is one of the best-value superminis at this price.
Should I buy one?
Yes. We’d opt for the 83bhp manual 1.3 model as our pick of the range, but whichever 2 suits your lifestyle it will do the job with ease and a bit of sparkle. It remains one of the most complete and enjoyable products in its class and one of our favourites, too.