From £12,800
It’s a great car that offers excellent value but auto gearbox wouldn’t be our choice

What is it?

This is the facelifted Mazda 2, a car we’ve already driven on its launch but tested here for the first time in the UK. Autocar could be accused of not shouting loudly enough about the Mazda 2. It’s a great car that offers excellent value, but it’s the Fiesta and Polo that steal the class headlines. Mazda, then, is no doubt hoping that this mid-life facelift, which includes styling changes inside and out along with slightly softer suspension, will go some way towards raising the 2’s profile.

The engine line-up consists of two petrol options (1.3-litre with 74 or 83bhp and a 101bhp 1.5-litre) and a diesel (a 94bhp 1.6), all of which are now Euro 5 compliant. As with the car tested at launch, this car came with the 1.5-litre petrol mated to a new four-speed automatic gearbox.

The 1.5 is the only engine in the range available that gets the auto option, but Mazda believes it’s going to be a big seller in the UK both as a Motability scheme choice and thanks to the car’s popularity with driving schools. We, it has to be said, would have preferred to try the car with a manual transmission…

See pics of the Mazda 2 1.5 TS2 in action

What’s it like?

In short, it’s a cracking car and still great fun to drive despite a slight softening of the suspension. The steering is quick and direct, and the ride pliant and composed. Yes, it will thump and bang a bit over urban potholes but frankly we’d be surprised if it didn’t.

The 1.5-litre engine is a pretty refined unit, too, offering enough performance for the 2 not to feel out of its depth with motorway traffic. Mated to a manual ’box it returns 48.7mpg on the EC combined test cycle, although this drops to 44.8mpg for the automatic version.

While the relatively low-tech four-speed ’box mutes the engine’s responses a touch it’s surprisingly driver friendly with slick, unobtrusive changes and an intelligent matching of speed to gear. It works particularly well around town, although can feel stretched on the open road – kickdown at 65mph or so and the engine is happy to rev alarmingly close to the red line for what feels like a few seconds too long, but it soon regains its composure.

Should I buy one?

If you’re in the market for a supermini then you should definitely consider a 2. It looks good and offers great value and, while the interior isn’t quite up to Polo or Fiesta levels of finish, standard equipment is generous and it’s a well put together product. The auto gearbox wouldn’t be our choice with this or any of the 2’s other engine options — the 1.3 is perhaps the pick of the range – but Mazda’s supermini comes highly recommended.

Mazda 2 1.5 TS2 Automatic

Price: £12,370; 0-62mph: 11.9sec; Max speed: 105mph; Weight: 980kg; Fuel economy: 44.8mpg; CO2: 146g/km; Engine Layout: 4 cyl, 1498cc, petrol; Max power: 101bhp at 6000rpm; Max torque: 98lb ft at 4000rpm

Join the debate

Add a comment…
catnip 26 January 2011

Re: Mazda 2 1.5 TS2

I've always liked this car, and given the choice would probably choose this over the Fiesta, but for one thing. It just doesn't have enough legroom at the wheel for me, whereas the Fiesta does..

bomb 26 January 2011

Re: Mazda 2 1.5 TS2

TegTypeR wrote:
a genuinely likeable car and far better than the Fiesta with which it shares its floorpan

I'd second that. This would be my supermini of choice, if I had to make that choice! But not with the slushmatic tested here...

TegTypeR 26 January 2011

Re: Mazda 2 1.5 TS2

I tested a pre facelifted model a while back and found it a genuinely likeable car and far better than the Fiesta with which it shares its floorpan.

Whilst the auto version is far from the preferable choice, I certainly wouldn't feel short changed if I had to drive this version on a daily basis.