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Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

The Mazda 2 engine line-up consists of two petrol options. A 1.3-litre unit with 74 or 83bhp and a 101bhp 1.5-litre, and a 94bhp 1.6-litre diesel, all of which are Euro 5 compliant. Overall, we’d opt for the 83bhp manual 1.3 model as our pick of the range, although if you spend a lot of time on the motorway, the 101bhp 1.5-litre unit is the better bet.  

In the benchmark 0-62mph sprint, the 74bhp engine takes 14.9sec and its 83bhp sister takes 13.6sec, while the 1.5-litre engine cuts that back to a much nippier 10.7sec. The torquey 1.6-litre diesel takes 11.5sec.  

Mazda has removed 2kg from the speakers, 13kg from the suspension and 22kg from the body, all aiding performance

It’s probably true to say that the engines are, overall, slightly less refined than in rival models such as the VW Volkswagen Polo or mechanically similar Ford Fiesta. But then the Mazda 2 is tuned more towards satisfying the eager driver. The manual cars benefit from a slick-shifting manual ’box.  

The 1.5-litre petrol can be had mated to a 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. It’s a pretty refined unit, too, offering enough performance for the 2 not to feel out of its depth with motorway traffic.   

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.

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