Ride comfort is improved over the old car. You’ll feel a fair few tremors and the odd harsh thump in the cabin over patched-up town roads, but the damping softens the worst bumps and it’s settled at high speeds.
Perhaps the biggest step forward is the cabin, which previously traded in scratchy plastics and some seemingly 1990s Casio-inspired readouts. Now you get a smattering of contrasting materials, including the odd gloss plastic and metal-effect insert, a simple, easy-to-read speedo and a seven-inch colour touchscreen.
It all feels quite grown-up and easy to use, provided you stick to using the rotary controller for the infotainment screen, given that you have to poke the touchscreen with alarming force to illicit a response. Its software also looks a bit half-finished because not all of the homescreen icons fit within the confines of the display.
Still, the screen really brightens up the interior, and on SE-L trim you get DAB radio, Bluetooth and a USB input, and you can add sat-nav for £400 should you wish. It’s well equipped elsewhere, too, with climate and cruise controls, heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors, a leather steering wheel with audio controls and a lane departure warning system.
There’s a bit less room in the rear cabin and in the boot of compared to some rivals, notably the Volkswagen Polo and new Skoda Fabia, but with 60/40 split rear seats as standard, it’ll be more than fit for purpose for most supermini users.
Should I buy one?
There are plenty of reasons why you should, yes.
If you like the 2’s combination of swoopy, well proportioned looks, generous kit, encouraging dynamics and low running costs (we managed an impressive 50mpg in a varied real-world run), you'll probably love it. It's certainly a lot less dreary and pious-feeling than plenty of other small cars.
Having said that, it’s a shame the list price isn’t lower, as the 2 does look a touch pricey next to the obvious rivals.The relatively poor refinement can be wearing out of town, too.
Without these issues, and if the handling stakes were high enough to rival the seemingly unbeatable agility of the Fiesta, the Mazda 2 could be a world-beating thing.
As it is, it’s one of the best, but it’s not quite king of the supermini hill.
Mazda 2 SkyActiv-G 1.5 90 SE-L
Price £13,995 0-62mph 9.4sec Top speed 114mph Economy 62.8mpg CO2 105g/km Kerb weight 1050kg Engine 4 cyls, 1496cc, petrolPower 89bhp at 6000rpm Torque 109lb ft at 4000rpm Gearbox 5-spd manual