The five-door Mazda2 is an award-winning car boasting excellent comfort, outstanding handling, technology galore and a price-tag that cannot fail to impress. And there are now GT and GT Sport models that spearhead the updated line-up.
The goodGreat for cities and open roads. Superb economy along the way too
The badFiercely competitive segment
Mazda2 1.5 115PS GT Sport – first drive (2017)
The Mazda2 supermini may be the baby in the company’s line-up but it’s growing up fast and has now been given the sporty treatment thanks to the arrival of a dazzling GT Sport model.
It boasts a sharper design and lots of extra equipment, plus it is exclusively offered with Mazda’s 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G petrol engine and this flagship model is mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
The Mazda2 GT Sport looks the business from any angle thanks to its athletic profile, distinctive black rear roof spoiler, full LED headlights and 16-inch alloys. Then when you move inside, the interior is upmarket, clutter-free and packed with techno treats.
On-board creature comforts include a head-up display, leather upholstery with brown leather trim on the dashboard and doors, Mazda scuff plates and a reversing camera. These features are on top of the generous level of equipment that is found in the next trim down called Sport Nav, including the likes of a colour touchscreen, apple and android phone connectivity, sat nav and a chunky steering wheel.
The test model, priced at £16,995 (£17,535 with options fitted) featured the upgraded 115PS petrol powertrain and could complete the 0-62mph dash in 8.7 seconds, maxed out at 124mph and, according to official figures, can achieve combined fuel economy of 56.5mpg with carbon emissions of 117g/km.
Driving dynamics, ride and handling have always been high on Mazda’s agenda and the Mazda2 GT Sport lives up to all the hype. The acceleration is constant and the steering is beautifully precise. Mazda has introduced its G-Vectoring Control system to the car too which has improved the steering by finely modulating the engine’s torque output when cornering.
Admittedly, it’s not exactly hot hatch material, but this Mazda can be thrown into bends at pace with confidence – the road-holding is excellent and the suspension is nice and firm.
In and around town, the car is agile and easy to manoeuvre and then out on motorways and country lanes it can easily keep pace with fast-moving traffic.
Comfort levels within the five-door hatchback are high and there is enough leg, head and shoulder space for a couple of adults in the back. Storage options are also impressive with a boot capacity that ranges from 280 to 950 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
The cabin is well-insulated against any engine, road surface or wind noise and all the instrumentation is perfectly positioned for ease of use.
And with a comprehensive array of safety specifications, the Mazda2 GT Sport is an excellent option for a younger audience who want to look the part, but don’t need ridiculous amounts of uncontrollable power and grunt at their disposal.
Mazda2 – first drive (2015)
There’s no denying the global success story of the stunning Mazda2 with more than 2.5 million sales to date since making its debut in 1996.
And now the Japanese manufacturer is really upping the ante with its all-new Mazda2 offering a 16-car line-up that really raises the bar in the B segment.
Prices for the five-door hatchback range from £11,995 to £17,395. There are five highly-equipped trim levels to select from – SE, SE-L, SE-L Nav, Sport and Sport Nav – plus there is a choice of 12 petrol and four diesel variants. It seems there is a model to suit all needs and tastes.
In addition to celebrate the arrival of the new Mazda2 there will be a special limited Sports Launch Edition costing £14,995. This is powered by a 1.5-litre 90PS SKYACTIV-G petrol engine and boasts kit such as an integrated naviga-tion system, 16-inch alloys, automatic wipers, privacy glass, dusk-sensing lights and rear parking sensors.
But anyone on a tighter budget will be pleased to learn that even the entry level SE model features daytime running lights, a four-speaker sound system with USB connectivity, a CD player, coming home/leaving home lights, electrically adjustable door mirrors, a rear spoiler and plenty more besides.
As you move up through the trim levels extra technology such as a 7-inch colour touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, seat heaters and a DAB radio are added. And there is even a Safety Pack that introduces a head-up display which is a first for a B-segment car.
First impressions are vital and the Mazda2 certainly excels on that front with its striking interpretation of the company’s ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ design philosophy.
It boasts a sporty appearance featuring Mazda’s instantly recognisable ‘wing’ front grille and predator-like headlight clusters.
There are sculpted creases along the flanks and a coupe-like roofline that helps portray a sleek, muscular and athletic appearance which is just right for a model that will be competing against the likes of the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and Renault Clio for buyers’ attention.
The interior is bright, inviting and deceptively spacious especially up front where there is now additional room. Comfort levels have also been improved upon and this was confirmed during two days of testing on fast-moving mo-torways and sweeping mountain roads with sharp hairpin bends in and around Barcelona. After several hours as both a driver and passenger, the seats still offered excellent support and the ride quality was equally impressive.
Mazda2 has also shed the pounds and is seven per cent lighter than the out-going model. This along with some very impressive powertrains has helped to increase fuel efficiency by up to 20 per cent – a factor that will put a smile on any owner’s face.
I tested out two models – both powered by the 1.5-litre 90PS petrol engine. The first car was a five-speed manual in a European trim similar to the SE-L equivalent on offer in the UK. It can reach from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds and has a top speed of 113mph. According to official figures it can achieve 62.8mpg and has carbon emissions of 105g/km. The UK’s SE-L model would cost £13,995.
When it comes to performance and driving dynamics, the Mazda2 is quite the little compact dynamo. It is zippy with decent acceleration through the gears, sharp responsive handling and ample power at your disposal when short bursts of pace are required. It grips the road surface like glue which makes tight bends all the more enjoyable. I did find the revs had to be kept pretty high when taking on lengthy hill climbs, but that aside the car was packed with energy and had bundles of character.
The second model was slightly more upmarket and similar to the SE-L Nav Auto with a six-speed automatic transmission, priced at £15,595.
This can reach 62mph from a standing start in 12.0 seconds and has a top speed of 110mph. Combined fuel efficiency is 58.8mpg with emissions of 112g/km.
Yet again this Mazda2 was an absolute pleasure to drive and the automatic gearbox proved wonderfully smooth with good ratios and enough acceleration when needed – there are steering wheel mounted paddles to change gears manually if so desired.
Once more it was the long steep ascents that proved the most challenging issue for this model when the engine noise seemed to increase considerably as the car was pushed that bit harder. At other times, noise within the cabin was minimal.
The car’s interior is very modern and stylish in its layout with all technology proving very user-friendly. It is clutter-free but there is no shortage of techno treats to be explored.
Back seat passengers also benefit from ample head and leg room and the 280-litre boot is ideal for carrying all the weekly shopping or smaller suitcases. The capacity can be increased to 950 litres with the 60:40 split folding rear seats flat.
As one would expect these days, the new Mazda2 is packed with safety specifications, including anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic brake assist, dynamic stability control, traction control, hill hold and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Addition features such as smart city brake support, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, high beam control and the head-up display are available on higher-specced models or as optional packs.
All in all, the new Mazda2 is an exciting, stylish and fun-to-drive model that is brimming with character and top notch technology.
It’s economical, well equipped and very competitively priced – all factors that feature highly on buyers’ lengthy wish-lists.
Mazda2 1.5 Sport 5dr
When it comes to dashing good looks, excellent fuel economy and a great value-for-money package, the Mazda2 has to be a forerunner in its field.
This spacious five-door hatchback really puts the fun back into motoring and is a very capable performer in and around town and out on the more open road.
Powered by an impressive 1.5-litre engine and with a five-speed manual transmission, the Mazda2 is a complete dream to drive and offers great all-round visibility thanks to its light and spacious cabin area. The interior was comfortable and roomy and boasted some classy features including air con, electric windows, central locking and plenty more.
The boot is not massive, but is capable of carrying smaller items of luggage or the family weekly shopping with ease.
In and around town, the eye-catching Mazda2 is guaranteed to turn heads thanks to its attractive streamlining and the fact that it comes in some of the most dazzling colours to be seen on our roads today – where are those sunnies!
Then, out on the open road, the Mazda2 performed very capably although gusty breezes did give it quite a pummelling and I found myself having to correct the steering a little.
Noise levels are very quiet unless it is pushed to the limit which is quite a rare occurrance, but generally the drive was an enjoyable one.
Another factor to take into consideration is the excellent safety features on the vehicle which provide comprehensive protection to all occupants.
If I had to find fault, it would be the over-use of plastic throughout the cabin, but that aside, this vehicle is crammed with first class specifications and all for a price that will keep you on your bank manager’s Christmas card list – a little over £12k.
All in all, the Mazda2 is a great looker, great runner and a very attractive buy for those wanting to look after their pennies and the planet.