Driving

Mazda 2 review

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Mazda 2
Review continues below...
5 Jan 2016 11:39 | Last updated: 21 Aug 2018 15:01

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Mazda 2 hatchback performance

Mazda 2 buyers can choose from three 1.5-litre petrol engines. The mid-range 89bhp petrol engine under the bonnet of the 90PS Skyactiv-G is likely to be the best seller, and feels sprightly enough for town and motorway use if you keep the revs high.

We’re yet to try the entry-level 74bhp version, and the higher-powered 113bhp version doesn’t feel dramatically more powerful yet costs more to buy and run. Unlike a lot of small petrol engines, all three have no turbocharger to rely on. We’re also yet to the try the automatic gearbox, available exclusively with the 89bhp petrol.

Mazda 2 hatchback ride

The Mazda 2’s wheel sizes range from 15 to 16in and for the most comfortable ride, it’s best to stick with the smaller rims. Whichever you go for, though, the Mazda is firmer than most small cars.

That’s good news for body control over large bumps such as speed bumps and undulating surfaces, but when it comes to sharp-edge potholes and high-frequency abrasions such as broken Tarmac, it does tent to jostle the occupants about it a bit. Even so, it’s never bad enough be uncomfortable.

Mazda 2

Mazda 2 hatchback handling

The Mazda 2’s handling is safe and dependable, making the car closer in character to the VW Polo, rather than the more entertaining Ford Fiesta. Mazda’s G-Vectoring control is standard and shuffles power between the front wheels in order to improve handling and comfort, but it’s undetectable. To be fair, that’s exactly how Mazda intended it to be.

Ultimately, the 2’s steering is accurate enough and consistent, and the body stays largely stable around corners, but you wouldn’t describe the 2 as being fun to drive. Ultimately, it just doesn’t feel particularly engaging, a feeling exacerbated by steering that never offers much communication.

Mazda 2 hatchback refinement

Low-speed tyre and wind noise are perfectly acceptable for a small car, but the 1.5-litre petrol engine sounds coarse when you rev it. This means it’s pretty buzzy anywhere out of town and can make long journeys tiring. There are a few vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals, too. That said, there’s a fair amount of wind noise from around the door mirrors at motorway speeds, but the engines are more hushed at more sensible cruising revs. A Volkswagen Polo is a more relaxed place to spend a long journey.

 

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