Mazda 2 review 2013
Mazda’s supermini offering in Europe before the 2 was originally badged 121. The small cars that were sold under that name were a disparate bunch, including the bubble-shaped model launched in 1991 and the 1996 model which was a badge-engineered version of the oval-face Ford Fiesta. It was only with the current model that Mazda got really serious about breaking into the important European supermini market.
Introduced in late 2007, the Mazda 2, a sister car to the current Ford Fiesta, reversed a 15-year trend towards bigger, heavier superminis. It was about 10cm shorter than the then-current new crop of hatchbacks such as the Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 207, Renault Clio and Fiat Punto, without seeming to pay any significant penalty in reduced interior packaging, beyond conceding some boot space and a couple of centimetres of rear headroom.
The 2 also took an early lead on Mazda’s new engineering direction, which requires future models to be ever lighter and more fuel efficient. Its platform was engineered by Mazda and also used by Ford. At the time of its development, Ford owned a significant stake in Mazda.
With a kerb weight of around 960kg, the Mazda 2 is around 60kg lighter than the model it replaced, and up to 190kg lighter than the heaviest of its contemporaries. Mazda’s engineers went to great efforts to shave the weight back when developing the 2. Shortening the rear suspension’s trailing arms saved 13kg, the radio speaker magnets are smaller and the wiring loom shorter, which alone saved nearly 3kg.
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.
It’s probably true to say that the engines are, overall, slightly less refined than in rival models such as the VW Polo or mechanically similar 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.
Source : Mazda