The Mazda2 is the smallest vehicle in the Mazda range, and recently celebrated its 21st
year on the Australian market.

The current (third generation) Mazda2 has been on sale since 2014 with upgrades in 2019
and June this year.

The demand for small city cars like the Mazda2 has been dwindling in recent years with so
many SUV alternatives becoming available. Unlike its few remaining competitors in the
circa 4.0-metre field such as Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio, Hyundai i20 and Suzuki Swift the
Mazda3 comes with the option of a sedan body.

There are four variants, in ascending order: Pure, Pure SP, Evolve and GT. The entry-
level Pure and top spec GT get the choice of sedan or hatchback. Pure SP and Evolve
hatch only.

The Pure hatchback is the only variant to be available with a six-speed manual gearbox,
all others have a six-speed automatic. Our test vehicle was the mid-range Evolve hatch.

The 2023 upgrade brought a new fascia with a new black or body colour grille and a
sleeker bumper design that creates a streamlined new look. All Mazda2 hatchbacks also
sport an asymmetrically placed colour accent on the front grille and rear bumper.

Hatchback variants, as well as the top-of-the-line GT sedan, get a redesigned rear
bumper, which accentuates the two body styles’ profiles.

Two new exterior colours – Aero Grey Metallic and Airstream Blue Metallic – join the
previous seven nine options. The Pure SP also gets a black film covering for the roof.

All grades above Pure come with a streamlined ‘shark fin’ antenna.

The GT takes it to another level with an all-new, aero-inspired multi-spoke alloy wheel
design and polished, dual exhaust tips.

Turn signals are mounted on the front of the door mirrors and wrap around the outside
edges, improving visibility for other road users. The mirrors automatically fold inwards
when the key is used to lock the car, making it easy to see that the doors are locked by
glancing at the mirror position.

Mazda2, is quite spacious for a car in its class as its relatively tall body provides decent
space in the cabin. It can used as a small family car and the kids are in their preteen
years. Though in Australia it mostly sells to singles and couples.

The Pure and Pure SP variants come with three coloured dash trim pieces finished in Pure
White, Mirror Black or Mint, matching the car’s external paint scheme.

GT adds and partial leather seats and a red and black dashboard.

The rear seat is obviously tight for legroom but has good headroom and a comfortable
bench, but almost no storage.

The rear seatbacks fold to increase cargo carrying capacity from 250 litres in the hatch.
And with just one side of the 60:40 division dropped will take a golf bag or similar long
load. The sedan has a boot capacity of 440 litres.

The Mazda2 was last tested by ANCAP in 2015 when it achieved the maximum 5-stars
rating. That rating has now lapsed because of the amount of time that has passed and
with the new tougher test procedures and, the absence of advanced autonomous
emergency braking, it would not achieve that score.

Nevertheless, standard safety features across the Mazad2 range are good and include
five airbags, blind sport monitoring, hill launch assist, lane departure warning, lane keep
assist, rear cross-traffic alert, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, forward and rear
collision monitoring/braking and Isofix child seat anchors points.

Evolve and GT add traffic sign recognition while GT also comes with a 360-degree
monitor, advanced keyless entry and front parking sensors.

All models come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen located at the top centre of the dashboard
but also controllable with a round control knob in the centre console.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both wired, there are two USB-A ports at the base of
the dashboard.

Satellite navigation is only available in the Evolve and GT models.

There’s surprisingly good space in the Mazda2, with ample head and shoulder room for
the average-size occupants in front, while rear leg room is adequate.

Instruments are clear and easy to read with nice large rotary dials for the aircon and a
smaller one for the audio. These, together with a head-up display, maximise the amount of
time that drivers spend looking at the road ahead.

The ride was a bit bumpy and noisy on some uneven road surfaces. The car handled
confidently without suspension trauma. Parking, with the aid of the reversing camera and
its guidelines, was a doddle with such a small car.

On the motorway it kept up with the high-speed traffic although it needed plenty of revs on
the long uphill runs of the M1 north of Sydney.

The big surprise was how much driving enjoyment the little car provided when he took it
over our normal route through the Central Coast hinterland. No suggestion of it being a hot
hatch but certainly warm enough to bring a smile to our face, especially when we switched
over to the Sport mode.

The low mass results in a good power to weight ratio and a well-matched transmission.

Roadholding, steering and engine response are all very good

Mazda claims 5.3 litres per 100 kilometres for fuel consumption on the combined urban /
highway cycle. Our test car came up with 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the daily city
commute and an efficient 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres on motorway runs.

As with the entire Mazda range the ‘2’ comes with a five-year, unlimited kilometre standard

Although it’s showing its age, the little Mazda2 is an excellent urban car. It’s easy to
manoeuvre and park in tight spaces and quite a bit of fun to drive out on the open road.

With prices starting at under $22,700 (plus on-roads), cheap running costs and good
safety features it would make an ideal starting car for young drivers.

Cheap and cheerful indeed.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 7.5/10
Safety: 8.5/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 7/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 8.5/10


Pure 1.5-litre five-door hatch: $22,720 (manual), $24,720 (automatic)
GT 1.5-litre four-door sedan: $27,920 (automatic)
Pure SP 1.5-litre five-door hatch: $25,520 (automatic)
Evolve 1.5-litre five-door hatch: $26,220 (automatic)
GT 1.5-litre five-door hatch: $27,920 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Mazda2 Evolve 1.5-litre petrol five-door hatchback)

Capacity: 1.496 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 81 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 141 Nm @ 4000 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.3 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: Not supplied

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic

Length: 4085 mm
Wheelbase: 2570 mm
Width: 1695 mm
Height: 1495 mm
Turning Circle: 9.8 metres
Kerb Mass: 1109 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 44 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Drum

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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