Though the supermini has received several substantial updates since it was first launched, the Mazda2 has in terms of sales at least stayed largely in the shadows of more popular rival choices including most noticeably the Ford Fiesta and the Vauxhall Corsa.
Nevertheless the Mazda2 continues to be pushed on the UK market as a serious alternative to the more firmly established hatchback options.
When making a closer analysis and comparison though, does the Mazda2 hold up to its many challengers, particularly established names like the Fiesta and Corsa, and against recently launched offerings like the Peugeot 208?
Fortunately for the Mazda2, which is offered in three or five-door bodystyles, the supermini does in fact have a reasonable case for it to claim to be one of the best superminis in its category.
Prices for the Mazda2 range are certainly affordable, starting from £10,495. This is slightly more than some of the Mazda2’s illustrious rivals, for instance the Ford Fiesta currently starts from £9,795, while the Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208 are priced from £9,495 and £9,995 respectively.
Still the Mazda2 is far from being the most expensive new supermini on the market. The range-topping model in the Mazda2 line-up is in fact cheaper than many equivalent models from rivals, as it goes up to £13,495.
For the money invested in a Mazda2, you get a supermini which still looks trendy and stylish today even though it is one of the older superminis amongst the UK new car market.
At the front, the Mazda2 sports sharp, narrow headlamps and a steeply-sloping bonnet merging into a large windscreen and a sloping roof which gives the shell of the car an almost coupe-lie appearance.
Viewing the back and you’ll see the Mazda2 has large bulbous headlamps and a practical rear window that should provide plenty of visibility to the driver inside, a benefit not actually commonplace amongst modern superminis.
The Mazda2 is actually built on the same chassis as one of its rivals, the Ford Fiesta, and shares many other components along with it. Between them however the Mazda2 is actually 60kg lighter and this sort of procedure benefits drivers by making the car easier to handle to a certain extent and shorten braking distances.
The weight-saving procedure will also benefit running costs as the car will require less fuel to move it along and reduce CO2 emissions at the same time as well.
On the road the Mazda2 is undoubtedly a sharp handling vehicle and easy to drive. Turn the wheel and you’ll find the car responds instantaneously and without any issues with body roll.
Responsive and nippy, the car offers a fun and grippy drive that you can throw around corners with confidence. In fact, as a city run-around there are very few cars that can hold a candle to the Mazda2. However, take it onto the motorway and the Mazda2 can begin to show some limitations.
Mazda2 models made since 2010 feature an upgraded suspension package in 2010 to give the car a noticeably more comforting driver than older models. Though maybe not quite as smooth or as refined as some of its most recent emerged rivals, the Mazda2 ride is unlikely to prove an issue.
Overall the Mazda2 is a good car to drive and the positives outweigh the negatives. There is even a decent choice of engines including the brand’s new ‘Skyactiv’ technology, which focuses on delivering frugal and efficient engines and powertrains.
Diesel models can now achieve 85mpg and sub-100g/km of CO2 emissions, enough to qualify for zero road tax, while petrol options are not far behind.
This engine refresh introduced back in 2012 allows the Mazda2 to compete with some of the highly frugal supermini rivals out their, like the Fiesta Ecoboost range. This and other rival supermini models like the Corsa Ecoflex range, and the Peugeot 208 e-HDi diesel, are all also capable of delivering CO2 emissions of just 99g/km or less.
Mazda has made a smart move in adding touches of chrome, soft-touch plastics and silver highlights to the dashboard to give the car a more premium feel and this should be reflected in residual values.
The generous standard equipment list for the Mazda2 includes MP3 connectivity, electric front windows, plus rear electric windows for five-door models and also air conditioning.
Whilst coming well stocked, the sporty premium profile of the Mazda2 does take away some of the practical elements of the small hatchback. Rear seats will likely prove cramped for adult-size passengers, while the boot offers 250-litres of load space when the rear seats are up.
This is less than the 295 litres offered in the Ford Fiesta, or the 285 litres found in the Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208. However, this will matter less to those who just want a good vehicle to driven, and the Mazda2 can prove to be fun to drive.
It should also offer owners the appeal of excellent resale values and low insurance rates. The Mazda2 certainly delivers all the plus point you’d expect to find from a modern small car.
Whilst its age leads it to be a little behind popular rivals in some areas, the Mazda2 is still an affordable, very driveable and easy to live with choice of motoring. The hatchback comes recommended whether you are a young first-time buyer or even a more experienced driver looking for a suitable everyday car, particularly for hitting the city.
The Mazda2 is available now from Perrys Mazda Dealerships based in Barnsley, Blackburn, Huddersfield, Portsmouth and Preston.