Mazda 2 Review 2024

Mazda 2 At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Mazda 2 is a left-field alternative to popular small cars like the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza. It looks pretty stylish, is good to drive and has an impressive interior – especially in pricier trim levels. On the flip side, it's showing its age in some ways (namely refinement), while its compact dimensions mean it's not the most spacious of hatchbacks.

+Attractive small car that'll be cheap to run. Lots of standard equipment. Easy and fun to drive.

-Refinement isn't as impressive as newer alternatives. Some flimsy interior finishes.

New prices start from £12,145, brokers can source from £16,624
Insurance Groups are between 11–20
On average it achieves 91% of the official MPG figure

The Mazda 2 is an affordable little car that lives in the shadows of rivals like the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Toyota Yaris. And while it's starting to show its age in some areas, recent updates and an impressive amount of standard equipment mean it remains one of the most likeable small hatchbacks you can buy today.

Like its bigger siblings, the Mazda 2 surprises in how fun it is to drive. Much like a Ford Fiesta, it feels agile both in and out of town, with sharp steering and a very slick six-speed manual gearbox.

In typical Mazda fashion, the 2 takes a stand against the trend for tiny, turbocharged petrol engines. Instead, it's available exclusively with a 1.5-litre petrol engine available with a variety of power outputs (75PS, 90PS and 115PS).

We've sampled the most powerful engine, which comes with mild-hybrid technology (badged the e-Skyactiv G). It's certainly revvy enough for most drivers - and efficient, too, officially capable of up to 56.5mpg. Aside from a small economy boost, the mild-hybrid setup makes little difference in day-to-day driving - consider the new Yaris-based Mazda 2 Hybrid if that's what you're after.

The Mazda 2's cabin feels modern and stylish, while equipment on our high-spec GT Sport Tech test car is more akin to what you'd expect on bigger, more expensive cars. Standard equipment includes a 360-degree camera, adaptive LED headlights and a blind spot monitoring system. Even the mid-spec Mazda 2 GT Sport gets heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel and a head-up display.

There are some negatives. Some of the interior finishes feel a bit flimsy, while we've had a few reports of rattles developing as the Mazda 2 gets older. If you're buying a used example, it's worth listening out for these on the test drive.

Also, even with the six-speed gearbox, the Mazda 2 isn't the most refined at motorway speeds. You'll notice quite a lot of engine, wind and road noise at 70mph. That used to be acceptable in small cars meant for the city streets, but rivals like the Volkswagen Polo do a much bigger impression of a bigger car.

Don't let these put you off, though. Not only do we think the Mazda 2 remains one of the most stylish small cars on sale, it's also fun to drive and loaded with equipment. 

Looking for a second opinion? Read a Mazda 2 review on heycar

Ask Honest John

What is the most reliable small automatic used car?

"I am looking to buy a small automatic used car (petrol). Budget of up to £9000 but ideally looking at something in the £5000 to £6000 range. Will be using it mainly for short city journeys and the odd longer trip on the motorway. My key concern is reliability (and I'm prepared to spend towards the top end of my budget for this). Based on other posts on this site I have been trying to focus on traditional torque converter automatics so looking at a 2016 Hyundai i10, but I'm open to other cars. What would you recommend?"
The Hyundai i10 is a good choice, as the first and second generation i10s use a torque converter automatic and have a good reliability record. Similarly the larger i20 offers similar attributes in a larger package, although it is worth noting that the 2014-on second generation i20 uses a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission when paired with the 1.0-litre T-GDi engine and a four-speed torque converter when matched to the 1.4-litre petrol. Alternatives include the Mazda 2, Kia Picanto and the 2012-on Dacia Sandero, all of which offer torque converter automatics, have a good reliability record and are well within your budget.
Answered by David Ross

I need a small reliable automatic with a torque converter gearbox, what are my options?

"My wife's Honda Jazz 2012 model needs a new or secondhand gearbox, so I am looking to see what automatic we can buy for around £6500 that will be reliable and a torque convertor auto gearbox What would you recommend should we bite the bullet and replace the Honda?"
If you are looking to replace your Jazz with a similarly-sized car, the issue you will find is that most cars of this size use either a dual-clutch gearbox or a CVT. There are a few exceptions however, such as the 2014-2019 Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 petrol automatic and the 2015-2019 Mazda 2 automatic, which both use a torque converter automatic.
Answered by David Ross

What's the best small petrol car?

"I am looking for a petrol engined small car but preferably not a 3 cylinder and bigger than 1.0-litre (maybe 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre). I have spent hours looking but many new cars only have have hybrid options. Any suggestions?"
How about a Mazda 2? Mazda talks about 'rightsizing' - having the optimal engine size for a car rather than chasing economy with small-capacity turbocharged engines. As such, the Mazda 2 uses a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, now helped with a small degree of mild-hybrid electrical assistance. Alternatively, consider a Skoda Fabia with the 1.5 TSI petrol engine.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Can you recommend a car for a £11,000 budget?

"I am desperately trying to make a decision on a car to buy. I have a £10,000/£11,000 budget and have narrowed my choice down to the Honda Jazz, Mazda 2, Skoda Rapid, Toyota Yaris, Kia Ceed and Hyundai i20. I mainly drive in traffic in London but will be doing the occasional very long drive (to France) with a 6ft teen and my 9 year old daughter so I need decent space and also something that can cope on motorways and isn't going to rattle around. I want a reliable car that's not going to be a money pit. Ideally, still newish (max reg 2018). Ideally I'd like parking sensors, sat-nav etc. I've sat/tried all the cars apart from the Hyundai. I really liked the Mazda, it felt quite plush, well-equipped but the boot is quite small and space at the back isn't amazing. I liked the Jazz but I thought it felt rattly and really basic. The Yaris also felt cheap and plasticky. "
The Mazda 2's a great little car but smaller than others on your list – it probably comes down to whether you're willing to compromise on space to get a newer, more generously equipped car. How about a Mazda 3? You'll be looking at an older example for the money but they're generally very reliable and it sounds like it could be ideal for your needs. You should be able to find the latest (2017 on) Hyundai i30 in budget – that would be a good alternative.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Mazda 2 cost?

Buy new from £16,624(list price from £18,615)