Mazda 2 Review 2022

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 £16,360
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

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
Is it time to dispose of my car?
"I have a 2011 Mazda 2 TS2 which has covered only 29,000 miles. I have owned it since 2014 and am the second owner. I recently had it serviced by a Mazda specialist who I know and trust. He recommended Dinitrol treatment at a cost of £350 if I was going to keep the car otherwise I would have corrosion problems underneath e.g. to the rear chassis. The MoT is due in January and I think it will pass but I am reluctant to spend £350 in this way on a 10-year old car. We can afford to change it for something newer and have mainly bought low-mileage cars or demonstrators in the past. Online valuations vary between approx. £1,600 and £3,000. The car runs well, has a new Varta battery and good tyres. There are one or two dents - should I have these rectified before selling or trading? What would you recommend as a replacement? Prior to owning the Mazda we ran a Skoda Fabia 1.2 HTP and a couple of Volkswagen Polos. I have looked online so far at Skoda Fabias, SEAT Ibizas and the smaller Skoda Citigo, SEAT Mii and Volkswagen Up. I have also looked at Suzuki and Toyota (Yaris). I won't buy anything French. Used prices have "gone through the roof" it appears. I would not want to spend more than £12,000 (less whatever I receive in part exchange or by selling privately). We own two other cars - a 2011 Mazda MX-5 2.0 SE Roadster Coupe and a Skoda Yeti 1.2TSI SEL. We are both in our 70s and don't do much mileage in any of the cars. If only we could buy a small car with the handling of the MX-5! "
A shortage in new cars means used car prices are inflated at the moment. As you've found, this means you might be surprised by your Mazda's value. It also means a replacement might be more expensive than it would be otherwise. If you really want to cash in on the current situation, perhaps you could sell the Mazda 2 now and use one of your other cars until prices of newer models drop? It's difficult to say when this will be, however. It certainly sounds like a good time to sell your Mazda if a specialist is warning you of rust issues. Don't bother repairing dents – no one expects perfect bodywork on a car of this age. As a replacement, take a look at a Ford Fiesta. It handles very well (if not quite as well as your MX-5) while there are lots available on the used market. We'd also recommend the latest Volkswagen Polo. If you like Mazdas, the current Mazda 2 is well worth a look, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best nearly new car for around £7000?
"I'm looking to purchase a car for £7000 - £8000 and was wondering what models you think would be best to look at in terms of reliability? I'm looking for something with around 30,000 to 40,000 miles on it, preferably under three years old, and can be new or used. For example I found a pre-reg Kia Picanto 2019 model for £7500, but then if you look into the used market there are Kia Ceed's going for around £8500, used of course with around 30k miles on them. I'm really interested in Japanese cars, but don't know where to start when it comes to shopping with those. I'm looking to run this car into the ground so the newer the better so I know all the maintenance has been done well and the car has been looked after, which is why buying new (pre-reg) is tempting. I'd really appreciate some advice from you."
It probably comes down to how much space you need and what kind of driving you do. If you cover quite a lot of miles or need a big boot, something the size of the Kia Ceed would be the best option. If you only use your car for short journeys and only carry one or two people, look for something smaller and newer like the Picanto. A nearly-new Kia Picanto would be a great little car and it'll come with the remainder of Kia's seven-year warranty. Small Japanese cars like the Toyota Aygo and Mazda 2 aren't as good as the Picanto. The Honda Jazz is a bit bigger but could be a good option - it's very reliable and ultra practical.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best convertible, in your opinion?
"I'm looking for a convertible for a second car. I already own a 2009 Mazda 2, which is nippy enough for town but lacks acceleration for overtaking and for motorways. My dad likes the Mercedes-Benz SLK two seater convertible, but I'm not sold. I would prefer something like a Z4. Please let me know what your top choice would be."
If you're looking for a two-seater convertible, we'd recommend a Mazda MX-5. They're more fun to drive than the SLK and Z4, and cheaper to run. It's a really good (safe) introduction to rear-wheel-drive cars, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Mazda 2 cost?