Mazda2 Neo automatic review

Vlad Manu in 

CarsGuide ·

18 February 2013

Mazda2 Neo automatic review
The Mazda2 Neo has good levels of grip and it's agile on the road.

Expert Rating

Price

From $ 17,440

What we like

  • Steering is precise and light

  • Reasonably smooth engine performance

What we don't like

  • Automatic transmission only has 4 gears

  • Starting to show its age aesthetically compared to some rivals

This popular small Mazda2 arrived here in 2007 and with some small revisions over the years it is still mixing it up with the newer cars in the light car segment. With its introduction, Mazda signalled their intent to concentrate on reducing weight and size but at the same time maintain interior space and increasing quality. As a result nearly six years on it’s still among today's best sellers.

VALUE

Prices start from $15,790 for the Neo manual while  the automatic version we tested pushes the price to start from $17,440. When compared to its main rival, the Ford Fiesta sister car which it shares the platform with, the main sticking point is that this automatic transmission only comes with a 4-speed box compared to the Fiesta’s 6-speed dual clutch.

There’s no Bluetooth connectivity for phone or audio streaming and the audio quality is just acceptable. The facelifted DE Series 2 added additional airbags and a multi function steering wheel with audio controls while the MY13 model introduced in 2012 also added a much needed AUX audio input and USB socket.

TECHNOLOGY

The engine is a 1.5-litre petrol which produces 76kW and 135Nm and delivers reasonably smooth performance. Fuel consumption is quoted at 6.8L/100km for the combined cycle but expect figures to be closer to 9L/100km if you’re doing predominately urban driving like we did.

The automatic is decent enough for a unit with only four gears with smooth changes but if you spend your time closer to the highway speed limit prepare for a bit of extra revving noise. It’s fair to say the lower number of gears make the auto better suited to driving around town.

DESIGN

Despite this model being around for a few years it still manages to look better than some of its rivals. There’s a strong design language at Mazda and that flows through to even their entry level models.

The interior might be trailing some European competitors in terms of material quality but it’s tight and well put together. The boot is average in size but strangely it seems a little smaller than the Ford Fiesta sister car.

SAFETY

The Mazda2 gets a five star ANCAP safety rating and features include stability and traction control as well as six airbags standard. There are only drum brakes on the rear but the absence of disc brakes is not noticeable due to the size of the car and the fact that they perform satisfactorily.

DRIVING

It has good levels of grip and it’s agile on the road. The steering is precise and light and that helps to make the parking and manoeuvring into tight spaces nice and easy.

Engine specifications might not sounds like much but the car weighs only 1032kg so its performance and handling are reasonable for this type of car. Ride is a little firm and easily unsettled by potholes.

 

VERDICT 

It might be beginning to show its age but it’s a solid, well put together package and when combined with Mazda’s strong record for reliability and resale value, it still makes for a serious contender in the segment.

Specifications

Price: From $17,440
Engine: 1.5-litre 4 cylinder-cyl petrol, 76kW/135Nm
Transmission: 4-speed auto
Thirst: 6.8L/100kmL/100km, 162g/km CO2
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Written by

Vlad Manu

Vlad is obsessed with hot hatches, technology in any form, and car detailing ...

Published 18 February 2013

Published In

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