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Mazda2 Neo automatic review

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

Vlad Manu road tests and reviews the Mazda2 Neo, with specs, fuel economy and verdict.

Mazda2 Neo automatic 3.5

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.


Mazda2 Neo automatic

Price: from $17,440
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder, 76kW/135Nm
Transmission: four-speed auto, FWD
Economy: 6.8-litres/100km, CO2 162 g/km


RIVALS

Toyota Yaris - see other verdicts
Price: from $16,590 (auto)
Engine: 1.3L four-cylinder, 63kW/121Nm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, FWD
Thirst: 6.3L/100km, 147g/km CO2




 

Kia Rio - see other verdicts
Price: from $17,290 (auto)
Engine: 1.4L four-cylinder, 79kW/135Nm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, FWD
Thirst: 6.3L/100km, 150g/km CO2




 

Opel Corsa - see other verdicts
Price: from $20,490 (auto)
Engine: 1.4L four-cylinder, 74kW/130Nm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, FWD
Thirst: 6.3L/100km, 147g/km CO2






Fiesta CLFord Fiesta - see other verdicts
Price: from $17,490 (auto)
Engine: 1.6L four-cylinder, 89 kW/151Nm
Transmission: 6 speed automatic dual clutch, FWD
Thirst: 6.1L/100, 146g/km CO2

second opinion
 


 

barina imageHolden Barina - see other verdicts
Price: from $17,990 (auto)
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder, 85kW/155Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, FWD
Thirst: 6.7L/100Km





 

Suzuki Swift - see other verdicts
Price: from $17,990 (auto)
Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cylinder, 70kW/130Nm
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, FWD
Thirst: 5.5L/100Km, 147 g/km CO2




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Comments on this story

Displaying 2 of 2 comments

  • I have a 2012 Mazda2 Neo.  It has some good points but also some bad points. 
    The Good: It is stylish, smooth to drive, bad ride comfort is not bad, it handles very well & tracks nicely on the freeway, seems well put together by the Thais.
    The Bad:  That stylish sloping windscreen makes getting in without bumping your head harder than it should be.  The rear hatch opening is too high & too narrow making it harder to use.  Interior trim is all hard plastic, no nice cloth inserts in the doors etc.  The glovebox is maybe the worst I have ever seen (really).  There are almost no storage spaces and not not even a net behind the rear seats.  The carpet is cheap-looking.  The engine is ok but the auto box makes you mash the carpet to get a downchange which is annoying on the freeway.

    My other car is a 2003 Sirion GTVi.  It has better interior quality, can take more luggage, has endless in-cabin storage, a nice sequential tiptronic style gearbox, uses less petrol & will leave the Mazda2 eating dust.  I don’t recommend you buy a Mazda2 until you check it against my list and decide you are happy with it.

    Brian Shoebridge of Canberra Posted on 18 January 2014 2:50am
  • mazda 2 , before you buy ask if that auto is noisey at 60 or 100 klms,is normal. than go form a test drive if the noise is there, you will most likely find it will develope louder as the car has more mileage. mazda tell me this is normal, but did not tell me.

    w baker of tweed heads Posted on 31 July 2013 11:31pm

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