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Mazda 2 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.1
The Mazda2 is the favourite small hatch for private buyers. While others have fallen away, the 2 has held firm, its stylish sheetmetal and quality interior setting it apart in its class.

The Mazda2 is the favourite small hatch for the private buyer. While other small hatches have fallen away, the 2 has held firm, its stylish sheetmetal and quality interior setting apart from pretty much every car in its class. It's been in its current shape since 2014, so Mazda has given it a light mid-life spec re-arrangement.

The refresh has not only included a few new goodies and detail improvements, but it's also brought with it a new range-topping GT variant. Sadly, it has not brought a hot or even slightly warm hatch. Still, you can't have everything, especially in a market segment shrinking in favour of small SUV's like the 2's bigger brother, the CX-3. Mazda thinks the 2 can maintain its selling power, though, with the company moving over a thousand a month in 2016, beating the Yaris and only eclipsed by the bargain basement Hyundai Accent.

Mazda 2 2017: Neo
Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency5.5L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$15,880

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

Mazda's 'Kodo' design is very successful in just about any size and shape. The 2 hatch has all the requisite flowing lines and creases, with a more mature look than its perpetually surprised predecessor, which had huge, long headlights that swept up and back into the bodywork.

The sedan almost gets away with it, but not quite. While rather more practical than the hatch (it has a massive boot), the extension on the back is a valiant attempt but, ultimately, looks a bit too high and bustly.

  • 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch 2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch

Not much has changed, with the exception of a few paint colours here and trim selections there. The alloy wheels are the same designs as previously but with a different finish, and the wing mirrors now have indicator repeaters. While there are a few new colours, the only extra-cost colour is still 'Soul Red', a reasonable $300.

Inside has also received some minor changes. The steering wheel is more like the CX-9's, with a smaller airbag boss, better buttons and slimmer vertical spokes to reduce the visual weight. Otherwise, the sleek design of the dashboard with its three circular vents remains, and looks as good as ever.

Irritatingly, the instrument layout also remains but the LCD head-up display (Genki and GT) has been refined and given Audi-like graphics. The dash is still a central speedo with two wings either side housing small LCD displays. Maybe it's a personal thing, but I find this dashboard irritating because there seems to be a lot of wasted space. Mazda has made some improvements to the fonts and detailing on the speedo to try and make it more legible.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

For passengers, almost nothing has changed. The front seats are comfortable, everything is close to hand and tall folks can survive quite happily. The rear seat is still tight for anyone over 150cm tall and is not a three-adults-across proposition unless they're all beanpoles with no hips. There are now under-seat vents for the rear passengers, though, which is a nice touch at this level.

Front seat passengers have two cup holders and a wide deep slot for holding your phone (even the larger format devices fit) and at the rear of the console is a tray for odds and ends. There is also some space underneath the air-con controls for keys or a smaller phone and it's where the 12 volt power outlet and USB ports live.

  • 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Genki Hatch

Boot space in the hatch is the same 250 litres, enough for a modest amount of shopping or a medium-sized suitcase. Go for the sedan and you'll have a gigantic 440 litres to fill, which is just two litres short of the brand new CX-5. Mazda reckons that's two suitcases' worth or two golf bags. Both variants have a 60/40 split rear seat to liberate more space.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

Thanks to a weak-ish Japanese economy and currency, Australian buyers won't have to dig any deeper for their better-equipped Mazda2. Prices haven't moved a single cent for either the hatch or sedan (three quarters of sales go to the hatch), starting at $14,990 for the basic 79kW/139Nm Neo manual.

The range rises through the Maxx, Genki and now the GT (replacing the Genki S Pack option), ending up at a CX-3 - and 3 - threatening $23,680 for the auto. Everything above the Neo gets 81kW/141Nm from the 1.5-litre 'SkyActiv' engine, which at the same time is fitted with 'i-Stop' stop-start technology. Drive-away pricing is here to stay, too - just add $2000 to the MLP (the prices I've listed here).

The 2 is already the riot of the segment, with by far the most interesting driving experience when compared with its Japanese and Korean competition.

The Neo starts you off with 15-inch alloys, power windows and mirrors, four speaker stereo with Bluetooth and USB, air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless start and rear parking sensors, low-speed forward auto emergency braking and Mazda's own G-Vectoring technology to improve steering feel and response.

If that's enough for you, the Neo will cost $14,990 for the six-speed manual and $16,990 for the auto. Spend another $2700 and you'll find yourself in a Maxx ($17,690 manual/$19,690 auto). Added to the Neo's spec are a six-speaker stereo with DAB+, cruise control, leather interior bits like steering wheel, alloy wheels, rear AEB and a reversing camera.

  • 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Maxx Hatch

The reason you've got a reversing camera on the Maxx and up is because the rest of the range comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen running Mazda's really rather good 'MZD Connect.' While it doesn't have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, it does feature Pandora, Stitcher and Aha connectivity. The Maxx offers sat nav as an option and it's standard on the Genki and GT.

Speaking of the Genki, which is only available as a hatchback, you'll pay $20,690 for the manual and $22,690 for the auto. The extra three large gets you machined gunmetal alloys of 16-inches in size, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, climate control, upgraded cloth trim, body-coloured folding mirrors and LED daytime running lights.

As with any Mazda update, there's been plenty of detail work to improve the platform.

Finally, there's the GT. Unlike the Genki, you can get a GT in both hatch and sedan, priced at $21,680 for the manual and $23,680 for the auto. The extra $990 has mostly gone on the interior. Mazda's designers have gone to town with leather and synthetic suede on the seats and a bunch of leather decoration panels on the dash and armrests, complete with classy stitching. These really lift the mood in the otherwise dark cabin and the themes differ between hatch and sedan. The hatch's contrasting colour is white while the sedan's is a rich brown colour.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

The SkyActiv 1.5-litre petrol four comes in two specifications. On the Neo, you'll have 79kW/139Nm to play with and you'll go without i-Stop. Small differences include a belt-driven oil-pump and lower compression ratio.

For the rest of the range, you'll get 81kW/141Nm and i-Stop to cut fuel use in town (although this isn't reflected in the official fuel figures on the automatic).

Power reaches the road through the front wheels, either with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

The official fuel figures on the combined cycle are 4.9L/100km across the range for the automatic and 5.2L/100km for the manual on all but the Neo. Despite less power, the stop-startless Neo manual uses a claimed 5.4L/100km.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

The 2 is already the riot of the segment, with by far the most interesting driving experience when compared with its Japanese and Korean competition. Combining light weight, sharp steering, an enthusiastic engine and two good transmissions, the wee Mazda remains the class leader.

It's still good fun and the manual is even more fun than the auto.

Cars like this are usually a barrel of fun, but when you add in the subtle effects of G Vectoring - where software monitors steering angle and fiddles with the torque to improve steering response and feel - it's even better. The tyres will give up long before you do, but there's still nothing like the 2 in this segment unless you spend another few grand on a Renault Clio or Peugeot 208. And even then...

Passengers will also enjoy the quiet cabin, although the torsion beam rear will keep the rear occupants awake with a bit of clunk thunk over the rough stuff and the ride is fairly firm but not violently so.

  • 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch
  • 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch 2017 Mazda2 Neo Hatch

As with any Mazda update, there's been plenty of detail work to improve the platform. The 2 was never going to get any wholesale changes, because from launch it was one of the quietest hatches on the market, certainly much quieter than the car it replaced. Mazda has deployed more filler and foam to further dampen the noise and added an acoustic windscreen.

Interestingly, one of the noises that has been attended to is the sound of the rear door closing. Until now an unpleasant clang issued from the rear door but with a change in the position of the panel's reinforcement, it's more a thunk than a clang. Jolly good.

As far as the driving goes, again, it's all in the detail. New damper and spring rates and new bushes all conspire to quieten and sharpen the drive, along with the G Vectoring. It's still good fun and the manual is even more fun than the auto.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Mazda2's safety package stands apart in this class, incorporating advanced features found on larger, more expensive cars from other carmakers.

The least you'll find on the 2 is six airbags, ABS, rear parking sensors, traction and stability controls. Even the base model 2 has city auto emergency braking (AEB) and Mazda's G-Vectoring technology. The rear seats feature two ISOFIX and top-tether restraint points.

On the Maxx up you have a reversing camera and reverse AEB and the Genki and GT also score reverse cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.

The 2 scored five ANCAP stars in September 2015, the highest rating available.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Mazda's passenger cars are covered by a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and you can stump up $68.10 or $83.50 per year for roadside assist, depending on how keen you are for a rental car if your 2 is out of action due to a mechanical breakdown.

Mazda also offers fixed-price servicing for the 2 and you're expected to pop in to your local dealer every 12 months or every 10,000km. This regime covers the first five services, with prices alternating between $286 and $314 adding up to $1486 for the whole period.

You'll also need to budget for a brake fluid change every two years/40,000km ($64) and a new cabin filter ($80) every 40,000km.

Verdict

The 2 has recently lost sales momentum, but so has the whole segment. VW Polo sales have halved over the past 12 months and even the Hyundai Accent has run out of steam after a big effort in 2016.

The fact the 2 is still shifting 1000 units a month must be a comfort to Mazda as all its competitors, bar the Yaris, have suffered significant drops.

The updated 2 is hardly a revolution but a steady, workmanlike approach by Mazda to "shatter all notions of class to keep Mazda2 the world’s most appealing sub-compact car" should keep things motoring along. The level of safety equipment should go some way to notion-shattering.

It's a close run thing, but the Maxx remains the best of an already impressive Mazda2 line-up. It is a significant extra chunk of money over the Neo, but the addition of MZD Connect and the reversing camera with reverse AEB seals the deal.

The 2 has by far the best safety package of its segment and probably the best interior. Add to that its sparkling chassis, plus a decent level of tech (once you're in the Maxx), and it's a compelling proposition if you can resist the switch to a small SUV. You'll save yourself a fortune if you can.

Do you still prefer a hatchback to a small SUV? Or is the pull of the high rider too great for you to consider a trad hatch? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$15,999
Based on 65 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$12,490
Highest Price
$21,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Genki 1.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $15,990 – 21,888 2017 MAZDA 2 2017 Genki Pricing and Specs
GT 1.5L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $17,490 – 17,500 2017 MAZDA 2 2017 GT Pricing and Specs
Maxx 1.5L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $15,930 – 15,995 2017 MAZDA 2 2017 Maxx Pricing and Specs
Neo 1.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $15,880 – 15,999 2017 MAZDA 2 2017 Neo Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.1
Design7
Practicality7
Price and features7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Driving7
Safety8
Ownership7
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$10,990

Lowest price, based on 42 car listings in the last 6 months

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