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Used Mazda 2 review: 2002-2016

EXPERT RATING
8
Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2016 Mazda 2 as a used buy. While the Mazda 3 and CX-3 have been grabbing all the headlines in the sales race, the smallest model of all, the little Mazda 2 hatchback has been quietly working away in the background and keeping its end up. The Mazda2 is quite

Ewan Kennedy road tests and reviews the 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2016 Mazda 2 as a used buy.

While the Mazda 3 and CX-3 have been grabbing all the headlines in the sales race, the smallest model of all, the little Mazda 2 hatchback has been quietly working away in the background and keeping its end up.

The Mazda2 is quite spacious for a small car because its relatively tall body allows good headroom. It can work as a small family car if you are downsizing and the kids are in their preteen years, though it mostly sells to singles and couples. 

The great majority of Mazda2 bodies in Australia are five-door hatches, three-door models were sold as price leaders but were never popular. A four-door sedan was launched in 2010 but lasted on the new-car market for less than a year, only to be reintroduced midway through 2015.

Build quality is very good inside and out. Most are made in Japan, a few came from Thailand, where quality was kept under control by Mazda on-site staff.

Mazda2 is generally used as a city car, so shop around for one that hasn’t been thrashed around in the rush and bustle of constant traffic.

A direct descendant of the Mazda 121 bubble car and 121 Metro, the Mazda2 reached Australia in December 2002. It began as a somewhat boxy looking car that sacrificed fashion in the interests of function, so didn’t grab as much attention with buyers as it deserved.

A major rework of the ‘2, sold from June 2005, kept the same body style, but smoothed it out a little and buyer interest increased. It also featured a big push on safety with the body strengthened and dual airbags now standard across the range. The top model, the Genki has six airbags, and the extra airbags were optional on the others in the range. Quite a few buyers took up that option.

Using the very successful Kodo shape, the new ‘2 further lifted the company’s status in buyers’ minds.

Things changed on the fashion front with the second generation Mazda2. It reached us in September 2007. While still having a relatively tall body it was significantly more attractive and moved up the in sales race. Cars from this time are the ones to aim for if your budget is up to it. There are plenty on the market at any time.

Style became the byword with the launch of a new generation Mazda2 in November 2014. Using the very successful Kodo shape, the new ‘2 further lifted the company’s status in buyers’ minds. Some of these are starting to appear on the used-car scene but it’s rather early to compile details on how they are progressing. Not that we anticipate troubles.

All Mazda2 models sold in Australia have a four-cylinder 1.5-litre engine. It performs reasonably well and is economical unless pushed too hard. The 2005 facelift saw changes to the engine to fatten out its torque curve. In an interesting move the engine was offered in two states of tune with the gen-three of 2014; a lower powered unit on the cheapest model, and a bit more get-up-and-go on the expensive ones. It’s still no powerhouse, though.

Noise levels are usually low but rough roads can increase in-cabin sound quite noticeably, as can concrete surfaces on some motorways. On our ‘home’ motorway, the M1 between the Gold Coast and Brisbane the noise became quite tiring. Road grip is high and the smallest Mazda feels stable and comfortable under normal conditions.

The underbonnet area is reasonably spacious and a good home handyperson can do routine servicing. Safety items must be left to the professionals. Having a workshop manual on hand when you do your own work makes life easier.

Insurance rates are generally low. For some reason there seems to be a bigger spread than normal between companies so it’s worth shopping around for the best deal. As always make sure you’re comparing apples with apples.

What to look for

During your test drive feel for hesitation in the engine, particularly when it’s asked to accelerate suddenly.

An engine that’s rough at idle may have problems. Call in a professional if there’s any doubt.

Make sure the brakes pull the car up firmly in a straight line and that the ABS system, if fitted, comes in under high pedal pressures. The pulsing through the pedal under ABS should be strong and there should be no locking of any of the wheels.

Check for signs of body damage or crash repairs. Viewing the car in good light you should be able to see if the paint doesn’t match from panel to panel.

Paint overspray on windows, mirrors, badges and other unpainted areas is another sign the car has spent time in a panel beaters.

Look at the interior trim and the lining of the luggage area for tears or stains.

Listen for rattles and squeaks inside the cabin by test driving on rough roads. The latter aren’t common so may indicate a Mazda2 has led a harsh life.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2016 $8,360 $16,830
2015 $7,810 $15,620
2014 $6,710 $14,080
2013 $6,050 $11,880
2012 $4,950 $10,120
2011 $3,850 $8,800
2010 $3,190 $6,930
2009 $3,080 $6,380
2008 $2,860 $5,940
2007 $2,420 $5,940
2006 $2,200 $5,500
2005 $2,200 $5,170
2004 $2,420 $4,950
2003 $2,640 $4,950
2002 $2,530 $4,620

View all Mazda 2 pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$3,575
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$2,530
Highest Price
$4,620

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Genki 1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,860 – 4,510 2002 Mazda 2 2002 Genki Pricing and Specs
Maxx 1.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,530 – 3,960 2002 Mazda 2 2002 Maxx Pricing and Specs
Neo 1.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,640 – 4,070 2002 Mazda 2 2002 Neo Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8