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Mazda2 Maxx sedan 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.4
Sedan versions of the ubiquitous hatchback are often overlooked by Australian buyers. We decided to test the Mazda2's Maxx sedan to see if it is better than cars smaller and bigger than itself.

Sedan versions of the ubiquitous hatchback are quite often overlooked by Australian buyers, and it's even more true when it comes to the smaller side of the passenger car spectrum. In fact, companies like Toyota, Mitsubishi and Ford have all deleted sedan versions of their smallest cars.

So why are some manufacturers persisting with what is admittedly a niche segment? We decided to test the sedan version of Mazda's popular Mazda2 Maxx to see if it is indeed better than cars smaller and bigger than itself.

Mazda 2 2017: Maxx
Safety rating
Engine Type1.5L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency4.9L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$14,690

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The Mazda2 sedan takes some of the hatch's curvaceous, flirty style away, although it is still quite overtly designed, especially around the front and through the roofline.

The Mazda2 sedan takes some of the hatch's curvaceous, flirty style away. (Image credit: Tim Robson) The Mazda2 sedan takes some of the hatch's curvaceous, flirty style away. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

It's very high-waisted, as well, with quite narrow windows, which makes the car seem bigger than it really is. For the record, it’s 260mm longer than the hatch, a whisker lower and the same width.

The dash controls are elegantly simple to use in their monochromatic design with two small screens either side of a central speedo. Unfortunately, there is no digital version of the speedometer. 

Even elements the circular air vents with their piano black surrounds, as well as the faux carbon strip through the centre, bring the interior feel up a notch. It's quite a simple and pleasant space in which to work.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The sheer amount of room a larger driver can find behind the wheel with height and reach adjust on the steering wheel itself, even for 185cm drivers, is astounding. There's no problem finding a good compromise behind the wheel of the Mazda2 sedan. It's a similar story for the passenger space, too, with plenty of legroom available.

Mazda's 1.5-litre four-cylinder 'SkyActiv' petrol engine comes standard with the Maxx. (Image credit: Tim Robson) Mazda's 1.5-litre four-cylinder 'SkyActiv' petrol engine comes standard with the Maxx. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

In terms of base practicalities, the Mazda2 sedan lacks a centre console bin, which is a bit of a pest. It has two line-astern cupholders between the front seats, and a reasonably sized receptacle for wallets and mobile phones under the dial operated climate controls. 

A pair of USB ports and a single 12 volt outlet mean that devices can be topped up with ease.

There are bottle holders in the front doors, but not sadly, for rear seaters, who have to share a single bottle holder between the front seats.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel is small and comfortable to use. It's a simple design that works well. (Image credit: Tim Robson) The leather-wrapped steering wheel is small and comfortable to use. It's a simple design that works well. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

The Maxx uses a version of Mazda's MZD multimedia system, although it is misses out on items like sat nav. It does offer access to digital radio, so you can tune into stations like Stitcher at your leisure, and it also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

The system is controlled by a shuttle wheel next to the handbrake, along with a trio of buttons. Interestingly, the nav button still remains, even though it's not fitted as standard to the Maxx.

The lack of an elbow rest in the centre console is a little annoying, but the Mazda2 does come equipped with small padded sections on the armrests. Driver’s knees don't impact anything sharp around the footwell space, either.

A pair of USB ports and a single 12 volt outlet mean that devices can be topped up with ease. (Image credit: Tim Robson) A pair of USB ports and a single 12 volt outlet mean that devices can be topped up with ease. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

The leather-wrapped steering wheel is small and comfortable to use, and features buttons to control navigation, telephone and cruise control. It's a simple design that works well.

The rear is set up for three passengers, although the centre is a very narrow space. ISOFIX child seats can be fitted to the outside two seats, but there are no bottle holders or specific air vents for rear seat passengers.

The rear seats can be flipped down via toggles in the boot area, making for a larger load space, if required. The boot volume is comparable to rivals at 440 litres with the seats up, and there is a space saver spare nestled under the floor.

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

The Maxx follows the Neo in the Mazda2 range, and is pretty well equipped for its $19,690 price tag. Fifteen-inch alloy rims come standard, as does a leather-clad steering wheel and gearshift boot.

In terms of base practicalities, the Mazda2 sedan lacks a centre console bin, which is a bit of a pest. (Image credit: Tim Robson) In terms of base practicalities, the Mazda2 sedan lacks a centre console bin, which is a bit of a pest. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

It also gets the 'MZD' multimedia system and a start-stop button, but not keyless entry. Headlights and wipers are manual in operation, and the 1.5-litre engine is fitted with a stop/start mode.

Interestingly, there are electric folding mirrors fitted to the car, instead of something like an automated headlight control. The lights do extinguish when the car is switched off, though. A reversing camera is standard.

There are bottle holders in the front doors, but not sadly, for rear seaters. (Image credit: Tim Robson) There are bottle holders in the front doors, but not sadly, for rear seaters. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

The Mazda2 also comes standard with the company's new torque-vectoring steering control system that basically acts to settle the front of the car down. This system has less of an impact on cars with lower torque and power outputs, but it certainly gives the 2 more ability to cruise for longer distances, and making it easier on the driver in the process.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

Mazda's 1.5-litre four-cylinder 'SkyActiv' petrol engine comes standard with the Maxx, along with a six-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels.

The engine is good for 81kW/141Nm, and Mazda is perfectly okay with you using 91RON petrol in it. (Image credit: Tim Robson) The engine is good for 81kW/141Nm, and Mazda is perfectly okay with you using 91RON petrol in it. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

The auto does its best work in its four lowest gears, matching the output of the engine very well. The top two gears are longer legged, helping the Mazda2 sit at the national speed limit quietly and comfortably.

The engine is good for 81kW/141Nm, and Mazda is perfectly okay with you using 91RON petrol in it.

There is a small sport button behind the gearshift, which asks the transmission to hold a gear for a longer period. (Image credit: Tim Robson) There is a small sport button behind the gearshift, which asks the transmission to hold a gear for a longer period. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

This version of the engine is the same as the one in the base spec Neo, albeit in what Mazda calls a 'high' state of tune. It only adds 2kW and 2Nm, but offers a lower CO2 output and 0.6L/100km better fuel economy on the combined cycle.

The engine also helps the car’s torque-vectoring system by minutely cutting power to the inside wheel when turning, helping to settle the front of the car down.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Against a claimed combined fuel economy number of 4.9 litres per 100km, we recorded a dash-indicated 6.7L/100km over a 220km test route.

With a fuel tank of 44 litres, the Mazda2 Maxx sedan has a theoretical range of around 900km.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

The Mazda2 has the jump on its rivals in terms of general handling. It's quite a lively little car with great steering feel, confident brakes, and a sprightly demeanour, thanks to a competent chassis tune.

There's no problem finding a good compromise behind the wheel of the Mazda2 sedan. (Image credit: Tim Robson) There's no problem finding a good compromise behind the wheel of the Mazda2 sedan. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

There is a trade-off in this, though; it can feel a little bit firm on broken surfaces, and the suspension does crash through moderately sharp-edged bumps.

The other bugbear with the Mazda2 - and it's something that affects numerous Mazda products - is road noise getting back into the cabin from underneath the car.

ISOFIX child seats can be fitted to the outside two seats, but there are no bottle holders or specific air vents for rear seat passengers.. (Image credit: Tim Robson) ISOFIX child seats can be fitted to the outside two seats, but there are no bottle holders or specific air vents for rear seat passengers.. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

The company is steadily working through its range to improve this trait, but the Mazda2 sedan certainly suffers from excessive tyre roar, in particular, getting back into the cabin.

The interface between engine and gearbox can be a little bit stuttery under cold operation, too. Once everything warms up, the shifts smooth out and the engine stops hesitating at certain points.

The boot volume is comparable to rivals at 440 litres with the seats up. (Image credit: Tim Robson) The boot volume is comparable to rivals at 440 litres with the seats up. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

It's only a matter of minutes before everything gets up to temperature, but it is an unusual trait.

There is a small sport button behind the gearshift, which simply asks the transmission to hold a gear for a longer period. It doesn't really serve much of a purpose in what is fundamentally a city-going car.

  • The Mazda2 comes with the new torque-vectoring steering control system that acts to settle the front of the car down. (Image credit: Tim Robson) The Mazda2 comes with the new torque-vectoring steering control system that acts to settle the front of the car down. (Image credit: Tim Robson)
  • The Mazda2 can feel a little bit firm on broken surfaces, and the suspension does crash through moderately sharp-edged bumps. (Image credit: Tim Robson) The Mazda2 can feel a little bit firm on broken surfaces, and the suspension does crash through moderately sharp-edged bumps. (Image credit: Tim Robson)
  • The Maxx uses a version of Mazda's MZD multimedia system, although it is misses out on items like sat nav. (Image credit: Tim Robson) The Maxx uses a version of Mazda's MZD multimedia system, although it is misses out on items like sat nav. (Image credit: Tim Robson)
  • The Mazda2 comes with a space saver spare nestled under the boot floor. (Image credit: Tim Robson) The Mazda2 comes with a space saver spare nestled under the boot floor. (Image credit: Tim Robson)

Mazda’s clever torque vectoring system is less noticeable in this application, simply because there’s not as much torque acting on the front tyres.

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 Maxx comes standard with front and rear-capable AEB, a reversing camera and five airbags as standard, as well as rear parking sensors, emergency brake assist and hill-hold assist.

It holds a maximum five-star ranking from ANCAP.

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

Mazda offers a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for the Maxx, and servicing intervals are suggested at 12 months or 10,000km. It’s a relatively low kilometre figure, but reflects the real world use of a car that’s designed primarily for the city.

A fixed price service program will cost $600 for the first five scheduled services, while Mazda also offers a standard ($68.10 per year) or premium ($83.50 per year) roadside assistance package on top.

Verdict

The Mazda2 sedan is a terrific little around town car, especially if you have to load people in the rear on regular occasions. In fact, there's no real trade off between sedan and hatch other than load practicality.

The Maxx is well equipped and well priced, too, and performs the role of an urban warrior with consummate ease. Is it better than the hatchback? Its looks are more sedate, but performance-wise the pair are on par.

Would you consider a sedan version of your favourite hatchback? Tell us why... or why not in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$15,990
Based on 73 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$10,990
Highest Price
$20,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Genki 1.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $18,990 – 20,990 2017 MAZDA 2 2017 Genki Pricing and Specs
GT 1.5L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $16,990 – 19,999 2017 MAZDA 2 2017 GT Pricing and Specs
Maxx 1.5L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $15,777 – 15,990 2017 MAZDA 2 2017 Maxx Pricing and Specs
Neo 1.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $15,836 – 15,999 2017 MAZDA 2 2017 Neo Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.4
Design7
Practicality8
Price and features7
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving7
Safety8
Ownership7
Tim Robson
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$14,690

Lowest price, based on 5 car listings in the last 6 months

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