Used Mazda 2 review: 2002-2011
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It's hard to believe given its strong recent performance that Mazda was struggling to survive in the Australian market just a few years ago. That was before a remarkable rebirth following the launch of a whole new range of models and a catchy "Zoom Zoom" theme.
In the last 10 years or so we have seen the 3 become one of the most popular cars on the local market and other models, such as the 2, also grow in market acceptance. The 2 launched here in 2002 and won over the small car crowd with its style, quality and economy.
An upgrade in 2005 added to its appeal, and a new model in 2007 cemented its place on the pop charts. Initially launched as a five-door hatch, a three-door hatch was added in 2008, but that was replaced in 2010 by a four-door sedan. Three models made up the offering, starting with the Neo as the base model, then the sporty Maxx and the range-topping Genki.
Mazda optimised the cabin to make it as roomy, and as comfortable as possible given the 2's modest exterior dimensions. With its upright seating positions and high roofline it could accommodate four adults in acceptable comfort.
There was plenty of scope for moving the front seats back and forth to find a comfortable position for the driver and front seat passenger, and the rear seat occupants could also adjust their seat fore and aft as well as being able to adjust the rake. The boot is small, but given the size of the 2 it still holds a reasonable amount of gear.
The performance is quite strong across all situations with its 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine showing plenty of pulling power and response across a broad range of engine speeds. Buyers could choose between a four-speed auto and a five-speed manual.
The manual was the one to go for if you wanted the best get up and go, but the auto was the best overall choice even if it dulled the performance a little. The 2005 upgrade brought manual shifting to the auto, which made it a much more attractive option.
On the road the 2 was highly rated for its ride and handling. Its roadholding and cornering were exemplary and the ride was firm but comfortable. The new model in 2007 brought bolder lines that made the 2 more appealing, the only downside being the slightly restricted rear vision with the revised beltline.
The low complaint rate at Carsguide is an indicator that Mazda has got it pretty right with its new generation models. It's a solidly built car with a sound mechanical package and little seems to go wrong with it, at least of a serious nature.
That's a good starting point, but that's all it ism as each cars needs to be thoroughly inspected before any money changes hands. The 2 is still relatively young, the earliest cars have only done 150,000 km or so, and later ones have yet to reach 50,000 km, but it's important to check the service history of any car under consideration.
Oil changes are scheduled for every 10,000 km and it's vital that this routine is kept up. For some owners, the reliability of the 2 is an invitation to skip services and rely on the next owner to catch up. It doesn't work that way; only buy a car with a service history that stacks up.
It's a keeper and you can buy with confidence. 4 stars.
Mazda 2 2002-2011
Price new: $6500 to $20,000
Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder, 82 kW/141 Nm
Transmission: 4-speed auto, 5-speed manual, FWD
Economy: 7.0 L/100 km
Body: 3-door hatch, 4-door sedan, 5-door hatch
Variants: Neo, Maxx, Genki
Safety: 4-star ANCAP
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