Forget cheap and cheerful, small cars are moving upmarket. Mazda has taken the entry-level 2 and given it a fancier makeover for 2020.
There’s more standard equipment, new trim options, and a more mature face on the outside.
Prices have risen across the board though, and the engine has been given an incredibly mild update.
Does the mid-life refresh make for a more luxurious miniature Mazda, or has the brand stretched things a bit too far?
How much does the 2020 Mazda 2 G15 Pure cost?
Pricing for the base G15 Pure has risen to $20,990 before on-road costs for the manual, and $22,990 before on-roads with a six-speed automatic.
That’s an increase of $5220 over the existing entry-level Mazda 2, and makes the base model more expensive than a larger Kia Cerato or Hyundai i30. Not chump change.
The range tops out with the GT auto, priced from $25,990 before on-roads.
What do you get?
Standard equipment in the base model 2 has been given a boost for 2020. The two big inclusions are a reversing camera and smartphone mirroring, both of which have been reserved for higher-end cars until now.
Both are enabled by the addition of a 7.0-inch infotainment screen, which takes the place of the old-fashioned radio unit of the old Neo. It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB radio, and is a touchscreen when the car is stationary.
Mazda has slotted in a six-speaker stereo in place of the old four-speaker unit, too.
If you need reminding the Pure is a base model, the Nav button on the rotary controller doesn’t take you to inbuilt mapping. It just tells you to visit a Mazda dealer and have the system upgraded instead, which is a bit cruel.
Finally, the set of 15-inch steel wheels of the Neo have been subbed for alloys.
Is the 2020 Mazda 2 G15 Pure safe?
The Mazda 2 has a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing carried out in 2015.
Active safety features include blind-spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking (AEB, with pedestrian detection included), reversing AEB, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, and lane-keeping assist.
There are six airbags and LED headlights, too.
What is it like inside?
Mazda has changed a few things for 2020, but the Pure is still – at its core – a city car that debuted in 2014. There’s no central armrest, and the dominant material is still black plastic.
The seats are now trimmed in brown and black cloth, an inadvisable colour combination in the eyes of some, but Mazda has trimmed the steering wheel, gear knob, and handbrake in what feels like leather.
Despite its diminutive footprint, the front seats of the Mazda 2 have space for gangly drivers like me. The wheel adjusts for reach and tilt, and the manually-adjusted seats slide enough to accommodate long legs. Although it’s still a small car, there are far worse places to spend time.
The lack of a central armrest is annoying though, partly because there’s nowhere to hide your garage door opener and partly because it’s nice to have somewhere to rest your left elbow.
Rear seat space is average, as you’d expect. With the driver’s seat in my position there is no space back there at all, but you’ll fit average-sized adults behind slightly smaller adults. The big windows help, creating a more welcoming atmosphere than you get from the bigger but helmet-shaped Mazda 3 hatchback, while the tall roofline means headroom is acceptable.
Boot space is 250L, down 100L on the Volkswagen Polo it now battles on price. Although the second row folds 60/40, the seats don’t fold close to flat (like the Honda Jazz and its Magic Seats) making it a less-than-ideal place to carry bigger items.