The Mazda 2 has been around for years, and has proven itself as a reliability, stylish city hatch. In the face of tough new competition though, that may not be enough.
Although it’s been upgraded with new tech and a new, sporty looking Pure SP trim level, there’s no getting away from the fact the Mazda 2 is now an elder statesman in the city car segment. How does it stack up in 2022? \
The 2022 Mazda 2 G15 Pure SP auto hatch on test is priced at $23,690 before on road costs, which is a sharp-ish entry-level price in 2022.
Although it’s more expensive than a range-topping MG 3 ($19,990 drive-away), the mid-range G15 Pure SP compares favourably on paper compared with its ever-more expensive rivals.
The Kia Rio range kicks off at $19,690 before on-roads for a manual, but the Rio Sport automatic which competes with the Pure SP is $23,490 before on-roads.
Meanwhile, the Toyota Yaris range kicks off at $23,470 before on-roads, and the updated Polo with DSG auto kicks off at $28,250 before on-roads.
Mazda 2 G15 Pure SP highlights:
- 16-inch black alloy wheels
- LED headlights
- Power-folding exterior mirrors
- Black mirror caps
- Black grille
- Chrome exhaust tip
- 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (wired)
- Cruise control
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter
- Keyless start
- Six-speaker sound system
- Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
- Black cloth upholstery with red highlights
The Mazda 2 has a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing carried out in 2015.
It scored 15.69 out of 16 for frontal offset, 15.66 out of 16 for the side impact test, and two out of two for the pole test. It earned ‘good’ ratings for both whiplash and pedestrian protection.
All models come standard with:
- AEB in forward and reverse
- Lane departure warning
- Lane-keep assist
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Traffic sign recognition
- Reversing camera
- Rear parking sensors
- Seat-belt warning for all passengers
- 6 x airbags
Mazda has become a polished brand, known for its elegant interiors at a sharp price.
Although elements of that elegance are evident here, the 2 feels a bit low-rent in a few key places.
The lack of centre armrest is one problem. Kitted up with bags and babies, it’s always nice to have somewhere to rest your arm and store your things.
Overall the materials in the vehicle are fine. Black plastic is the dominant material, with a smattering of fake carbon-fibre complimented with the fingerprint magnet that is piano black.
Bringing up the group average is the leather-like material on the handbrake, around the gear lever, and of course on the steering wheel.
Something Mazda does well is the placement of its infotainment touchscreen, which protrudes from the centre of the dash. The system is adequate, but it’s only allows you to use the touchscreen when parked, forcing you to use the rather clunky dial next to the handbrake to control it on the move.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well wired, although they’re still better with touch inputs rather than the rotary dial. The rest of the infotainment system feels a bit old-school compared to what’s on offer in the Rio – not a huge surprise, given Mazda is gradually replacing it with a newer, widescreen setup across its range.
It’s serviceable but nothing more, which isn’t ideal in a car aimed at younger buyers on a budget.
The cloth-trimmed seats are comfortable enough given the car’s size and price. The wheel adjusts for reach and tilt, and the manually-adjusted seats slide enough to accommodate a range of body styles.
Although it’s still a small car, there are far worse places to spend time.
The back seat is what we expected: tight. Fitting a front-facing baby seat is fine, provided you’re happy to make the passenger rather squished.
It’s workable for short trips, which realistically is all you can ask for in a compact city hatchback. The taller roofline makes it reasonable for carrying adults in the back, but legroom is never much better than cosy.
Claimed boot space is 250 litres, and the rear seats fold 60/40 (not flat) to provide some extra wiggle room if needed.
Overall, the interior would be great for Mazda of yesteryear. It’s clean and simple which is appreciated, but it still feels rooted in a time the Mazda 2 was a $15,000 new car.
The Mazda 2 features a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 82kW of power and 144Nm of torque.
Complimenting that is a choice of six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. It’s front-wheel drive only in Australia.
It consumes a claimed 5.3 litres per 100km with the automatic transmission, but in real life with a combination of city and highway driving it was more 5.6L/100km.
It runs on 91 RON regular unleaded and is fitted with a 44L fuel tank.
It’s no secret the Mazda 2 is a city car, and it has enough grunt to get off the mark and zip around the city with full confidence.
The six-speed torque converter works well, and does exactly what you’d expect. There’s no jerking or hunting on the move, and no delays getting off the mark. This little hatch just plods along comfortably.
You can flick into semi-manual mode and use the shifter to change gears. It performed well – although changes aren’t quite instant, being able to take control means you can make this little car feel a bit sportier.
It was designed as city hatch, but the Mazda 2 doesn’t fall apart when you hit the highway.
The engine can struggle slightly at high speeds going up a hill, but it gets there in the end and that’s all that can be expected of a small, affordable city hatchback. None of its rivals – at least, none at the same price – are rockets either.
Highway noise is well isolated, and the car is very comfortable in most conditions with the suspension (and teeny-tiny wheels with chubby tyres) absorbing all of the road’s imperfections.
Handling-wise the Mazda 2 stacks up nicely. It feels stuck to the road, and can be thrown around like you’d hope of a small, affordable hatchback. With a reversing camera and overall good visibility, along with its compact dimensions, it’s one of the easiest cars on the market to reverse park.
As for the driver assists? The lane-keeping system was one of the the best systems I’ve experienced in one of these city cars.
Instead of jerking back into the middle of the lane, the Mazda guided me back. It’s very impressive, with no beeping and carrying on.
The Mazda 2 comes with five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Servicing is required every 12 months or 10,000 kilometres, rather than the more generous 15,000km intervals offered on its rivals.
The Mazda 2 costs a total of $1640 for the first five years of maintenance.
The Mazda 2 has earned its reputation as one of the go-to city hatchbacks, but the current car is starting to feel a bit behind the times.
Mazda’s infotainment system feels a bit old, and there are elements of the cabin that bely the fact it’s older than a Rio or Yaris.
The price isn’t too far off the mark though, and the Mazda 2 remains a good thing to drive. It’s a fun little car, but it doesn’t necessarily set a benchmark like it used to.
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