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2015 Mazda 2 GENKI owner review

Patrick S
  • Interior and exterior design (+ soul red paint work)
  • Surprisingly fun to drive with a great manual gearbox
  • Handles the tasks of everyday life perfectly
  • Invasive stop-start function
  • Dimwitted cruise control
  • Missed out on some tech, that was offered in other countries at the time and has since become standard features.

About the Mazda 2

Patrick S purchased this Mazda 2 new for $22,690 (including all on-road costs). Patrick S wouldn’t buy this car again because: “This was a fantastic small car to own and my highest recommendations for anyone looking for a small, cheap, fun, reliable little city car. I wouldn’t get another only because I am now in the market for something a bit sportier, however, should I be in that market again it is definitely one that would be at the top of my list. “

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

I’ve had no major issues with the car just a few minor niggles that were quickly and easily fixed. There was a small issue with the passenger sun visors’ mirror when new, where the mirror kept falling out. The battery was also at near-death just after the 3-year warranty had expired, however, Mazda replaced it for me free of charge. Other than this the car has been fantastically reliable.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

For a small city car, it does most everything that you would want it to do. Yes, it’s not the roomiest for rear-seat passengers or boot space, but you aren’t buying a city car because you are lugging around a heap of cargo or passengers all the time. That being said, I have used the car to set up a stall at our local markets… it does take some top-notch Tetris skills (and with the front seats more forward than is comfortable) but we managed to fit a 3×3 gazebo, half a dozen small boxes of stock and 2-3 medium-sized carry bags all in the tiny space that is the Mazda 2.

I’ve also used the car outside of its natural habitat, taking it on trips from Sydney to Mt Tamborine in QLD, day trips to Newcastle/Hunter Valley, ACT, and the Blue Mountains. It handles road trips far better than you would expect of a small 1.5L city car and is a lot of fun to drive when the roads get twisty.

The 10,000km service intervals are a bit annoying, the boot shape is a bit awkward, the rear seats don’t fold down flat, and with a carload full of people it does let you know that this is not what it was designed for. These are small niggles though for what has been a very positive ownership experience.

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

Purchasing and aftercare experience has been good. Nothing bad, nothing outstanding, just simply what I would describe as a “normal” easy experience.

The Mazda staff have been very easy and friendly at all points along the ownership road and I would be very comfortable purchasing another Mazda vehicle knowing that the aftersales service is professional.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

For sub $25k you are not left wanting. The interior at the time was probably best in class for design and quality. There are some cheap plastics here and there, but that is to be expected. Your arm and leg rest points are appointed with leather and the seats are very comfortable provided you have a medium to small figure.

The car also came with a heads-up display (first in class for Australia I think) and it has now ruined me for analog dials. This is most definitely a feature I want in all future purchases.

Annoyingly this year model missed out on LED daytime running lights and safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, parking camera, and sensors, etc that are now standard features.

Other complaints about the features would be the cruise control. Fantastically simple and easy to operate, however, it can be very slow and dimwitted to react to inputs. The stop-start function is rage-inducing in slow traffic, it will cut off the engine if you are crawling at just a few kph. When the engine is cut off the steering locks so you cannot steer the car until the engine kicks back in and it can be a bit slow to switch the engine back on.

The other annoying scenario is when you are pulling up to a red light which then turns green just as you are about to stop. The engine cuts out at 3-4 kph as you are rolling to a stop, and it feels like an age for it to turn back on again for you to continue through the set of lights. In 80-90% of driving scenarios, it is fine, but the latter is truly infuriating.

Additionally, I don’t think I have ever managed a successful voice command.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

Because the car is small and light it feels quicker than it actually is. The 6spd manual gearbox is a hoot to use, it is certainly no hot-hatch, but is very dynamically capable for what it is. Even my power-loving tradie brother loves to drive it whenever he can. It is fun, nimble and is happy to rev if the mood takes you.

I don’t tend to drive in the style that would maximise fuel economy, at worst I get 6.3-6.5 litres per 100km. On long highway drives, I can easily get 750+ km from the 40L tank.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

The MZD Connect system (now showing its age) is simple, intuitive, and easy to use, even for my technologically challenged mother.

I know there is a debate amongst people about whether touch screen or rotary-dial controls are best, I personally prefer to use the dials. I honestly don’t know how people use touch screens whilst on the move. The dials are so much simpler and easier to operate. If you are not moving and trying to put in an address with the sat-nav it is quicker to use the touch screen, but then the fingerprints and smudges on the screen really just inflame my OCD to no end.

I have since retrofitted Apple CarPlay & Android Auto to the car which makes up for a now dating infotainment system.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

The ride is fine when pottering around town, it can crash a bit over some bumps and potholes and if you are coming from a larger car you would certainly notice it is not as graceful at ironing out bumps in the road, but I would not describe it as uncomfortable.

The trade-off is that the car handles very well for what is supposed to be a city runabout. The steering is light and fairly communicative for an electronic setup, making nipping in and out of side streets and going down a twisty road quite an enjoyable affair.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

This is a perfect first car for a young driver, new or used and I have no hesitations in recommending a Mazda 2 for anyone looking for a small car.

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Show Breakdown
Technology 8
Reliability 9.5
Ride & Handling 9
Price & Features 7.8
Purchase & Aftercare 8
Performance & Economy 9
Ownership Experience 9.5
Top Line Specs
5 ★
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