The forgotten city. The Mazda 2 is never the first name out of our mouths when we think of rivals Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. And apparently neither has the UK public: while the Corsa and Fiesta have held first and second place respectively on the UK best-seller list to date, the 2 is nowhere to be found. Just ask yourself: when was the last time you saw one on the roads?
We’ll admit, mind you, we could ask you the same question about any car and you probably can’t answer. Not without walking away for half an hour and thinking about it for a long time. It doesn’t help that the 2 isn’t the flashiest car either; If you’re looking to mingle, this is a solid option. But the 2 has its merits, even if it’s not as round as some of its rivals.
Where does the 2 stick out, then?
By not pretending to be something that it is not, mainly. At Top Gear, we love honest and straightforward cars. And they are not much simpler than the 2. The only engine, now that the diesel has been exorcised from the range and Mazda is not interested in making a “reduced” engine, is a 1.5 petrol four-cylinder naturally aspirated with 74 hp o 89 hp and, recently reintroduced for 2021, 113 hp. Mazda has been listening. More on that later.
Said motor drives the front wheels through a six-speed gearbox; manual or automatic depends on the choice of setting. There is no hybrid or electric version. You can’t get the supercharged SkyActiv-X engine out of the Mazda 3 and CX-30. There’s also no hot hatch version, which is a bit of a shame, given how great that chassis would be as a launch pad for a pocket rocket. But at this size, nothing beats the Fiesta ST, it seems.
Sorry, where were we? Oh yeah. It’s only five doors. There are four trim levels. And, apparently like all Mazdas these days, it’s generously equipped. All models in the range come with navigation, cruise control, built-in Bluetooth and air conditioning, while higher versions have a color head-up display, rear view camera, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Importantly, it’s very competitively priced, starting at just £16,475. It is not to smell it.
Where is he downstairs?
ah While we approve of the simplicity of the engine lineup, Mazda insists on continuing its fight for naturally aspirated. That is, without a turbocharger. And while we love naturally aspirated engines for their responsiveness and smooth power delivery, there’s no denying that a diet of 1.0-litre turbocharged superminis has spoiled us in recent years. No, most turbo units aren’t as efficient as they say, but they deliver plenty of torque when it’s called for, and driving the 2 just goes to show how lazy they made us. Even the 89-hp version, with just 109 pound-feet of torque, takes a lot of convincing.
We mentioned the recently reintroduced 113-hp version earlier, and it’s likely that Mazda pulled it out of the abyss to stop some of the criticism. So a new engine, plus a 2019 facelift that addressed the look of the 2 and meant it looked less like a horse-toothed beaver from the front, plus sleeker alloy wheels and slightly updated headlights , looks promising. But is that enough for the 2 to lose its forgotten city car tag and keep up with the Corsa and Fiesta?
Our choice of the range.
What’s the verdict?
The 2 is a very complete product, if it’s starting to show its age, but the fact that it’s still there is credit to a strong original design, except for the engine which, if swapped with a turbocharged rival, will take some getting used to .
While we’d love to go over the top and say ‘hooray for having to wring a car’s neck for once,’ for many people, a Fiesta’s laid-back performance might be what wins them over, despite the fact that that the 2 has a very well-appointed cabin, decent space, fabulous dynamics and competitive prices.
However, go for 2 and no one can accuse you of being a sheep, and it will get you and your family from A to B without much effort. You can also proudly claim that it is one of the last bastions of natural aspiration. Yes, I mean, anyone will listen.
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Source : topgear.com