Expert Review - Mazda 2 Hatchback DJ (2015-Present)
13 March 2015
The new Mazda 2 is striking to look at and has an interior that feels more expensive than it has any right to be, with an impressive amount of kit on offer. It handles nicely too, but the small cabin, firm ride and slightly anaemic 1.5 litre SkyActiv-G engine does take the shine off things.
The 114 hp/148 Nm 1.5 litre direct-injected SkyActiv-G petrol four-pot is very responsive to throttle inputs and delivers a decent slug of low-down torque, but it does tend to feel breathless at high revs. The six-speed auto is also exceedingly eco-minded, preferring higher ratios and generally being slightly lethargic in operation, although Sport mode does perk it up considerably.
Ride & Handling
At low speeds, the Mazda 2's refined damping helps smooth out speed bumps and potholes nicely, but the ride can get rather choppy as you go faster. On the flip side, the car responds well to some spirited driving, thanks to its agility and its stable, predictable cornering behaviour in extremis. Only the steering – quick and accurate but overly light and numb – lets the side down here.
Road noise is well-insulated, but wind noise becomes noticeable at medium to high speeds. The seats have tall backrests to accommodate those of height, but the lack of lumbar support and a short squab length can make long drives rather uncomfortable. At least it's easy to settle into a suitable driving position, thanks to large seat adjustability and a steering wheel that adjusts for reach as well as rake.
The Mazda 2 gets just two airbags here rather than the six that can be optioned elsewhere – disappointing, given that similarly-priced rivals like the Honda Jazz and the Kia Rio get six airbags at least on the top-spec models. Thankfully, stability control, all-round three-point seat belts and rear ISOFIX points are standard fare.
With lashings of leather, the 2's interior may feel posh, but it's rather cramped – especially at the rear, where a sloping beltline makes outward visibility a premium. The boot is smaller than most of the competition too, at 220 litres, and the high sill only makes matters worse.
Unpopular cheap-looking halogen reflector headlights aside, the Mazda 2 is very well equipped. There's only one spec, and it has everything – keyless entry and start, semi-leather upholstery, an MZD Connect infotainment with a seven-inch touchscreen and even a head-up display! Navigation is a RM1,200 option.