The Mazda 2 is one of those rare light cars that provide a mix of good value and driver enjoyment. It looks good and has a premium feel inside while delivering plenty of power, and it is equipped with smart city braking as standard. Prices start at $14,990 and it’s available in four variants with five-door hatch and sedan body styles all powered by a 1.5-litre engine coupled with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
The Mazda 2 comes in four model grades; the Neo, Maxx, GT and Genki (compare these specs here). The entry-level Neo provides excellent value and while it’s missing a few features, including a display screen and reversing camera, it does come with automatic city braking.
The Maxx introduces a more powerful 87kW/141Nm version of the 1.5-litre engine, DAB+ digital radio and infotainment apps displayed on a 7.0-inch floating screen with reverse camera and 15-inch alloy wheels. The steering wheel and gear-lever handle are trimmed in leather, and your music comes from six speakers rather than four.
The Genki adds leather interior, satellite navigation, dusk-sensing LED headlamps, daytime running lights, auto windscreen wipers, climate-control air conditioning, 16-inch alloys inches, blind-spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert.
The range-topping GT is essentially a Genki with white seat and cabin trim. It comes in hatch and sedan body styles with just the six-speed manual gearbox.
- Neo hatch/sedan, manual - $14,990
- Neo hatch/sedan, auto - $16,990
- Maxx hatch/sedan, manual - $17,690
- Maxx hatch/sedan, auto - $19,690
- Genki hatch, manual - $20,690
- Genki hatch, auto - $22,690
- GT hatch/sedan, manual - $21,680
Our pick – Mazda 2 Maxx sedan, manual
The Maxx is an excellent choice with plenty of features for the sub-$20,000 price. The perky manual transmission feels sporty and makes the 2 one of the most enjoyable cars to drive for its size and price. That said, if you are clutch adverse, the six-speed automatic transmission is pretty good too if not as fun. The interior has a premium feel with quality fabric seats that don’t make you yearn for the leather in the upper-spec models. The sedan’s boot holds 440-litres compared to the hatchback’s 250-litres and is arguably the better looking of the two.
Equipment you may want to add to up-spec the Maxx include:
- Metallic paint - $300
- Front parking sensors - $635
- Satellite navigation - $701.84
- Welcome illumination in the foot well - $259.06
- Alloy pedal covers - $306.38 (auto)/$337.72 (manual)
Options to consider
The Maxx is well-appointed enough to not require further bling. One thing all Mazdas lack is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, which makes the satellite navigation pack a worthy addition while still keeping your purchase price around $3200 less than the GT sedan.