Mazda 2 2009 Review

July 22, 2009 | By | Add a Comment

Mazda 2: With fuel prices regularly at $1.60 per litre and expectations that prices will continue to fluctuate to record highs Australians are now opting to purchase more fuel efficient cars something their counterparts in the UK and Europe have been doing for years.

Australians are now handing in the keys for their Commodores and Falcons in favour of keys for Swifts, Astras, Corollas, Getzs, Focus and Mazda 2.

Mazda 2

Released in Japan in July 2007 the new Mazda 2 was awarded “2008 World Car of the Year” after being judged by 47 international motoring journalists and being critically compared to thirty nine new vehicles from around the world.

Mazda 2 comprises either a 3 or 5 door configuration and 3 different models from entry level Neo to the fully equipped Genki. The Mazda 2 is competitively prices with prices starting at $15,750 (+ ORC) for the manual Neo. An automatic costs an additional $1,650 while the optional safety pack, which I consider a must, comprising curtain front and rear airbags, dynamic stability control, side SRS airbags and traction control will set you back an additional $1,100. With the benefit of the safety pack the Mazda 2 was awarded a 5 star Ancap rating. So the additional money is well worth the piece of mind that you are driving one of the safest cars on the road.


Don’t expect to be able to haggle too much on price as the Mazda 2 has experienced strong demand since its release and popular colours are readily sold out and waiting periods for the next shipment can be up to 8 weeks.

Our test drive was in the 5 door Neo while being the base model was fitted with the safety pack and an automatic.

All three models of the Mazda 2 feature the same 1.5 litre in line 4 cylinder 16 valve DOHC-VT engine which generates 76 kilowatts of power and 137 NM of torque. Described by Mazda as a car with “nimble handling and peppy performance” our test drive proved that the car has enough get up and go to keep up with the larger class of cars as well as providing the driver with the expected handling and manoeuvrability that Mazda has developed its brand and reputation around.

With a full load of 2 adults and three children the car felt comfortable and unexpectedly roomy given the compact size of the car. Even with this full load the car never missed a beat and the 4 speed automatic changed gear with seamlessly. Putting on the air-conditioning did dampen the enthusiasm of the engine, but only ever so slightly.

As with all models in the Mazda 2 range the Neo is fitted with 4 speakers, an AM/FM tuner but only a single in dash CD player whereas the Maxx and Genki models come with an upgraded in dash 6 disc CD player and also steering wheel mounted audio controls. The omission of the 6 disc CD player and steering wheel mounted audio controls on the Neo is not considered a major detriment given that all models are MP3 compatible so plugging in your iPod gives you as much music or podcasts that your heart desires.

The interior of the Mazda 2 has been completed in conservative colours of dark grey and black, which will cater for the mass market that Mazda, is targeting. Overall the interior design has been well thought through, although one detracting feature is the size of the glove box and the small, mainly useless, magazine holder. Mazda have designed the interior with the driver in mind with the main dash console having in its centre an analogue speedometer. Mazda have purposely kept gauges to a minimum and the LED displays of the clock and stereo are in an inoffensive pale orange with black numbers and letters.

The climate control is simple being operated by three main dials which are easily accessed by the driver. Likewise the stereo controls are also within easy reach of the driver minimising the need for the driver to take their eyes off the road.

There are ample air vents in the Mazda 2 which allows significant air movement through out the cabin.

Standard on all models are power windows to both front and rear, and electric mirrors.

The driving seat is easily manually adjusted as is the steering wheel.

Adults can comfortably sit in the rear seats, which is in stark contrast to the Suzuki Swift which felt decidedly cramped.

Being a hatch back the Mazda 2 offers substantial storage for a car of its size. In fact with rear seats up the storage volume is approximately 250 litres and this increases to 469 litres with rear seats folded down.

A disadvantage is the space saver spare tyre, although most cars of this class have this dreaded accessory.

Fuel consumption is a reported 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres highway/city driving. Our test indicated a slightly higher result of just over 7 litres per 100 kilometres. Significantly less than the reported fuel economy of the new Falcon of 10.5/100 klm and 10.8/100klm for the Commodore. At a fuel price of $1.60 per litre this difference in fuel consumption represents a saving of $6.40 per 100 kilometres in fuel alone.

One disadvantage of Japanese cars such as the Mazda 2 is the servicing interval. While cars such as the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf require servicing every 15,000 kilometres or 12 months the Mazda 2 requires servicing every 10,000 kilometres or 6 months. The additional costs of servicing can quickly eat into any fuel economy savings.

In the Mazda 2, Mazda has continued with the “zoom zoom” philosophy which has been evident over the recent release of the Mazda 6, Mazda 3 and Mazda C7. The lines of the Mazda 2 indicates distinctive sporting lines which is in stark contrast to the “box” like shapes of previous models.

For a more sportier look the Genki model incorporates an aero bumper, side skirts and rear spoiler as well as slightly larger 16 inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps.

With the Mazda 2 the designers have ensured that owning a small car does not mean a sacrifice in style.

Overall the Mazda 2 appears to be the complete package and resale value is ensured to be higher than competing brands for these reasons. Coming close on its heels is the Suzuki Swift which is more competitively prices but is an older model.

Overall I was so impressed by the Mazda 2 that I bought one and yes I waited the 8 weeks for the colour and options of my choice.

As a car I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

What others are saying:

Karl Peskett of 4.5 out of 5 The Mazda 2 is a cute, nimble, zippy city car which fits the bill for an economical runabout that doesn’t compromise on quality and comfort. Toyota’s Yaris, and Suzuki’s Swift had better watch out. The stylish 2 has stamped its authority in the marketplace…..and made a space in our hearts.

Joshua Dowling of 4 out of 5. Mazda’s new baby hatchback brings style, quality and zip to the city-car class.

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