Grippy and nippy but also noisy and uncomfortable
Needs more adjustment for the driver
Avoid the entry-level model
Mazda has a good reliability record
Enough for four people or the shopping, not both
Avoid the basic model and you'll be well catered for
The Mazda 2's sporty handling means you can have real fun at the wheel. The steering is fast and sharp, and the body control is super-tight. Sadly, the downside of this is a terrible ride; the 2 skitters over every lump and bump in the road. The ride comfort gets a little better on the motorway, but refinement gets a lot worse. The amount of wind and road noise you hear are totally unacceptable, and make motorway journeys needlessly tiring. The two 1.3-litre petrol engines can struggle a bit in this environment, too, so you're better off with the 1.5, which is smooth and brisk and never feels like it's straining. There's also a flexible 1.6-litre diesel engine.
The controls are easy to find and use, and the gear lever sits on the bottom of the dashboard, making it easy to reach. However, the driving position has limited adjustment, so getting comfortable might take a little practice.
The Mazda 2 can't match its best rivals for interior space, either. Four adults will just about fit, but other superminis give them more space to stretch out. The boot is on the small side, too; it can't carry as much cargo as a Ford Fiesta. In fact, the 2's boot is the same size as a VW Up's, and that's a tiny city car.
Owners rated the 2 above average for mechanical reliability in the latest JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, despite flaws in other areas. The similarly priced Honda Jazz topped the group, which was awarded an excellent score.
Safety equipment isn't good enough in the entry-level model, because it only get twin front airbags. Upgrading to TS2 trim adds side and curtain 'bags, but only automatic and sport models have stability control fitted. There are ISOFIX slots to fix a child's seat in the rear, and the 2 won five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests for adult safety. It was awarded four for children's safety.
Most of the engines are clean enough to keep fuel and road tax bills low. The diesel is the most efficient, but also the most expensive to buy. Prices are similar to those of the Honda Jazz, which is a lot bigger inside, if less fun to drive.
The Mazda 2 has an uncomfortable ride, poor refinement and less interior space than most of its supermini rivals. Whether you're looking for a family runabout or a fun commuter car, we can think of countless other superminis that do the job better. It's not particularly cheap to buy or run, either.