The Mazda2 inherited the mantle of a quality Mazda subcompact car from its predecessor, the Mazda 121 Metro, also known as the Mazda Demio. The Mazda2 has come to be one of the most popular light cars in the Mazda line-up, just shy of the popularity of the Mazda3 in Australia. A favourite in the supermini class, it is starting to branch out into a number of exciting new directions.
The first-generation Mazda2 lasted from 2002 to 2007. The second-generation model, first released in 2007, was a wildly popular model in Australia, selling more than 50,000 cars by mid-2011. The Mazda2 range received a mid-2010 facelift and led to a number of changes in its entry-level Mazda2 Neo, mid-spec Mazda2 Maxx, and premium Mazda2 Genki. Since then, it has received bumps in technology and standard equipment to remain competitive.
Overall, the popularity of the Mazda2 in Australia has increased over the years. First-generation models averaged sales of about 450 per month since the launch in 2002, while second-generation Mazda2 models sell closer to 850 per month. The current Mazda2 range continues to rank among the most popular vehicles in the supermini class.
The Mazda2 has had performance enhancements across the board over multiple generations. The first series of the Mazda2 in Australia, from 2002 to 2007, was a subcompact car with a 4-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine. The manual first-generation Mazda2 used an average of 6.6L/100km, while the automatic used 7.0L/100km.
In its second generation, the Mazda2 expanded its offerings with the Neo, Maxx, and Genki, all of which have a 4-cylinder, 1.5-litre MZR engine. All three trims brought in 82kW of power and 141 Nm of torque. As for fuel consumption, the newer Mazda2 range offers an enhanced 6.4L/100km on manual transmission vehicles and 6.8L/100km on automatic transmission models. Generally, Mazda2 engines are known for longevity and fortitude.
Many previous Mazda models lacked a lot of the amenities or niceties of modern safety and technology, but recent Mazda2 models have bucked this trend. While the basic Neo has fairly standard equipment, the top-of-the-range Genki is highly competitive in new technological features.
The Neo comes standard with manual or automatic transmission, power mirrors and windows, air-conditioning, AM/FM tuner with a CD player, cruise control, airbags, anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability control, traction control, and emergency brake assist.
The Maxx comes standard with a host of safety features, including active headrest restraints and six air bags. It also has some enhancements for sports car enthusiasts, such as sporty alloy wheels, rear roof spoiler, and steering wheel mounted audio controls. It’s also achieved a coveted ANCAP rating of five stars, making it not only an enjoyable ride but also a safe one.
The Genki has the most kit of the group. It’s the best equipped for smooth performance, utilizing twin-tube dampers to ensure the best suspension and ride quality. It also has some unexpected technological marvels like rain-sensing windshield wipers and automatic lights, both of which come standard. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an option for Bluetooth phone or music streaming, but it can still accommodate it with an extra accessory.
The Mazda2 comes in enough options to perform well as a used vehicle in different segments of the light vehicle market. From the first generation to the second generation, Mazda2 has made a jump in quality and craftsmanship. It’s standard kit and options stack up well against the competition.
When it comes to handling and performance, the top of the range Mazda2 Genki is likely a segment leader. Its throttle response, steering weight, and powerful engine will make it feel like a sports car in a smaller car’s body. The entry-level Mazda2 Neo is the most affordable, making it a realistic option for people on a budget. The Mazda2 Maxx offers a nice bump up in features without the price increase of the Genki.
Still, there is stiff competition from the Ford Fiesta, Suzuki Swift, Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Yaris, and Hyundai Getz. For the top of the range, perhaps the strongest competition is found in the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo. In the highly competitive supermini class market, the Mazda2 continues to perform admirably, and with its unique blend of solid features and excellent price, it’s worth a long look.