Mazda’s current diminutive 2 has been around for three years, which means it’s facelift time.
Not that you’re going to sense much of a difference visually. New headlight designs maybe? Nope, not even a bumper refresh, though you will perhaps have noticed those mirror caps get larger, wrap-around indicators. This Limited model gains a shark fin antenna, a different colour grille insert, and the alloys get a silver finish.
Inside more changes have been effected, leather making an appearance on the seats and door trims, and the finishing and quality are rather upmarket for a car of this class. There are new trip meter graphics, and the Limited gets the little head-up display, driving info projected onto a wee screen that pops up from the top of the instrument binnacle. There’s also a new style steering wheel and it’s been enhanced with Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control, now added to all Mazda2 models. This is not to be confused with torque vectoring, Mazda’s GVC software helping smooth the weight transition in corners and improve steering. The electric steering mechanism itself has been tuned for a more instant response. Mazda has also tweaked the 2’s bushing characteristics front and rear for better stability. The Mazda2 has a finely struck ride-to-roll control ratio, its rear end is nicely secure for a torsion beam, and it’s not too firm either. It’s hard to perceive the changes made by the addition of GVC but the steering is very well tuned, smooth on the turn and has a bit of life to its action.
Most small cars can do with some added refinement and Mazda has added more sound deadening in the engine bay and around the tailgate. Noise from the 1.5 four is muted, even when revved, which you tend to do, given it’s a little shy and retiring with its torque. The numbers are okay though, managing 81kW and 141Nm, but the latter isn’t tapped fully until 4000rpm, and there’s not a great deal of urgency below 2500rpm. It at least has a smart six-speed auto attached to it, with a Sport button too for when you really want to stir things along. The combined fuel use is a claimed 4.9L/100km, though seven is a more likely overall figure for commuters.
There’s nothing a mid-cycle facelift can do to improve interior space though, the boot quite small and rear seat space still at a premium. Figure on more safety tech, however, with some of Mazda’s i-Activesense systems like lane departure warning, a reversing camera, AEB and a driver attention alert system added to the Limited, which also gets active high beams for the LED lights.
Standard are climate air, a smart key and sat nav via Mazda’s MZD connect infotainment system, though CarPlay and Android Auto are missing. Still, there’s Mazda’s free three-year/100,000km service deal and the big five-year, unlimited kay warranty. It’s slightly more expensive than when we last drove it, now at $29,695. That said, it is one of the more refined and premium small car packages but it would be hard to overlook the value of the Suzuki Swift RS for almost $4000 less.
|Engine||1496cc, IL4, EFI, 81kW/141Nm||Drivetrain||6A ,FWD|
|Fuel Use||4.9L/100km||C02 Output||114g/km|