50 shades…

Road test: Mazda2 SE-L Nav

It is just one of those things: larger cars are more suited to a subdued colour palate; smaller cars look better when painted in cheerier hues. So our little Mazda2 (not so little in fact, but more of that later) in Metropolitan Grey didn’t make the strongest first impression. Given the gloomy weather this week, it would be tough to photograph, too. Nor does it showcase the Mazda2’s design well which is a shame because it is actually rather smart. It is more of a challenge to incorporate sweeping shapes on a smaller car because there simply isn’t enough panel space to stretch out the curves but the Mazda2 achieves this well. It inherits the Kodo-design, (‘energy in motion’) from the larger 3, 6 and crossover models to offer some individuality.


Inside, there is a variety of textures around the cabin but that dreaded monochrome comes out in force once more. Certainly, the dash is modern and functional but it is a set of well-designed individual items rather than a single coherent flow. There are three round vents, for example, and one rectangular one – all in the same plane. However, usability is good, with an uncluttered instrument panel and the central entertainment-navigation screen is intuitive. The media dial and volume controls are sited behind the gear lever although they are rather low and require one’s gaze to be taken completely off the road to read the few surrounding buttons.

In terms of kit, this SE-L Nav trim model has all the toys and other than the LED lights and full climate control options there isn’t anything missing on our car. Press the slightly obscured pushbutton starter and the smooth 1,500cc petrol engine comes to life. We’re in the 90PS petrol model, anticipated to be one of the bigger sellers and while a little low on torque, its sub 10 second 0-62 mph figure is acceptable. It is fine about town but not the most willing revver – perfect for economy but reluctant to climb toward peak power at 6,000 rpm. The tall ratios on our five-speed ‘box will be a contributory factor here; there is a six-speed option.


The Mazda2 isn’t a small car. At just over 4 metres in length, it shares almost exactly the same footprint as a Mark 3 Golf (although sits a whisker taller). It is therefore very roomy and at a little over a tonne, reasonably light. The lightness is good for economy and great for handling. A slightly more spirited drive train would add to the enjoyment of what is a rather good chassis. It is easy to position the car and it is an absolute delight through the corners. While on the taught side for lumps and bumps, it settles well at speed.

In summary, the 90PS engine is a great for economy and the Mazda2 is well-equipped, practical and handles beautifully. Select the ‘not grey’ option and your Mazda2’s fluid Kodo design will feel much more alive, too.

Mazda2 SE-L Nav 90PS

Power: 90 PS (@ 6,000 rpm), torque: 148 Nm (@ 4,000 rpm), emissions: 105 g/km CO2 (band B), 0-62 mph: 9.4 secs.

Motor Writer rating: ●●●●○

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