Compact Mazda2 supermini big on fun

Iain Dooley says the latest Mazda2 is an accomplished compact hatchback.

Engines – For cars of this size petrol power is often the smartest choice. Mazda's line-up offers a choice of refined and reasonably economical 1.3 and 1.5-litre petrol motors but there are also 1.4 and 1.6-litre diesels for those who plan to cover lots of miles.

Exterior – The Mazda2's sharp, angular stance was viewed as a departure from the company's old, conservative ways when it first appeared. The end result is a youthful, sporty appearance, yet one that should appeal to buyers both young and old.

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Interior – Like the car's exterior, its cabin is a bold design and full of pleasing features. It's also a spacious cabin, and one that would easily support a small but growing family.

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Driving – If you haven't driven a Mazda for a while, you really should try the Mazda2. It's a willing and enjoyable car to drive, plus it's surprisingly refined on the move. Frugal engines and a supple ride complete the picture.

Ownership – Easy to park, enough load space for a growing family and boasting modest running costs, the Mazda2 offers buyers an attractive and affordable alternative to the compact hatchbacks from European car-makers.

What to look for – Being a type of car popular with drivers in urban areas, be on the look-out for the usual array of parking dents and kerbed wheels. A full history is a must on such a new car, while always check for badly-repaired accident damage, general neglect and be attentive on the test-drive.

Model history – 2007, Mazda launches a new supermini the Mazda2. Available in both three and five-door form, engines choice from launch was 1.3 and 1.5-litre petrol and 1.4 and 1.6-litre diesels. The car boasts a good level of standard equipment, ranging from an ample number of airbags to climate control and alloy wheels.

Reasons to buy – Good-looking small car, build quality and durability, refinement, fun to drive and good value.

Reasons to beware – Sombre cabin, not as plentiful as some rivals.

Pick of the range – 1.3 TS2 five-door.

What to pay – 2007 57 �6,525; 2008 08 �7,325; 2008 58 �7,600; 2009 09 �8,225; 2009 59 �8,575; 2010 10 �9,225. Showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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