Mazda2: Two can play at this game

Mazda2 is a painless car to own, simple to drive and reliable.

Mazda2 is a painless car to own, simple to drive and reliable. - Credit: Mazda

The Mazda2 supermini is as fresh as the day it was first launched... and just as reliable.

ENGINES – For a small car you've got quite a choice. On the petrol front there are a couple of 1.3-litre units, rated at 75 and 85PS and a 102PS 1.5-litre alongside a 68PS 1.4-litre diesel. Petrol is the popular choice and the engines offer a varied but always positive ownership experience. If you think you'll be racking up the miles or just prefer the different characteristics, diesel is a fine alternative to the predictable petrol choice.

EXTERIOR – The little Mazda's streamlined stance remains very much in vogue today. Aping the look of many of its rivals, the Mazda2 follows the popular streamlined trend. Even today, the car remains as fresh as the day it was first launched.

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INTERIOR – As with all Mazdas in recent years, this supermini feels solid and well built. It's also a roomy car despite its modest footprint. Cabin space for adults is surprisingly generous, and there's also plenty of room for children, making the car an ideal compact family hatch.

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DRIVING – Although never originally pitched as a sporting car, the Mazda2 is willing and entertaining on the road. Engine choice does limit the car's overall performance, but you can still have plenty of fun. In everyday situations the car feels safe and secure, and the ride is refined and supple even on poorly surfaced urban roads.

OWNERSHIP – As with all Mazdas the 2 is a painless car to own. Simple to drive, boasting plenty of cabin space plus a flexible load area and blessed with the same levels of reliability and durability as much larger models, the car pretty much sells itself. It's also easy to park and cheap to run.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – Low-mileage examples might prove attractive, but it's important to look for the classic signs of abuse – missed services, soft brakes, worn clutch, dirty engine oil. Other warning signs will be parking dents, scuffed wheels and marks on the upholstery. As with all cars, a comprehensive service history is essential, and everything must work when you're on the test drive.

MODEL HISTORY – 2007, Mazda introduces its new 2 compact hatchback in both three and five-door form. This redesigned Mazda2 boasted a spacious interior, better handling and much improved engine range. Equipment levels were generous, and the car was offered with a choice of 1.3 and 1.5-litre petrol engines plus a 1.4-litre diesel unit.

REASONS TO BUY – Sophisticated styling, reliability and a spacious cabin.

REASONS TO BEWARE – Beware of the low-mileage 'shopping trolley' examples. The lower-powered 1.3-litre petrol variant is no ball of fire.

PICK OF THE RANGE – Mazda2 1.3 85PS TS2 three-door.

WHAT TO PAY – 2008 08 £5,010; 2008 58 £5,170; 2009 09 £5,540; 2009 59 £5,770; 2010 10 £6,260; 2010 60 £6,520; 2011 11 £6,940. Showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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