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Mazda 2 review – Built to get your money’s worth

The Mazda 2 is a well-built hatchback that immediately gives off the impression that it’s going to last for a long time as soon as you get into it.

From the doors’ solid thud and the sturdy stalks, to the fit and finish of the soft-touch panels and leather steering wheel, the car has a lot going for it and little working against it.

In its current iteration, the 2 has been on the market for nearly four years and it still does a good job of appearing modern and competitively priced, and while there are a few drawbacks worth mentioning, they can hardly be considered dealbreakers.

Premium beyond the price

In range-topping Hazumi spec that retails for R407,400, the Mazda 2 is among the more premium hatchbacks in its price bracket.

The seats are covered in a leather/suede combination in an attractive blue hue, with the suede material extending to the door panels for a classy look that is rarely seen in the segment. Further to this, the dash is covered in a similar blue leather with soft-touch padding, and the steering wheel is wrapped in the same material only in black.

On the exterior, too, the Hazumi sees distinctive chrome finishes setting it apart as the range-topper alongside good-looking 16-inch, eight twin-spoke alloys in a gunmetal grey.

While the basic design language of the 2 has remained unchanged for generations, it still looks up-to-date and it’s probably going to stay that way for years to come as most of its rivals have been updated in recent years, but not extensive enough to make the Mazda seem out of place.

Feature-wise, the 2 brings a well-rounded platter of goodies to the table.

The infotainment system supports wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as voice control, but because of my personal pet peeve with cables in cars, I opted to use Bluetooth instead and had no issues with connecting quickly and enjoying tunes through the six-speaker stereo.

The rotary dial used to control the central display also gets a comfortable palm rest to make navigating the interface easier on your wrist, and in front of the control panel sits a wireless charging pad with a physical on/off switch rather than one that is hidden deep in some sub-menu.

Why this is worth noting is because I can’t count on two hands how many times I’ve placed my phone on a wireless charger just for it not to charge, and then spent more time looking for the on/off switch in the many sub-sections of the settings menu than the time the phone actually spent charging.

A few more abilities stood out on this Mazda that are hard to find on other vehicles at this price, especially equipped as standard.

This included blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert that warns the driver of oncoming cars when trying to reverse into a busy road, and the intuitive heads-up display that at a quick glance shows the speed at which you are traveling, the speed limit for that road, as well as whether any vehicles are in your blind spot.

With its impressive spec sheet and finishes, the caveats for the Mazda, therefore, are few.

The biggest qualm in my experience was the placement of the cupholders right behind the control hub for the infotainment system as whatever bottle or cup in them was often in the way of my elbow when turning the wheel, changing gears, or adjusting the aircon.

The infotainment system itself, too, while easy to operate, is starting to show its age with the previous-generation visuals and icons.

Rear-seat legroom isn’t the best, either, which can be expected from a hatch that measures just 7cm longer than four metres; fortunately, front-seat and boot space are par for the course.

Dependable performance

In terms of driving behaviour, the 2 offers dependable performance from its 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated motor which pairs with a six-speed automatic gearbox in the Hazumi to produce 85kW and 148Nm.

The motor is slightly louder than most of the newer entry-level cars on the market, though it doesn’t have to work very hard to do what you need it to do even when traveling on the highway, unlike the smaller-displacement engines with turbos slapped on top that you’ll find in most of its competitors.

Considering the lack of forced induction, fuel consumption is also not terrible, and at the same time, not outstanding.

It averaged 6.7l/100km over the course of one week in which it mostly tackled city driving with the occasional stretch of highway, and the 44-litre tank still stood at more than half-full after completing 300km.


While the Mazda 2 is in good company in its price bracket, it has all the necessary bells and whistles to keep it relevant in the modern era and should hold up well over the years to come.

Mazda has clearly found a working formula and didn’t mess with it, which is anecdotally evidenced by the sheer number of older 2-badged hatchbacks you can still see roaming the streets.

It’s an impressive car from a reliable brand with lines and angles that can still turn a few heads.

Mazda 2 Hazumi


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