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Owner Review

2015 Mazda 2 Neo review

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I bought my Mazda 2 two years ago coming from a Mazda 3 SP25. I decided to get a smaller and more efficient car, while also getting something newer in warranty.

Originally when shopping for cars, I was interested in a Skoda Fabia, but because of a punchier engine and a better deal, I decided on the Mazda 2. The design of the Mazda 2 is eye-catching and a bit cutesy, especially in the purple colour that my car is in. It has the new Kodo Mazda design language, which makes it instantly recognisable as a Mazda.

As I bought the base model, it originally came with hubcaps, which slightly detracted from the design of the 2. I was able to get some second-hand wheels off the top of the range Genki that really improved the look of the car.

The nice design continues into the interior with a simple and clearly laid out design. It has fewer buttons than previous Mazdas, which makes it seem minimalist, but with more style than some of its German competitors. Although the materials used are hard wearing, they also feel a tad cheap. The seats also have a nice blue pattern on them that adds some colour to a mostly black interior. There are also some fake carbon-fibre inserts that don’t necessarily look fantastic, but do add some different textures that break up the hard plastics.

Although, all this nice design doesn’t lead to an overly spacious interior. The boot capacity is not large, but is adequate for my needs. The opening, however, is a bit too small to take advantage of the space you have. Room in the second row is fine for two people, but putting three adults in the back for long distances would be a form of torture. In the front seats, you may end up bumping elbows with your passenger when changing gears if you’re not careful.

Being the base model, there isn’t a whole lot of technology. It has Bluetooth connectivity, but if you regularly use it for streaming music or podcasts, I would suggest stretching to a Maxx or Genki to get the MZD screen. The Bluetooth doesn’t have any connection issues or problems, but once you set off you practically have no control apart from pausing or skipping. It can get frustrating if your playlist ends, as you have to switch back to the radio or pull over to change it.

Apart from that, there isn’t much more technology in the Neo, but you do get a digital tachometer and shift lights. I tend to ignore the shift lights because going into sixth when you’re only doing 60km/h isn’t a way to make swift progress.

The fuel economy is usually pretty good, but you have to drive it nicely or it does tend to go up. It doesn’t match the claimed economy, but it’s still efficient enough for me. I usually get about 7L/100km around the suburbs and high fives to low sixes on the highway.

That brings me on to the driving, which is somewhere the Mazda 2 really excels. I have the six-speed manual that is linked to a 1.5-litre four-cylinder. Although this engine won’t set the world on fire, it loves to rev and makes good progress when you get it up in the rev range. It’s great in the city and can even beat most supercars off the line! (As long as they don’t realise you’re racing them.)

The most enjoyable part of the drive experience is the handling. It sits pretty flat through the bends with only a bit of body roll. It encourages you to go faster than you should into bends, and because of the relatively low power outputs it never gets scary. I find driving a slower car hard more enjoyable, as you have to work harder to get to the speed limit and there’s less chance of losing your licence. You do have to watch out, though, because if you push too hard into a corner it will start to understeer, but that’s like most front-wheel-drive cars.

The six-speed manual in the Mazda 2 is perfect for this size of car, as it’s easier to keep it in the right rev range. As this engine doesn’t have much torque, it’s good to be in control of which gear you’re in. The transmission is easy to use and goes into gears without fuss. I find it makes for a more engaging drive, and makes this relatively budget car feel more fun than the price tag suggests.

My Mazda 2 has been fairly reliable. It hasn’t let me down so far and I’m hoping that’ll continue. I had some minor things fixed under warranty, but nothing that took it off the road for more than a day. I’m confident in the overall reliability of my Mazda and will happily own it for years to come. Servicing isn’t too expensive, being a smaller car, although the 10,000km service intervals are a bit short.

Overall, I really enjoy my Mazda 2, but in my next car I would definitely want a screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I’d also want a car with more advanced safety kit, which became standard after I bought my car. I’d recommend for other people to get a Mazda 2 if they want a car that's cheap to run, reliable and fun to drive.