Mazda2: Compact urban runner

MAZDA’S “Zoom-Zoom” philosophy is alive and well in its Mazda2 1.5 SkyActiv-G HB (Hatchback) High.

Using the brand’s Kodo design language, this B-segment vehicle brings about a sense of modernity and dynamism that helps it stand out against direct rivals such as the Honda City Hatchback and Toyota Yaris.

Externally, the Mazda2’s notable fitment includes angled automatic LED headlights, a wide lower front radiator grille, a bold honeycomb upper grille with a red accent tab and fluidic musculature for its sheet metal.


Our test unit had the new Airstream Blue colour.

Other colour options for the hatchback variant include Soul Red Crystal, Snowflake White Pearl, Platinum Quartz and Polymetal Gray.

Stepping inside the third iteration of the Mazda2, the cabin is status quo since its first facelift.


That’s right, for the less informed, this is the second time it is getting a refresh.

Much like some aesthetic changes to its exterior, the cabin of this compact hatchback has been imbued with a few differences to give it more character.

For instance, there’s now a red insert for each of its round vents up front and a suede strip on the dashboard to accompany the leatherette sections of the dashboard, door cards and seats.


Meanwhile, red stitching now provides contrast to the mix which is predominantly textured plastic that’s quite easy on the eyes.

With a fairly upright seating position, all-around visibility is decent despite the tight rear window, and there’s still some sense of cosy spaciousness (depending on one’s proportions).

Considering its internal dimensions, ergonomics is high with large climate control dials within easy reach, including the one-touch (driver-side only) power window controls and command console just aft of the gear lever.


Unfortunately, cup holders are not present along the centre tunnel and are relegated to utilising the ones provided in the door cards.

So make sure to order a medium/large drink and try not to use anything larger than a 32oz Hydro Flask with a rubber bottom boot.

The 7.0-inch free-standing screen might be a little on the cramped end but does well to provide crisp graphics during the day.


During low-light conditions, the reverse camera with static parking lines needs some severe saving from its grainy feed.

At the expense of a small boot which provides 255 litres of space, rear-seated passengers will enjoy the somewhat cushy rear bench so long as there are two of them and are not taller than 180cm.

Starting up the engine calls forth that signature “zing” as it breathes to life to produce 114hp and 149Nm of torque.


Drivers will find the powerplant a cinch to manage in slow urban traffic with good torque response from down low and a smooth-operating transmission.

During extra-urban trips for that weekend getaway, the Mazda2 won’t be too much of a hassle with fairly quiet cabin on highways with little intrusion of buffeting wind and tyre noises venturing into the cabin.

Despite having 1,496cc of displacement, the engine’s groan does enter the cabin when below 3,500rpm but beyond that, the sporty nature of the four-banger starts to reveal itself.


The change in its exhaust note take on a raspier tune that fills the interior and after selecting Sport mode (located just below the gear lever).

At this point, the engine will seem more willing to reach its 6,000rpm red-line for the front wheels.

Placed in the hands of above-average drivers, the Mazda2 will be a joy to throw into corners with its adequately weighted steering.


Bodyroll is perceptible due to the upright seating position and the high-profile tyres might not seem up to the task but the level of engagement and poise through tight and twisted roads is high.

The suspension is well-tuned to absorb and handle all that gets thrown at it and while it doesn’t provide a highly refined ride, it is more adept at prioritising a communicative feel that’s more suited to high-paced directional-changing runs.

As with all naturally aspirated engines, work is needed to keep it charged up.


Flipping the gear knob to the right will put the transmission into Manual mode and from here on out it’s paddle shifter time.

Regardless of utilising the paddle shifters or gear knob to manage the six-speeder gearbox, drivers can expect some abruptness during sporty drives.

Although the gearbox’s reactions will not be as quick as a dual-clutch transmission, it’ll get the job done and provide an experience that is far better than what a continuously variable transmission can.


The overall package of the Mazda2 might seem cramped in its external and internal dimensions but for the single urbanites who can afford the RM108,670 asking price, they will be sure to revel in its on-road abilities.

Easy to point and shoot (even with a rear torsion beam), the Mazda2 has good driving dynamics and the willing four-banger of an engine seems comfortable about getting pushed to its limits.

Combining this with the cosy cabin, it simply elevates that sporty feel to new heights to bring about the brand’s Jinba-Ittai (oneness between horse and rider) feel.

Mazda2 1.5 Hatchback High
Engine: 1,496cc, four cylinders, SkyActiv-G
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with manual shift
Maximum power: 114hp at 6,000rpm
Maximum torque: 149Nm at 4,000rpm
Brakes: Front ventilated discs; rear solid discs
Suspension: Front MacPherson and rear torsion beam
Fuel tank capacity: 44 litres
Kerb weight: 1,091kg
Ground clearance: 140mm
Features: Two airbags, anti-lock braking system, G-vectoring control plus, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, dynamic stability control, traction control, emergency stop signal, hill launch assist, walk-away lock, ISOFIX anchor points, automatic LED headlights with self-levelling, LED daytime running lights and rear fog lights, halogen rear light clusters, automatic wipers, keyless-entry with push-start button, walk-away lock, auto-folding external mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, colour coded shark-fin antenna, rear spoiler, four rear parking sensors, cruise control, electronic power-assisted steering, auto dimming rear view mirror, one-touch up and down (driver-side only) power windows, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, Sport mode, leather-wrapped gear knob, mono-zone climate controls, 6-way manual seat adjustment, 60:40-split rear folding bench, black leatherette and suede upholstery with red stitching, 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 6-speaker audio system, two USB ports, reverse camera with static parking lines, iStop, 16-inch alloys with 85/60 series tyres and space-saver spare wheel.
Warranty: 5 years or 100,000km (whichever comes first) and 5 years free service including labour, parts and lubricants
Price: RM108,670 (on-the-road without insurance, private registration in Peninsular Malaysia)
Autos Mazda
CarSifu's Rating: 7.3