Mazda2 – What you need to know

The baby in the local Mazda range offers two body styles and four trim levels to suit a broad spectrum of buyers

The current Mazda2 washed up on our shores in 2014 and was given a nip and tuck three years later. Offered in four trim levels in hatchback form and three for the sedan, the Mazda2 also provides a choice of manual or automatic transmission and standard or high-spec engine output.

Let's jump right in and see which Mazda2 offers the equipment you want for the money you have.

To make life easier, both body styles offer the same equipment per model, barring only specific features like a rear wiper for the hatch.

At $15,320 (excluding on-road costs) for the Neo hatch or sedan with a six-speed manual transmission the following equipment is standard:
>> 15-inch steel wheels,
>> Bluetooth hands-free mobile and audio streaming,
>> Cruise control,
>> Air conditioning,
>> Rear parking sensors,
>> Keyless engine start,
>> Black cloth interior,
>> Six airbags

There are seven colours available with just two attracting a $495 premium.

Safety and Driver Assistance

2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch

All models in the Mazda2 range have the obligatory airbags, six in this case, plus anti-lock brakes with brake-force distribution, emergency brake assist for greater stopping power, stability and traction control systems. You also get ISOFIX child restraint points. Driver aids include hill-launch assist and rear parking sensors, along with smart city brake support when travelling forward.

Moving to the Maxx gains you a reversing camera and smart city brake support when travelling backwards as well.

Another step up to the Genki and you get blind-spot monitoring rear cross traffic alert without having to opt for the more expensive GT. You also get rain-sensing wipers in the Genki and GT, along with dusk sensing headlights.

Infotainment, Comfort and Convenience

The Mazda2 Neo misses out on an infotainment screen, digital radio, internet radio integration, and satellite navigation.

So if these features are important to you, head for the Maxx. All the previously mentioned come standard, displayed on a seven-inch screen. Apple CarPlay and Android auto will set you back $497.97 on all models.

Jumping into the Mazda2 Maxx means leather-wrapped steering wheel, gearshift knob and handbrake handle, all of which help lift the interior ambience.

Is satellite navigation a deal breaker? While it's an option in the Maxx, it is standard in the Genki, along with climate-control air conditioning. The Genki also introduces premium touches with head up active driving display that contains vehicle speed and satnav directions.

2017 Mazda2 GT Hatch

While the Neo, Maxx and Genki make do with black cloth trim, the range-topping GT features a more upmarket interior thanks to its black leather and suede seats in the sedan or pure white leather with black cloth inserts in the hatch.

If you don't like steel wheels then don't buy the Neo. Instead line up for a Mazda2 Maxx, as it is the cheapest way to have alloy rims on your Mazda2.

Are halogen headlights acceptable? If yes, then save some coin and go for the Neo or Maxx. Otherwise head to the Genki and its dusk-sensing auto LED headlights and LED fog and daytime running lights. The Genki also features a chrome exhaust extension and a decorative garnish on the upper grille.

Powered exterior mirrors? All models have them, but the Genki and GT mirrors fold closed when the doors are locked.

Engine and transmission choices

Powering the Mazda2 range is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that is offered with two power outputs, either 79kW and 139Nm or 81kW and 141Nm. The basic 79kW engine is reserved for the Mazda2 Neo variants; other models are powered by the 81kW engine and feature the fuel-saving i-stop system. Either engine can be ordered with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission – both transmission types available to order across all trim levels.

Prices (excluding on-road costs) for the Mazda2 range are as follows:
Mazda2 Neo six-speed manual – $15,320
Mazda2 Neo six-speed automatic – $17,320
Mazda2 Maxx six-speed manual – $18,080
Mazda2 Maxx six-speed automatic – $20,080
Mazda2 GT six-speed manual – $22,150
Mazda2 GT six-speed automatic – $24,150
Mazda2 Genki six-speed manual – $21,140
Mazda2 Genki six-speed automatic – $23,140

Mazda2 Neo six-speed manual – $15,320
Mazda2 Neo six-speed automatic – $17,320
Mazda2 Maxx six-speed manual – $18,080
Mazda2 Maxx six-speed automatic – $20,080
Mazda2 GT six-speed manual – $22,150
Mazda2 GT six-speed automatic – $24,150

Verdict on Mazda2

One thing is obvious with the Mazda2 range, there are plenty of choices available. If I were after a city runabout that is just at home on the open road, but I was watching my pennies, the Mazda2 Maxx hatchback with a six-speed manual does it for me. It offers a deep well of standard kit for less than 20-grand and the manual gearbox makes it a bit more engaging to drive.

That said, the high-output engine with a manual transmission in the GT hatch is the one I'd stump up for if my purse strings were a bit looser.

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