2022 Mazda2 Pure SP review (video)

Mark Davis

As the new car market fills with SUVs, many small hatches are being squeezed out. Thankfully, if you don’t want to jump on that bandwagon and wear the higher cost that comes with it, Mazda might be one of the last brands to fulfil your needs. The Mazda2 is an iconic small hatch that is perfect for those who require a back-to-basics, small and cheap runabout for the suburbs.

The Mazda2 enjoys little competition at this price point nowadays, only rivalling with the MG3, Kia Picanto, Suzuki Swift, and the Toyota Yaris. It is available in four specs only in Australia; the Pure, the newly added Pure SP, Evolve, and GT.

Only one engine is on offer; a 1.5L four-cylinder, naturally aspirated petrol driving the front wheels, and paired to either a six-speed auto gearbox or a six-speed manual transmission. Though, only the base Pure is available with the manual.

Prices start from $21,390 and peak only $5k more at $26,490. We have our hands on the new variant, the Pure SP auto. It retails from $23,890 (excluding on-road costs).

2022 Mazda2 Pure SP – THE SPECS

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder
Output: 82kW@6000rpm / 144Nm@4000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Drive type: Front-wheel drive
Wheels: F & R: 16×85.5, 185/60
ANCAP: Five stars
Tare weight: 1045kg
Power-to-weight: 12.74:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 5.3L/100km
Economy during test: 6.0L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 44L/91 RON[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]Power efficiency: 15.47kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 4.83 seconds*
0-100km/h: 10.59 seconds*
60-110km/h: 7.61 seconds*
1/4 mile: 17.55 seconds at 131.3km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.631g
100-0km/h braking: 2.94 seconds at 39.16 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.001g
Decibel at idle: 44*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 78*
Priced from: $23,890[/column][end_columns]

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2022 Mazda2 Pure SP – THE PACKAGE

The current, third generation ‘DJ’ Mazda2 was first released in 2014, and then facelifted in 2019. For the Australian market, the update for 2022 is imported from Mazda’s production plant (joint with Ford) in Thailand. Its design is based on Mazda’s global ‘Kodo’ design language. Its cute and cheerful look and bubble shape makes it an instantly recognisable hatch.

On the inside, the layout is kept basic and easy to navigate. Materials and surfaces feel more hardwearing than prestige – which is in line with this car’s market segment – with the SP adding a variety of red highlights. A 7.0-inch multimedia screen is about average for size, but the MZD hand controller on the console is a step above the rest in our opinion.

In terms of space, well, it’s a compact hatch. Two wider adults may brush their arms together in the front, and there is not enough room for a centre console. The rear seat is more suited to carrying objects or two extra passengers on small trips. But most buyers wouldn’t be buying this car to move people comfortably as a top priority. Rather, they likely want something cheap and easy to manoeuvre. And that, it does wonderfully.

The boot is also appropriately small, at 250L. Enough to fit some light grocery shopping, but not quite enough to fit your typical large suitcase. Though, the rear seats fold 60/40 to create extra space for those items.

All Mazda2s come standard with LED headlamps, electric folding side mirrors, a height adjustable front seat, cruise control, a leather-wrapped gear shift knob, handbrake handle and steering wheel, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, digital radio with six speakers, keyless push-button start, blind-spot monitoring, hill launch assist, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, a reverse camera, and most importantly, forward and reverse collision mitigation with pedestrian detection. It’s great to see that those crucial safety features have not been omitted at this end of town.

The new Pure SP trim that we’re testing builds on the above list by adding black 16-inch alloy wheels, black exterior mirrors and unique black front grille, a chrome exhaust extension, and black cloth upholstery. Not bad for only 500 bucks more.

All Mazda2s are sold with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and servicing is required quite frequently, at 10,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first.

2022 Mazda2 Pure SP – THE DRIVE

Getting this pint-sized hatch moving is achieved via Mazda’s SkyActiv 1.5-litre engine that outputs 82kW of power and 144Nm of torque. Unlike many other cars in the market, it goes naturally aspirated – i.e., no turbo and less torque than the average. But it has its light weight on its side, weighing only 1045kg. We timed the 0-100km/h sprint in 10.59 seconds.

The SkyActiv engine does a great job at zipping around the city streets and whizzing up to speed quickly, aided by its close ratio gearing and dancing higher in the rev range. But when you need to get things really moving, for example, to overtake or to proceed up a hill with a load, it lags. Putting your accelerator further down doesn’t make much difference to when you’re driving placidly. It’s fair to say this generally doesn’t happen often. And when it does, we’d be happy to roll with the punches given the Mazda2’s cheap and fuss-free nature.

Surprisingly, with our punishing tests of the little 1.5-litre unit, fuel consumption is very reasonable for a non-hybrid car. The official average is 5.3L/100km and our average over 400km was only 6.0L/100km. Impressive.

It doesn’t require the more expensive 95 RON fuel either. And it can run on the cheaper E10 ethanol blended fuel. A perfect car for junior drivers who might have a tight budget. The engine start/stop feature is not near as intrusive as others we have experienced. The engine resumes quicker and smoother than expected.

Behind the wheel, the steering is light and effortless to swing. The suspension is also soft enough to absorb road imperfections, but not enough to make it feel saggy around corners. In fact, thanks to its small size and lightness, it feels nimble around city streets, conveying minimal lean around corners. Only when really thrown around a curve, the grip is the first aspect to fade likely due to the tiny 185/60 tyres.

Its size makes it super easy to park – a big reason why it would appeal to drivers new to driving. However, the side mirrors are small and offer limited vision. The standard rear-view camera comes in handy here.

Thankfully, there are no soul-sucking CVT auto transmissions to be seen in the Mazda2. Instead, a close ratio six-speed auto leads the way. It’s an auto that is adequately programmed to match the capabilities of the car. In other words, the gear ratios help to keep the revs up where the most magic happens. Though, our test car’s transmission had a couple of jerky moments.

2022 Mazda2 Pure SP – THE VIDEO

2022 Mazda2 Pure SP – THE VERDICT

The humble Mazda2 makes for a cheap, down-to-earth, and simple-to-drive small hatch. It’s a perfect choice for new drivers, or drivers who don’t need overwhelming designs or distracting features – cars like this are becoming rare.

You get the basic pull-up handbrake, no proximity key sensors, auto headlights or wipers. But the necessary safety features like emergency braking and lane-keeping aid are still included to keep you safe. You would also appreciate how frugal it is on fuel.

The newly added Pure SP spec adds a bit of zing to its appearance and yet it still won’t break the bank.

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]PROS:
– Surprisingly low fuel consumption without being a hybrid vehicle
– Down to earth and oh so simple to drive and park
– Start/stop feature is one of the quickest, least impeding
– Great for drivers who don’t want pesky features butting into their drive
– Fast on getting up to speed when driving regularly[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]CONS:
– Manual still available but not on SP
– Auto transmission has some jerky moments
– Side mirrors are small and offer limited vision
– No centre armrest[/column][end_columns]

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

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