Revised for 2017, the Mazda 2 gets GT branding, but not GT spirit
The Mazda 2 is a perennial supermini bridesmaid. Although good, another model has always come along to steal its thunder. Even this latest model, when it debuted a few years ago, had strengths such as decent engines and excellent infotainment undone by the overall excellence of the bigger, comfier and quieter Skoda Fabia.
Back to the drawing board for 2017’s round of revisions. Mazda’s dropped the marginal-interest diesel, leaving just a single 1.5-litre petrol engine in 74bhp, 89bhp and 113bhp guise. All of them will be quieter as Mazda’s fitted more soundproofing.
Mazda 2 1.5 Skyactiv-G 90 GT
Engine: 1.5 petrol
Torque: 109lb ft
Top speed: 114mph
Economy: 62.8mpg combined
CO2/BIK band: 105g/km/20%
There are two new trim lines GT and GT Sport, plus interesting new handling tech called G-Vectoring Control. This masterminds how much drive is being sent to each front wheel: it can vary it corner to corner, which improves the car’s handling. Other suspension and steering changes aim to improve the drive.
But for all the fuss, we didn’t really notice this G-Vectoring Control system. It hasn’t made the Mazda 2 any more inspiring, so it remains decent rather than outstanding, and a Fiesta is still the more entertaining car to drive. Mazda insists it’s improved the ride quality, but we didn’t find much evidence in the GT car: its 16-inch wheels jostled and jolted passengers rather too much for a humdrum supermini.
The 1.5-litre engine is capable enough, provided you rev it: there’s no turbocharger to spice up the response at low revs. Do so, and it’s a noisy motor, sending vibrations through the controls, although the rest of the Mazda 2 is now quieter thanks to that improved sound deadening kit.
Mazda of course hasn’t been able to make the 2 any bigger inside. It’s OK for adults in the front but a bit tight for those in the rear. Boot space is off the pace too, meaning it remains some way behind the Skoda Fabia for practicality. The quality of its plastics is more impressive, and it feels built to last, while new a steering wheel and seat trims help it look more modern.
The infotainment system remains a good-looking, easy to use system, that has a premium-like functionality to it. We just wish Mazda had taken the opportunity of this facelift to add in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
Overall, we’re a bit disappointed by this GT-model Mazda 2. It has enough styling features to make it look stand-out, but we don’t think they justify a price tag of over £16,000, particularly as the ride has been spoiled by those bigger wheels. You’re better off with a regular, cheaper Mazda 2 in SE-L trim; and if you want one of the supermini sector’s front-runners, you’re better off still with the bigger, nicer-driving, cheaper Skoda Fabia. Always the bridesmaid, Mazda…