It’s been a couple of months since we took delivery of our 2017 Mazda 2 Neo long-termer, and in that time it’s been driven by numerous CarAdvice employees.
So far we’ve covered urban commuting, infotainment, along with interior comfort and practicality. However we haven’t really heard from the wider team.
In that case, for this latest update, here are some impressions of the ‘Red Rocket’ from some of the CarAdvice Melbourne staff.
Mandy Turner – Road Tester & Podcast Host
I really came to like the Mazda 2, but at the beginning, I wasn’t a fan. Without the infotainment screen, it felt like an early Noughties hatch. Every time you reverse, you look for the rear-view camera, or you reach for the Mazda scroll wheel, but they’re not there! This does take some getting used to.
I found the engine to be a bit noisy on the freeway, but nothing its crisp stereo system couldn’t mask! The engine isn’t super powerful, but you grow to mould with it. It’s not a car that will get you from A to B quickly, but that’s a reason why I love it. It’s carefree to drive, and every time you get behind that snazzy steering wheel, it feels like you’re taken care of.
Scott Davison – Product and Marketing Director
I found it very easy to nip through the backstreets of Richmond and it’s very easy to park. It is incredible value for money in my opinion – makes much more sense than a CX-3 which is some $5000 more for basically the same car, right?
As a small car, I would recommend the Mazda 2 for sure. Personally, I would go for the manual as the auto seemed to lack a bit of grunt at times, and let’s face it, small cars are usually more fun in manual anyway. Plus, it saves another $2000 on the price meaning for under $15,000 you can have a brand new Mazda 2 with a three-year warranty. That’s pretty amazing really.
Obviously, the infotainment is the big sacrifice you have to make on this model. It’s very basic. But for someone like my mum, who just needs Bluetooth paired once and only listens to 3AW or talks on the phone, this would actually be a really good car for her. I guess for the younger buyers the infotainment will be a drawback and potentially a show-stopper. But apart from that, I would put a young first-time driver in a Mazda 2 for sure. Perfect car for them in fact.
The boot was big enough for some groceries and the cabin felt basic but good. Very familiar having driven a few Mazdas now, they all feel very similar. It drove nicely and it handled really well. And, well, it was red.
Shame they are so common but I guess there is a good reason for that.
Marika Zhu – Southern Region Sales Director
It’s cute and a pretty straightforward car. Nimble and comfortable around corners, bumps, and the highway. For a base model and engine, you can still comfortably overtake when you need.
Sure, it lacks a little bit of grunt but you can’t expect too much in a base model. It’s extremely comfortable on long drives, and the quietness of the cabin on highway was also very impressive.
What frustrated me was the infotainment – specifically connecting to the Bluetooth. There’s a voice recognition function, however, which is pretty solid. The pick of the bunch would definitely be a model with the MZD screen, because the Neo’s infotainment is far too basic and cheapens the car a little.
All in all, a good little car from A to B.
Tom Fraser – Senior Photographer
I’m a big fan of the Mazda 2 and think it’s very much suited to its purpose. Sure, if you’re a young person and it’s your first car, the lack of an infotainment screen might annoy. However, it still has a lot of capability and you shouldn’t let that get you down.
Personally, I think it’s the perfect car for an older generation. No screens or gadgets to become distracted by, fuel efficient, tidy interior and just the right amount of power.
It performed really well around town, with a comfortable ride and pliant suspension, and the gearbox made more sense to me than a dual-clutch or continuously variable transmission.
It was frustrating having to plant the throttle whenever you wanted to overtake on the freeway, however. Much more suited to the inner city streets and those in urban environments.
Great little car at a nice price-point, most definitely should be at or near the top of your light car shopping list.