Mazda 2 1.5 Sport Black (2015) review

Published:21 September 2015

Ironic the Mazda 2 Black we tested was, err, white
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

► Special edition version of popular SE-L Nav
► Sharper styling, optional graphics, extra kit
► 1.5 sweet but means more show than go

Well, the Mazda 2 Sport Black certainly looks the part. A limited edition based on the SE-L Nav spec we tested earlier in the year, Mazda has thrown the accessories catalogue at it, and enough bits stuck to give it the appearance of quite the junior nutcase. The graphics packs might be a bit Fast and Furious, but we can’t think of any supermini-sized hot hatch that betters it for visual presence. 

But therein lies the rub. With the same 89bhp 1.5-litre engine as the standard car, the Mazda 2 Sport Black looks like it’s writing cheques its performance can’t cash…

So the Mazda 2 Sport Black isn’t a hot hatch?

Nope. Instead, the Sport Black is more of a trier more a doer. The naturally aspirated engine sounds sweet enough, and with just 1050kg (we’ll come back to this) to haul around it gives its best quite keenly, helped by the neat and tidy action of the five-speed manual gearbox. But it’s never going to get the blood racing to the extent suggested by that exterior. 

So although 0-62mph in 9.4sec isn’t exactly glacial, you can’t help wishing someone had ‘accidentally’ diverted the Mazda MX-5’s 129bhp version of the 1.5 onto the Mazda 2 production line. At least then the Sport Black could have given the Suzuki Swift Sport a run for its money – the 134bhp Swift being the only non-turbo warm hatch you can currently buy.

It does look good though, doesn’t it?

To these eyes, definitely. Mazda’s taken the modern but soft-edged shape of its supermini baby and sharpened the extremities with a Brilliant Black front splitter, sideskirts and roof spoiler. Together with the new 16-inch alloys – an inch bigger than the SE-L Nav’s standard – and the ‘Race’ graphic pack above the sills the conspire to make the Mazda 2 look hunkered down and lower.

The Race graphics are one of two optional sticker sets, the other being the ‘Kodo’ decals that trail back from the headlights like eyeliner in a hurricane. You can have both – as per the test car – either, or neither, depending on your preference.

There’s also a choice of two premium colours included as part of the price – Snowflake White pearlescent, as pictured, or Soul Red metallic. You can also choose to have the mirrors in red on the white car, or black on the red car. Chrome tailpipe garish – sorry, garnish – comes included.

How does it handle?

There are no chassis mods beyond the increase in wheel diameter – but that’s hardly a deal breaker. While the Mazda 2 is less frenetic than a Fiesta, and consequently less pointy in the turns, it is marvellously poised without recourse to an utterly punishing ride. It’s firm, sure – especially with these bigger wheels – but not uncomfortable, and you can spirit it along with all the willing that modest engine can muster.

The positive outcome of keeping the ordinary engine is the impressive economy – on paper this car emits just 105g/km and returns a claimed 62.8mpg. Out in the real world you won’t match this, but you can expect to get closer than the Ecoboost Fiesta does to its figures, especially when you’re pedalling hard. It’s one of the advantages of Mazda’s defiantly anti-turbo stance.

Anything else that makes the Mazda 2 Sport Black special?

The Mazda 2 SE-L Nav is already stacked with an unusual amount of standard kit – including Mazda’s iDrive-alike MZD Connect infotainment system, which far surpasses anything else available in this segment for slick ease of use, sat-nav included. There’s also DAB radio, lane departure warning and autonomous city braking. The interior feels special, too, with an interesting, intricate design that shows clear family ties to the MX-5 and nice – albeit occasionally reflective – surfaces.

The Sport Black takes this base and piles on the extras. In addition to all the external pampering – which includes up to £650’s worth of paint as standard – you get auto lights and wipers, rear parking sensors and privacy glass. The only amusing thing about all this is that Mazda quotes the same 1050kg weight for both models.

Verdict

At £15,395, the Mazda 2 Sport Black isn’t exactly cheap, but given the included extras, at £1000 more than the equivalent SE-L Nav you certainly get value for your money. Since the Mazda 2 is also one of our favourite superminis – good to drive, well packaged and seemingly well engineered – the Sport Black should be quite the tempter. Hell, we even think Mazda’s done a decent job of the graphics. Pretty please can we have one with a more powerful engine?

Specs

Price when new: £14,925
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1496cc 16v four-cylinder petrol, 89bhp @ 6000rpm, 109lb ft @ 4000rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 9.4sec 0-62mph, 114mph, 62.8mpg, 105g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1050kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4060/1695/1495mm

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Photo Gallery

  • Black graphics an option on the Mazda 2 Sport Black
  • Kit aplenty, but not much shove
  • Brilliant multi-function screen and iDrive-style controller best in class
  • Good to drive. But whither the MX-5's punchier 1.5?
  • Our Sport Black costs £14,925
  • Five doors only for the Mazda 2
  • Rear seats roomy enough, but this isn't the biggest supermini on sale

By CJ Hubbard

Former CAR magazine associate editor, road tester, organiser, extremely variable average wheel count

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