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Mazda 2’s future in doubt as still no word on a replacement model


Now approaching a decade old, the current generation Mazda 2 may be the last of its kind and another fall guy in the dwindling city car segment

As the Mazda 2 receives a fresh facelift for 2023, there’s still no word about an all-new version to replace this current, ageing generation.

No news is often not good news for the long-term survival of a model, and if a new 2 was due, we’d typically have heard rumblings or seen spy shots by now. 

Mazda Australia has gone quiet on anything fresh being in the works.

This is the facelifted Mazda 2

Begs the question, could the end of the road be nigh for this city car stalwart?

The current shape Mazda 2 has been with us since 2014, and a decade without a new generation landing is very unusual. 

Why wouldn’t Mazda produce a new 2?

Car companies struggle to make much margin on basic city cars. 

The recent trend has been to ditch low-spec, cheap entry-level models, or just do away with budget offerings altogether.

Several small cars have died off such as the Ford Fiesta

The city car graveyard is filling up. The Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Mitsubishi Mirage, Honda Jazz and Suzuki Baleno are no more. The Kia Rio’s soon to follow. The sub-$20,000k car is practically extinct in Australia.

But can we really imagine a Mazda showroom without the little 2?

“Obviously it’s been part of our line-up for a long time,” Mazda Australia’s marketing and product director Alastair Doak told Chasing Cars. “We’ve committed to another update (for 2023), but I can’t rule (a new generation) in or out.”

Small cars are becoming less popular in Australia

Mr Doak said he had nothing to share about a new generation, but said, rather ominously: “We’d like to offer them for as long as they’re available to us,” but for now at least, it “remains a great entry into our line-up.”

Another telling sign is that in Europe, where small cars still enjoy reasonable sales, Mazda launched a re-badged Toyota Yaris Hybrid as it’s new 2 model. Which could be one potential path forward for the city car in Australia. 

Mazda 2’s price creep

Prices have gone up for the Mazda 2 over the years

Four years ago you could hop in a Mazda Neo for $14,990 plus on-roads. Those days are long gone.

Cheapest Mazda 2 now is the $22,410 G15 Pure hatch with manual gearbox – you’re staring down $26,000 on the road, or $28,000 if you need an auto.

Regardless, we still bought over 5000 of them last year (although MG sold over 16,000 MG3s), making it eighth in Mazda’s model sales tally. So with many stronger sellers in its range, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if the little 2 was dropped, right?

2022 MG MG3 Excite front 3/4 shot
MG still sells a lot of MG3s

It’s not that simple. Having a small, cheaper offering draws younger buyers to the brand. The idea is they enjoy the product, become a badge loyalist and buy bigger and pricier Mazdas as they get older, wealthier and need more space.

In fact, Mazda’s own research shows a mighty 45 per cent of Mazda 2 buyers go on to purchase from the brand again. Evidence, if it were needed, that culling it from the range would have negative knock-on effects.

Mazda 2’s lack of ANCAP rating hurts

The Mazda 2’s ANCAP safety rating has now expired

Age is catching up with the 2 in more ways than one. Its 2015 ANCAP safety rating – conducted after this generation’s initial launch – has now expired under ANCAP’s stricter rules.

The facelifted Mazda 2 is therefore without a current rating: not a good look for a small car aimed at young drivers. A lack of central airbag or advanced AEB would prevent it from achieving a five star rating, and Mazda says it has no intention of submitting a new car for testing.

We aren’t sure how much longer the Mazda 2 will be on sale for

“We haven’t got any specific feedback from dealers about people not putting it on their shopping list because it isn’t (ANCAP) rated,” said Doak. “Who knows if that will change over time. If it does, we’ll have to have a think about if there’s another way we can address that.”

Sad as it seems, the smoke signals don’t suggest there’s much appetite from Mazda’s head office for an all-new 2, which also puts the platform-sharing CX-3 SUV’s survival into jeopardy.

It may be a case of embracing these relatively cheapie Mazdas while we’ve still got the chance.