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Mazda 2 GT 2024 review


The Mazda 2 has recently seen an update, but does the flagship GT still hold the same levels of charm of days gone by?

Good points

  • Enjoyable drive experience
  • Frugal with fuel use
  • Safe for young drivers
  • Compliant chassis
  • Comfortable, premium seats
  • Fun sport mode

Needs work

  • Loud engine works hard
  • Transmission a little confused at times
  • Touchscreen lock-out on the move
  • Dated infotainment
  • Cramped back seat
  • No rear air vents

Back in 2017, I helped my best friend with choosing his very first brand-new car. He landed on the Mazda 2.

He was after something safe, practical and cheap to run, but an option that also wouldn’t completely blow his budget.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 rear 3/4

We shopped around, going from dealership to dealership, but his heart was with one car in particular, a Soul Red Mazda 2 manual we’d spotted. We test drove it, he loved it and he bought it.

Skip forward to 2024, and I have been given the latest Mazda 2 GT for review. It’s the flagship of the Mazda 2 range and is, at $28,070 before on-roads, the most expensive a Mazda 2 has ever been. Period.

For reference, my good friend bought his base manual for $16,500 in 2017. So the 2, particularly in the GT automatic guise, is by no means the wallet-friendly car that it was in the past.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 front

Today, its price-busting position has been overtaken by budget small cars such as the MG3 and Kia Picanto. In 2023, Mazda sold just over 5000 Mazda 2s to Aussie buyers, but in 2018 Mazda sold more than double that volume, with 10,775 units shifted.

So is the Mazda 2 still a good proposition despite its shrinking popularity? And has its rising price in response to higher expectations in equipment, tech and safety, resulted in a better and safer proposition for buyers, including Mazda 2’s key demographic: those new to the roads?

And, most importantly, has the Mazda 2 retained its great traits that were easy to fall in love with back in 2017?

What are the Mazda 2 GT’s features and options for the price?

Our car on test is the GT variant, meaning it gets the full stack of features as standard.

The GT’s standard specification list includes:

  • 7.0-inch touchscreen display
  • Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 2x USB-A ports and auxiliary port
  • Analogue instrument cluster with digital speedo and fuel readout 
  • Two cup holders
  • Single-zone climate control
  • Automatic rain-sensing wipers 
  • LED headlights and daytime running lights

Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior 3

Somewhat surprisingly, this flagship GT does not gain powered seats, a centre armrest or a wireless charger despite being the top-spec variant. 

Regardless, the GT is still pretty decent value for money on the spec sheet. 

A new colour featured on this very test car, Air Stream Blue Metallic, is a no-cost option.   

How does the Mazda 2 GT drive?

It’s true: small cars can offer a surprisingly refreshing driving experience if you’ve just stepped out of an SUV. As was the case just prior to my road test of the Mazda 2 GT.

There is a lightness, peppiness and general playful nature to Mazda’s smallest hatchback. And one just not possible in a big SUV, or most any other car in most other segments for that matter.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 driving front 2

So when I climbed aboard the updated Mazda 2 GT, the positive feelings first felt back in 2017 came straight back to me right away.

Soft and comfortable ride quality, cushioned seats and a sprightly, rev-happy engine are all positive points that surface after just a few minutes on the road.

Despite being a pretty small car, the driving position of the 2 is slightly higher than what I’ve been used to of late, and unfortunately the seat won’t go any further south. Not ideal.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 driving rear

Around town, the Mazda 2 is obviously well suited to the task at hand – ducking and dodging through traffic, squeezing into that perfect car spot and managing some of Sydney’s worst roads. It does this all without fuss and settles into a nice rhythm a driver could get used to in minutes.

Mazda’s smallest car is also easy to drive and offers decent visibility front, side and rear, however the driver’s side mirror is oddly zoomed in, a trait I’ve seen in Mazdas for quite some time.

Under the bonnet of the Mazda 2 is the same 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine that is used across the entire range, producing 82kW/144Nm. Not huge numbers by any means, but enough for at least 85 percent of scenarios. The 2 weighs in at a smidge over 1100kg, so it’s certainly not a heavy thing to get moving.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior engine

For the GT, this variant is available only with a six-speed torque converter automatic. This engine loves a rev, that’s for sure, but the transmission isn’t the sweetest of things to use.

It has been obviously calibrated to get the engine into its prime operating window (with peak power coming in at a sky-high 6000rpm), which leads the engine to be quite noisy under load.

Even when going up even moderate hills, the engine certainly finds itself working hard.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior shfiter

If you want to go for a somewhat spirited drive, or need to overtake a caravanner or truck on a country road, the little 2 can be put into a sport mode.

I must admit, I was a little doubtful at first, however the sportiest setting certainly sharpens the throttle response and makes the little 1.5-litre unit feel a touch peppier. This being said, if you’re one to drive your Mazda 2 at eight-tenths or higher, I think a six-speed manual would be a more engaging, enjoyable and fun transmission choice for this vehicle.

On the highway, the Mazda 2 settles into a nice rhythm and doesn’t get physically pushed around from the wind of passing trucks (as you’d find in a Kia Picanto) and it feels surprisingly stable and happy to hum away and cruise at 110km/h.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 driving front

The GT is the only variant in the 2’s range to be offered with radar cruise control. It’s not the best system on the market, but I think all 2s should have this feature going forward.

All in all, the 2 GT retains its small car charm and offers a comfortable, fun and convenient driving experience that would suit a young buyer new to the roads, just as it has done so for many years on Australian soil.

What is the 2 GT’s interior and tech like?

Small cars can be affordable, but what are they actually like on the inside?

Being the flagship, the GT is certainly far from cheap and nasty when you sit inside. A leather steering wheel and leather and suede combination seat upholstery make the Mazda 2 feel refreshing and remarkably sports-like and premium.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior
Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior front seats

Sure, there are hard, scratchy plastics around the place, along with some frankly tacky fake carbon-fibre inserts, but the GT still proves that affordable car interiors have certainly come a long way.

I particularly like the jet turbine-style air vents that are finished in a red contrast. The design and layout of the interior remind me a lot of Audi design. Despite being the most expensive of the Mazda 2s, the GT does not gain electric seats.

Useful practicalities and features in the 2 GT include two front cupholders, two USB-A charge ports, a 12-volt power socket, an auxiliary music port and a six-speaker sound system. I found the sound system in particular to be quite tinny and a little cheap sounding.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior screen 2
Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior dial

In terms of standard technology, the main thing you’ll be interacting with as a driver is the 7.0-inch centre touchscreen that is starting to look and feel its age. It’s also a little on the small side and sits quite far up into the dash.

Mazda’s infotainment runs wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however the actual functionality of this system is not particularly intuitive.

Even though this 7.0-inch screen is a touchscreen, if you’re in anything but park you cannot use the touch functionality, which is pretty annoying.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior back seat

This makes you resort to using the circular BMW iDrive-like rotary dial, which is not set up well for navigating Spotify playlists, or simply trying to find an address quickly on Google Maps. It’s clunky and not very fluid, which is a real shame.

In the back seat, things are tight. With the driver’s seat at the position of an average-sized adult male, the space in the second row will be particularly squishy for adults. Very limited knee room and toe room could make things a little uncomfortable on a longer journey.

While there is some headroom, this space is really going to be best for younger kids.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior boot
Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior spare wheel

Unfortunately, the second row has no cup holders, no air vents and no charge ports. We tested the Mazda 2 GT on a pretty hot and humid day, and let me say it, I wouldn’t want my kids in the back seat for too long without decent ventilation.

At the very rear of the Mazda 2, owners will gain 250 litres of boot capacity. A temporary spare tyre is also included, along with a cargo blind.

The Mazda 2 remains to be a popular pick for a first car, with enough practicality and technology to keep P-platers happy. While the front seat cabin space is nicely done and feels relatively premium, the back seat is let down with a cramped layout and no air vents.

Is the 2 GT a safe car?

As of March 2024, the Mazda 2 is currently unrated by ANCAP. However, a five-star rating applies to all 2s prior to 1st January 2023.

Standard safety features for the 2 include:

  • Six airbags 
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Lane-keep assist 
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • 360-degree camera
  • Radar cruise control
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Front and rear parking sensors

Generally, these safety features work well, however, to little surprise, the lane-keep assist software cuts in and out annoyingly through the steering on the highway, even when you are dead-centre in the lane. 

Thankfully, this can be turned off – and will stay off – to avoid constant annoyance. 

What are the 2 GT’s ownership costs?

The Mazda 2 range, including GT, is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

For servicing, intervals for the 2 are every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever occurs first. Service cost for five years is $2184.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 front 3/4 close

With fuel economy, Mazda Australia claims that the 2 will use 5.0L/100km combined, however during our week of testing and well over 500 kilometres driven, our GT got pretty close to claim at 5.5L/100km. Sportier driving styles will push this figure much closer to around 7.0L/100km.

The Mazda 2 GT can run regular 91 octane unleaded fuel and has a 44-litre fuel tank.

The honest verdict on the 2 GT

I come back to the questions I posed in the beginning: Is the Mazda 2 still a solid choice for first-time buyers, and does it retain the same charm as what it had back in 2017?

In the current era of go-big SUVs in Australia and around the globe, one of the best traits of the 2 is its ability to charm you with its small car character and appeal. The GT’s bubbly, fun- to-drive nature, small car accessibility and ease-of-operation was a real win.

If I put myself in the shoes of a young buyer, particularly someone very new to the world of driving, the Mazda 2 ticks a lot of the right boxes. It’s got decent-enough levels of safety, it’s frugal with its fuel use, it offers enough technology to keep younger adults entertained and, most importantly, doesn’t feel overly cheap.

But at just over $28,000 before on-road costs, there is a bit of an expectation that it does feel premium enough for the spend. And I think the GT manages that.

What let the Mazda 2 GT down for me was largely its infotainment. Feeling dated and lacking functionality on the go, the 7.0-inch screen could be better, and simply should have been updated with the 2023 facelift.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 interior screen

As much as the Mazda 2’s buyer base will prefer an automatic 95 percent of the time, the manual version is the purer and more engaging drive.

The GT’s automatic transmission is okay, but it really means the engine works hard at peak rpms to get anywhere with any sort of urgency.

The Mazda 2 is by no means a sporting vehicle, but the addition of a sport mode actually does some wonders for the 2 dynamically.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 rear tail-light

As I conclude this review, I think back to my best friend’s Soul Red Mazda 2 manual. It was a good car then and is still to this day. My friend isn’t thinking of selling it anytime soon.

In 2017, the small car market appealed greatly to a lot of us, including my best friend and I. Small cars were being sold left, right and centre.

Now that we’re in 2024 and the market has certainly moved its way into the SUV space, small cars have fallen to the wayside.

Mazda 2 GT 2024 front 3/4

But the Mazda 2 GT proves that small cars are safe, dependable, convenient and, ultimately, can still be a good buy in 2024.

I think that no matter what happens, there should remain a place in the market for the charming small car.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Overall rating
Running costs
Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

1496 cc
81kW at 6000rpm
142Nm at 4000rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
44 litres
5.3L/100km (claimed)
Average Range
830km (claimed)
Front Wheel Drive
4085 mm
1695 mm
1495 mm
Unoccupied weight
1109 kg

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