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Used car focus: Mazda2 – 2003 on

The 2 may be a Mazda, but it’s based on the Ford Fiesta and Fusion, and built in Ford’s Spanish factory.

It offers exceptional versatility and a rejuvenated badge image thanks to funkier Mazdas like the RX-8 and MX-5. The mixture of Ford durability and Mazda’s reliability means it’s a sturdy and dependable alternative to mainstream superminis.

Driving and performance

A 1.2-litre with 73bhp is the entry-level unit. It feels nippy around town, despite not being that quick to 60mph. The 1.4 petrol has a bit more grunt, but doesn’t offer much over the 1.25.

The 1.6 is as close as the 2 gets to having a ‘hot’ version, though it still can’t crack 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds.

Pick of the engines is the 1.4-litre diesel; it’s quiet, refined at speed and very economical. Although based on the Fiesta and Fusion, it feels different to both cars on the road. The suspension is firmer and it’s more fun to drive, in-keeping with Mazda’s sporty brand image.

The driving position is pretty high, which means that there’s excellent all-round visibility, though the steering wheel adjusts for height only.

The dash is attractively designed, with contrasting blacks and greys and a lime green surround to the stereo. It’s generally easy to use, with all the main stereo and heater controls well grouped.

A four-start Euro NCAP car with twin front airbags. Sidebags are offered on the Sport (optional on other models), while ABS was initially only an option on the entry-level S. This was rectified in 2004 when it became standard. All have an alarm, deadlocks and immobilizer.

#AM_ART_SPLIT# Fast movers
Mazda2 1.4-litre diesel
Powerful, refined and economical, but expensive.
Trade: 0303-0505: £4,300-5,700. Retail: 0303-0505: £5,700-7,700

Mazda2 1.25 models
Willing, peppy engine; great around town.
Trade: 0303-0505: £3,850-4,900. Retail: 0303-0505: £5,200-6,500

Ones to avoid

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