Cars > Peek

The Mazda 2’s angry face makes its way to the sedan

First seen in the hatchback, this refresh has been polarizing at best

The ‘New Wave Design’ of the Mazda 2 is a love-it-or-hate-it thing. PHOTO FROM MAZDA

The Mazda 2 has always been one of the most fun-to-drive subcompacts around. And since the Kodo design motif started, it has also been one of the most stylish in the segment. But as we’ve shared with you recently, updates to the nine-year-old car have been the talk of the town.

The second-generation 2—and almost all Mazdas back then—had a ‘smirk’ on its face. Thankfully, the use of the Kodo design language has corrected this, making the subcompact car one of the best-looking cars you can buy. But when Mazda unveiled the refreshed third generation, the comments it got were polarizing at best.

We’re cool with the body-colored interior trim. We’re not so sure about the front grille and the hub cap design, though. PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

For one, the smirk on the second generation has now become a frown, thanks to the front bumper’s new design. Most importantly, many believe that it ruined the subcompact’s otherwise neat-looking face.

Mazda did this by covering the grille with a huge body-colored panel. And if that’s not enough, it even added equally eccentric-looking hubcap covers for the 15-inch steelies the car had. Like the cover on the grille, these hubcaps do have color-matched elements with the body.

The simpler but better-looking Sport versions are what we hope the Philippine-market units will look like. PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

The eccentricity continues inside with bioplastic-made panels on the dash that are finished to match the exterior’s color. These styling changes got a lot of us asking: Is the Hiroshima-based automaker back to making questionable styling decisions again?

Thankfully, there are still Sport variants of the car that have better-looking grilles and two-tone 16-inch alloy wheels. Also, the Sport variants have a black dash with red contrast stitching, red vent frames, and ‘Grand Luxe Suede’ materials used in some trims.

New finishes include Air Stream Blue and Aero Gray. PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

The refreshed 2 has just made its way to the ASEAN market through Thailand, from which we source our units. Now, we catch a glimpse of what this latest design direction for Mazda looks like in sedan form.

In Thailand, the C, S and XD variants get the “New Wave Design,” while the SP and XDL variants get the more palatable Sport design.

These are available with the existing set of colors and the two newest finishes, Aero Gray and Air Stream Blue.

There are Mazda 2 Special Edition variants, complete with weird liveries. PHOTO FROM MAZDA

But as if the oddness isn’t enough, Mazda Thailand is offering special editions of the 2 hatchback, complete with unconventional color combinations on the subcompact car’s body.

The interior receives some tech goodies, too. PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

Some variants also get a wireless charger, a six-way power driver seat with two memory presets, and a 360° camera.

The 1.3-liter petrol and 1.5-liter diesel engines are retained for the Mazda 2. PHOTO FROM MAZDA

Other than those mentioned, not much has been changed with the car. That means Thai-spec models still get either a 1.3-liter Skyactiv-G petrol engine that makes 91hp and 123Nm, or a very desirable 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D oil-burner making 103hp and 250Nm. Both are paired with a six-speed Skyactiv-Drive automatic transmission.

Whether the car’s front end is smirking or scowling, the person behind the wheel will surely be grinning. PHOTOS FROM MAZDA

It’s just a matter of time before this refreshed 2 reaches our shores. But if Mazda Philippines is listening, we hope that the New Wave Design variants won’t make it here.

And while we’re at it, can we at least get an option for one with that sweet oil-burner?

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.