Best & Worst Mazda 2 Years

We have ranked all Mazda 2 models in this guide, so you can avoid picking the worst Mazda 2 years and pick the best one.

In this article, I’ll analyze the second-generation Mazda 2 model years, pinpointing the best Mazda 2 years to buy and the worst Mazda 2 years you should avoid.

With in-depth research leveraging numerous reliability and owner satisfaction databases, such as NHTSA recalls and VehicleHistory, I’ll show the pros and cons of different model years to offer a well-rounded view of what to anticipate with each purchase.

You’ll explore the Mazda 2’s performance across different years, focusing on tangible metrics like resale values, engine options, and prevalent issues acknowledged by owners and experts alike.

Let’s plunge directly in.

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Table of ContentsShow

Mazda 2 Generations

The Mazda 2, originally introduced with its first generation in Japan in 1996, made a striking debut with its compact yet incredibly functional design.

Known as the Demio in its homeland and other markets, the subcompact car captured attention for its agility and efficiency, aiming to offer a commendable driving experience within urban settings.

However, the Mazda 2 entered the North American market with its second generation:

2nd generation (DE)2011-2014

Analyzing different generational models, consumers can comprehend the chronological development, technological advancements, design transformations, and any intrinsic issues or highlights pertinent to specific years or ranges.

Mazda 2 Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When determining the best and worst Mazda 2 years, we draw data from a broad range of trusted sources, including but not limited to:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

The forthcoming graph visualizes the combined ratings from the sources above.

Mazda 2 Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Here is a table categorizing all second-generation Mazda 2 years as the best, neutral, and worst Mazda 2 years.

Best YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years

Neutral years signify those model years that neither excel in performance, reliability, and owner satisfaction nor falter significantly.

Some factors, such as NHTSA recalls, inherently contribute negatively to the vehicle’s categorization. A high number of complaints and recalls implies a decrease in the car’s reliability.

Let’s dive into the specifications for the best, neutral, and worst years of the Mazda 2.

Best & Worst Years for Mazda 2 2nd Generation (2011-2014)

Mazda 2 2nd generation 2011 model
The 2011 Mazda 2

The 2nd Generation of the Mazda 2, from 2011 to 2014, offered a compact yet spirited drive, marking an era of economical, elegant, and reliable motoring for the brand.

The later years of the generation – 2012, 2013, and 2014 are Mazda 2’s best years, while 2011 is the Mazda 2 year to avoid.

The Best Years: 2012, 2013, 2014

With exceptional fuel efficiency and good owner ratings from platforms like VehicleHistory,, and J.D. Power, 2012, 2013, and 2014 are the best Mazda 2 years of the generation.

A consistent 1.5L 4-cylinder engine across these years enabled outputs of 100 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque, ensuring enough pep for the lightweight, compact car.

In 2012, drivers could opt between the 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic transmission, providing flexibility in driving styles.

Trim levels, specifically Sport and Touring, offered variances such as cruise control, a trip computer, and a six-speaker sound system to elevate the driving experience in the Touring variant.

The 2013 Mazda 2 brought a slight reshuffle in the features, with USB inputs becoming standard, facilitating enhanced user connectivity.

Despite the praise, the 2013 Mazda 2 model also received criticism due to electrical system problems, significantly impacting its reliability rating amongst owners.

The 2014 Mazda 2 can be applauded for maintaining the reliability that Mazda 2 was renowned for, although some critics pointed out the absence of a telescoping steering wheel and limited rear headroom as potential drawbacks.

The Worst Years: 2011

With relatively low owner satisfaction scores and some reliability issues, 2011 is the Mazda 2 year you should avoid.

Steering problems, as evidenced by numerous owner complaints, depicted a scenario where the steering column was prone to rattling and sporadically failed at lower speeds.

Such a precarious issue spelled potential financial setbacks due to repairs and illuminated stark safety concerns.

Moreover, issues regarding seat structures prompted recalls, thrusting the model into further scrutiny and diminishing its perceived reliability.

See 2011 Mazda 2 recalls and complaints.

Mazda 2 Average Resale Values

Explore the following graph, showcasing a detailed perspective on the Mazda 2’s average resale values across various years.

Mazda 2 Average List Price


After exploring the Mazda 2 model years, considering a choice within 2012-2014 models emerges as a potentially reliable and shrewd investment, balancing cost and dependability efficiently.

Was there a particular year or model of the Mazda 2 that caught your attention?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.