There are a few things that come to mind when tuning is mentioned, Japanese, rear wheel drive, turbos and culture. The Mazda 2 ticks one, maybe two of those boxes, so why would this small shopping trolley be on my list of cars that I think should be tuned? Well, when the 2 came out, reviewers praised its brilliant handling abilities, but were puzzled as you could only have up to 105 hp as standard, some thought a more powerful version would come in form of an MPS, but nothing came.
The new 2 is also 60KG Lighter than the mini MPV it replaces, but it also safer bucking the trend for new cars. This was achieved by Mazda`s engineers looking at everything about the car and trying to shed weight however they could, they found 1kg in the speakers and 2.5kg in the front seats alone. Overall the car weighs just under a tonne helping the handling and performance.
The standard 2 was reviewed by Evo magazine in a test of a group of warm hatches, it was the least powerful and was there as a kind of wild card, as it was the slowest car to 60 in the test. Evo felt it had “untapped potential’, I think the car could be transformed by turbo charging the engine aiming for around 180-200hp, matching the figures of hot hatchbacks like the Fiesta ST and Clio 200 with less weight.
The Mazda 2’s sweet handling leaves very little to be desired, but the 2010 facelift softened the suspension. This can be fixed by fitting Mazda’s own lowering springs, also giving a sportier look. With all that power and so little weight the car is bound to torque steer and may under-steer around corners, this can be resolved with a limited-slip differential.
Compared to the first Generation and some its rivals, it’s a brilliant looking car with large curves and smart looking alloy wheels, this could be improved by adding some subtle modifications to make it looks more sporty; you cloud even use an MPS badge.
One of the best things about this project is that if you brought a 2 year old car or a dealer demonstrator, the whole thing could be done for less than a standard Ford Fiesta ST. Another thing as with any modification projects- it will be your car, unique to you. Personally I’d get a red one and make it look like an OEM Mazda 2 MPS, but you could also make a sleeper with steel wheels and plastic housings where the fog lights should be, I’ll leave it up to you.