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Mazda 2 Tuning Guide & Best Mods

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Table of Contents


Looking to upgrade your Mazda 2?

Perhaps you’re thinking some snazzy new wheels, or maybe a nice sporty exhaust.

Or maybe you have no idea and are looking for inspiration. If so, we’ve got you covered!

Let’s take a quick look at the different variations of this car then have a look at the best visual and performance mods available.

There are multiple Mazda 2 models available, each with their own unique spec and engines. 

1st Generation:

In 2002, Mazda unveiled the Mazda 2. It offered a variety of engine options for both petrol and diesel ranging from 1.3L to 1.6L available with both an automatic and manual transmission.

2nd Generation: 

The second generation of the Mazda 2 was introduced in 2007, and came with similar engine options to the previous generation with both petrol and diesel available. This version was slightly smaller and features a more modernised exterior.

3rd Generation:

The third generation of the Mazda 2 was introduced in 2014, and features the most up to date engine technology with a hybrid version also being available.

There were also various specs such as the Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. 

The later Mazda 2’s tend to respond the best to power upgrades. 

While there are various variations, they all leave a blank canvas for customisation and upgrades.

Regardless of which model you own, we’ll cover mods applicable to them all.

Aftermarket Wheels

Wheels really can make or break the look of your car.

One of the easiest and most effective ways you can transform the visual look of your Mazda 2 is to fit a set of aftermarket wheels.

The majority of Mazda 2’s on the road tend to be unmodified and running the standard wheels, so going aftermarket can really make it stand out. 

The majority of the factory wheels on these car’s come as 15, 16 or 17 inch depending on your year and model. If you aren’t wanting to go aftermarket, then you could of course look at upsizing to a larger set of factory wheels. 

Larger diameter wheels visually changes the car’s profile, raising it slightly and giving it a more dominant presence. 

If you’re going aftermarket, it’s a good idea to aim for wheels that mirror or match as close as possible to the factory wheel specs. This may vary slightly depending the model and year of your Mazda 2. 

For example on earlier generations of the Mazda 2, the bolt pattern is 4×108. On some of the newer models the pattern is 4×100.

It’s important to check your Mazda 2’s handbook to find out the proper wheel specs. This will save you any headaches and having to mess around with adapter and running into potential clearance issue with the fenders and other components like the brakes. is also a great resource if you are unsure. 


Wheel Spacers

Wheel spacers are a simple upgrade that can drastically change the look of your Mazda 2. By bringing the wheels out more in line with the body of the car, they give it a much more streamlined and slick stance. 

There are also functional reasons you may need wheel spacers. 

If you are going for aftermarket wheels that are out with the OEM wheel specs, then spacers may be required. Or if you plan on installing larger brake calipers or upgrading your wheels to a wider size, wheel spacers can help create the necessary clearance.

On the standard wheels, 20mm on the front and 30mm spacers will generally make the wheels sit flush with the body of the car.

If you are running aftermarket wheels with a different offset then this will vary.

Lowering Springs

Lowering springs are a fantastic mod if you are looking to give your Mazda a lowered and more aggressive stance while also improve handling. 

By reducing the gap between the tires and wheel wells, the car’s stance becomes sleeker and more streamlined.

The performance advantages of lowering springs should not be overlooked either. By lowering the car’s centre of gravity, these springs provide superior handling and cornering capabilities.

The reduced body roll from these springs can increase grip, enabling you to tackle sharp turns with enhanced precision and confidence.

The most common drop height is 30mm for the front and rear. 

If you are wanting to go lower than this, then you can look into coilovers which allow you to adjust the ride height among other settings. 

Going too low can cause scraping issues with speed bumps and put excessive wear on the standard shocks so 30mm is the maximum recommend amount without other work being done. 

You can get lowering springs from Prosport and H&R.

Prosport Lowering Springs

For the Mazda 2 MK3 (2007-2015)

Front Splitter

Fitting a front splitter to the Mazda 2 can enhance both its aesthetic appeal and even the performance.

From an aesthetic perspective, this accessory adds a sporty and more aggressive edge to the car’s design. It can also give the impression of a lowered stance at the front, which can look real nice if the car is lowered slightly. 

When it comes to performance benefits, these are only really worth talking about with the larger splitters. 

These splitters redirect air around the car, reducing drag and increasing downforce at the front wheels which can help with cornering. 

On it’s own you likely won’t notice any performance benefits but on the track with some other aero and handling mods, it can definitely make a difference in the corners if set up correctly. 

You can go for a subtle option or go for something that’s a bit bolder and more aggressive with sharper lines. The splitters below give you both those options.

Mazda 2 Front Splitter

Mazda 2 Front Splitter

For the Mazda 2 (2014-2021)

Mazda 2 Front Lip

For the Mazda 2 MK2 (2007-2014)

Performance Exhaust

While the stock exhaust system serves its purpose, enthusiasts owners often consider upgrading to an aftermarket exhaust system to enhance performance and improve the Mazda 2’s audible character.

With a more free flowing exhaust with less restriction, you can gain some additional power higher up in the rev range. Aftermarket exhausts are also usually lighter than stock systems, which can lead to improved performance when it comes to acceleration and handling.

While the performance gains are small, you may be wanting to upgrade the exhaust to get some more sound from your tailpipes. 

Aftermarket exhausts often produce a deeper, throatier growl, which adds character to your vehicle and gives it a sportier feel.

When looking for increased sound, make sure you invest in a quality system. Cheap and poorly designed exhausts will increase noise, but not always in a good way. With poorly designed exhausts you may find droning being introduced to the cabin at motorway speeds which can get very annoying.

RacingBeat and HKS both make exhaust systems for the Mazda 2. You can also opt for a custom one by a local exhaust shop.

Aftermarket Air Intake

If you’re looking for increased induction noise and a slight boost in performance, then an aftermarket air intake could be right up your street.

These systems are engineered to eliminate restrictive elements in stock intake systems, hence promoting smoother airflow. 

Injen offer an intake for the Mazda 2 that has proven dyno gains of +7hp and +8lb-ft of torque. This intake also features a heat shield to protect the intake from the engine bay heat. The cooler the air going into the intake, the more dense it is. The more dense it is, the more power your engine can produce!

Aside from the performance improvements, you can also get a nice growl when on the throttle. This comes from the faster-moving and less restricted air moving through the intake system. This is a lot more subtle than an exhaust mod for sound so could be a good starting point if you’re looking for a little extra noise.

Brake Upgrades

The standard brakes on the Mazda 2 are sufficient for day to day driving in most scenarios, however if you like to drive hard or participate in track days then upgrading your breaks can be a good idea. 

There aren’t many big brake kit options out there that would fit vey easily with some custom work. 

Your best bet is to go for a set of upgraded brake pads, braided brake lines and high temperature brake fluid. this is ideal for the track ensuring the pads will last longer if you are braking hard as well as ensuring braking ability isn’t compromised as much by heat. 

If you are looking for an affordable road focused brakes with some extra stopping power, then you can look at this brake upgrade kit.

If you are after maximum braking performance (think track driving) then a big brake conversion kit is ideal. Ksport have a kit which you can check out here.

If you are happy with the standard brakes on your Mazda 2, then you could always opt for a cosmetic upgrade by painting the brake calipers. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive mod that you can do yourself.

Painting them the colour of the body of your Mazda can be a nice touch!

Rear Anti-Roll Bar/Sway Bar

Adding an upgraded rear anti-roll bar to a light car like the Mazda 2 can greatly improve its handling characteristics.

The rear anti-roll bar, also known as a sway bar, helps reduce body roll during cornering. By connecting the left and right sides of the suspension, it stiffens the chassis and reduces the car’s inclination to lean excessively while turning.

Generally, the stiffer the anti-roll bar, the less boy roll.

Another fantastic benefit is that a stiffer anti-roll bar on the rear can help reduce understeer which is a prominent handling characteristic on a FWD car like this. 

Understeer occurs when the front tires lose grip and the car tends to push wide in corners. If you’ve ever tracked your Mazda 2 then you will likely know all about this. A stiffer anti roll bar combats this and allows for a tighter turn in to the corner. 

There are a couple of different options depending on the generation of your Mazda 2.

For the later models (2015+), then you can look at the Ultra Racing rear anti-roll bar.

For earlier versions you can check out the Whiteline anti-roll bar on eBay.

Finishing Thoughts

The Mazda 2 can be a great fun car to customise. Due to it’s affordability and general reliability, you will hopefully have some spare money left over for some upgrades and customisation. 

Whether it’s visual upgrades or performance upgrades, there are a lot of options out there.

When it comes to increasing the power, there isn’t a lot of potential unfortunately due to these being generally low powered naturally aspirated engines. Of course with custom work and a turbo or engine swap then you can definitely turn it into a monster, but large power increases aren’t available without significant work.

A free flowing exhaust, intake and a remap is the best value for money power mods you should do.  

The performance potential from these cars doesn’t lie in the power though, but rather their agility and low weight. By fitting a set of lowering springs and a stiffer rear anti-roll bar, you can transform the way the car handles and keep up with many cars on the track that come with more power. 

Happy modding!