While the Ford Fiesta gets all the limelight, the Mazda 2 is where the design originally met the road.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Aug 14, 2010
Mazda2 - $13,980 to start plus $750 Destination. The 5-Speed MT is rated at 29/35 MPG (city/highway) while the 4-Speed AT is rated at a paltry 27/33 MPG (city/highway).
For the first time in North America, Mazda is introducing its own affordable, fun-sized creation - the 2011 Mazda2.
Meet Zoom-Zoom in a more concentrated form.
The Mazda2 is the latest in a long line of fun-to-drive small cars from Mazda. The Mazda2 was designed and engineered from scratch to be a Mazda, offering the sort of driving experience that could only come from the company that developed the timeless MX-5 two-seat roadster and the iconic super handling Mazda3 but in the form of a 5-door for the B-Segment subcompact class.
Originally launched in Europe in 2007, the Mazda2 is unique thanks in part to its distinguished engineering design and excellent handling performance. Since its release, the Mazda2 has been acclaimed throughout the world, winning 48 automotive awards, including "Car of the Year" accolades in Japan, New Zealand, Chile, Bulgaria and Greece. The Mazda2 was selected as the "2008 World Car of the Year" (WCOTY) at the 2008 New York International Auto Show.
With the awards now behind it, total global sales have reached over 400,000 in the three years since its introduction.
When developing the new 2, Mazda mimicked global trends and worked to instill a number of desired attributes into the global subcompact. As a result, the new 2 provides an invigorating driving performance along with an eye-catching design without sacrificing the basic requirements for subcompact cars including superior fuel efficiency, admirable crash safety performance and reasonable passenger space. While other carmakers increased the size of their small cars, Mazda's first mission was to define the optimal size of a subcompact. This resulted in a very efficient body size for the new 2 without sacrificing to many features demanded of today’s consumer.
The basic form of the 2 is a combination of sportiness and simplicity. While European competitors are producing subcompact cars with a focus on a boxy body form to function, (can you say Golf
), Mazda shortened the body overhangs and trimmed the corners to the greatest extent possible while providing a decent size interior with a desirable exterior.
The 2011 Mazda2 is available in six exterior colors - Brilliant Black Clearcoat, Liquid Silver, True Red, Crystal White Pearl, Aquatic Blue (late availability) and Spirited Green (the color we are currently driving).
The interior design team made the 2's cabin different then most with an optimized shape of the A-pillars. When combined with an extremely low belt line, provides superior forward visibility and feels surprisingly open and roomy.
The controls are concentrated in the central area, and those that are frequently used by the driver are as close as possible to the driver.
A simple center-stack shape is complemented by some piano black trim. Both audio and climate controls are laid out for easy legibility with related control buttons grouped according to function for ease of use.
All Mazda2's include a long list of standard safety features including the following:
- Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
- Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
- Traction Control System (TCS)
- Electric Power Assist (EPAS) steering system
- "Triple H" body construction, side-impact door beams, crushable brake and accelerator pedal assembly
- Advanced dual front air bags, front seat side air bags, side air curtains
- Engine immobilizer anti-theft system
- Second row LATCH child safety seat anchors
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
The 2 will also be the first Mazda vehicle in North America with a Brake Override system. This system prioritizes the brake pedal over the accelerator pedal, should both be engaged simultaneously, allowing the vehicle to be brought to a safe stop. Activation of this system will be recorded in the electronic Powertrain Control Module (PCM) and will be readable with the correct equipment. Mazda is planning to roll out this new system to all future Mazda vehicles in North America during the 2011 model year.
The 2011 Mazda2 is available in two trim levels - the entry-level Sport and top-grade Touring. Both trim levels offer features and style consumers want and at a price they can afford.
The well-equipped Mazda2 Sport is powered by a 100 horsepower, 1.5L I4 equipped with either a five-speed manual or an ancient by today’s standards. 4-speed automatic. Standard features include 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers, 185/55/R15 all-weather tires, body-colored door handles and power mirrors, A/C, power windows and door locks, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with four speakers, audio auxiliary jack, tilt steering wheel, remote keyless entry system, rear window wiper/washer and 60/40 split fold-down rear seats.
The Mazda2 Touring takes the Sport and takes it up a notch. All Touring models feature upgraded cloth seat fabric with red piping, 15-inch alloys, fog lights, rear roof spoiler, chrome exhaust tip, leather-wrapped steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, trip computer and a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo system.
Available accessories include a rear bumper guard, wheel locks (Touring models only), all-weather floor mats, cargo net, center console with armrest
(trust me, you will want this feature) and auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, Homelink and orange backlit buttons.
Ride and handling
Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom driving experience is alive and well in the 2.
Mazda’s driving experience strives for two key attributes:
- A sense of linear acceleration and deceleration that responds crisply to accelerator input.
- And 2, a sense of liveliness through immediate response to the accelerator.
The development team targeted a performance feel without adversely impacting on the Mazda2's fuel economy as a subcompact car.
The new 2 includes standard for the sub and compact industry MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion-beam axle at the rear.
In order to create more comfortable day-to-day driving, Mazda took various measures to achieve a quiet cabin. Mazda also improved the coefficient of drag contributing not only to the 2's quietness, but also improving its fuel efficiency.
In order to achieve the best balance between low fuel consumption, outstanding driving dynamics and top-level safety performance, the 2’s engineers put forth a good deal of effort to minimize weight through a smaller body shell, optimization of the structure and extensive use of high-tensile steels. Using this approach, Mazda made the best use of weight-saving know-how, similar to the "gram" strategy employed during the development of the MX-5 sports car.
As a result, the 2 has achieved world-leading crash safety ratings overseas (five stars in the Euro New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), the highest possible result) without compromising driving performance and fuel economy. In line with the way subcompact cars are mainly used as day-to-day commuters, the 2, just like its larger siblings has achieved a level of drivability and nimbleness that enables easy maneuverability while providing small car entry into the tight spaces we have all encountered at one time or another.
The 5-speed MT will be a fun driver although well off the Fiesta’s 29/40 city/highway rating. For an additional $660 over and above the Fiesta, it will be a very tough sell in today’s ultra competitive and price sensitive sub-compact marketplace.
The 4-speed AT? Automatic drivers should look elsewhere.