In the world of automotive journalism, it can be difficult to really love a car. We sit behind computers, making assumptions on new products that we have yet to drive. It’s easy to love a car or hate a car from a chair, but will we feel the same way when we actually get a go? This was our dilemma with the Mazda 2 . We have been praising this little car for its quirky looks ever since it debuted in 2007. We were as excited as a child with a new toy for the chance to get to take one out on the road for the first time.
The Mazda will be hitting showrooms soon, but it wasn’t that long ago when the future of this machine was still up in the air. We hoped and prayed that we would finally get a good small car. So, does the little Mazda fulfill our every desire?
At first glance the Mazda seems to have kept its slender figure. Where as most cars gain weight when they make the trip to the U.S – as do most humans – the Mazda2 has kept its figure. Sure, there are larger reinforcements to help the car pass U.S safety standards, but, all in all, this is the same machine we saw during its debut.
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The Mazda 2 will share the market with the Ford Fiesta , its long lost brother. Both cars are smaller than most compact cars like the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa , and Honda Fit . The 2 has around half of the cargo room that the Fit has, so keep those shopping trips down and buy only what you need.
Power comes from a 100 horsepower, 98 pound-feet of torque motor, which is a bit low compared to the competition. That being said, the motor must have been training, as it feels quick when pushed hard. Even on the motorway, the engine is smooth and has enough power for overtaking.
Around the corners, the Mazda does roll a bit, but nothing that makes you lose your lunch. The 15-inch tires help keep the lightweight 2 on its feet. Over the rough stuff, the 2 is smooth and composed, unlike some of the back breaking rides of the competition.
Like most Mazda cars, the driver input is put first. The steering is quick and it communicates with you, something that is lacking on most of the cars in this segment. The five-speed manual is smooth, but the clutch is a bit numb. Mazda has given up standard stability control and anti-lock brakes, to help keep the car on the road.
On a small road trip, the Mazda 2 would be the perfect companion. Sure, the cargo area is small, but pack light and the problem is solved. The 1.5-liter motor hums along nicely, never intruding on conversations. The seats are a bit unpleasant after long trips, so we would advise you to bring a pillow. There is also no armrest.
The rest of the interior is pretty brilliant. The dashboard layout is similar to the Mazda 3, but the gear level is new. The front seats are big and there is plenty of headroom and legroom. The backseats are decent, but don’t plan on a long road trip with adults in the back.
The area in which the Mazda truly fails is in the value department. You will need to really spec the car out in order to match the equipment levels of the competitors. It comes with a fair amount of kit for $14,730, but there is no Bluetooth, navigation, or a USB input. Don’t even mention leather seats or 16-inch wheels because that simply isn’t going to happen.
Another let down for the Mazda is at the gas pump. One would think that a car this small should easily be able to get 40 miles per gallon. Nope, you would have thought wrong, as the 2 manages only 29 mpg city and 35 highway. The automatic 2 gets only 27 city and 33 highway. That is a massive issue when you consider how well the Fiesta performs in the gas mileage department.
We like the Mazda 2 and we can see it selling fairly well in the United States. Sure, Americans love their big cars that fit quite nicely with their big rumps, but the 2 offers a fun driving experience with a low cost. It may lack the same versatility as the Fit and Versa, but it’s fun to drive and looks great. Now we can officially say that we really like the Mazda 2.