The Mazda 2 is, so far, Mazda’s smallest vehicle in their lineup. With steady increases in fuel prices in North America, Mazda and other manufacturers are hoping that consumers will consider purchasing a smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicle for daily city commuting.
Performance – The little beating heart of this Mazda 2 is a 1.5L inline-4 engine producing 100hp and 98 lb-ft of torque. That may not sound like a lot and in fact it isn’t. The Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Sonic, and Ford Fiesta all produce 120+hp from their engines. However power isn’t the name of the game rather it’s fuel economy and on that basis the Mazda 2 fairs better than the competition at 6.8L/100km in city and 5.6L/100km on highway. Two transmissions are available with the Mazda 2, a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic. The manual is just like any other manual but the automatic falls short of Mazda’s sporty stereotype. It is slow to react to driver inputs and it is only a 4-speed rather than a traditional 5 or even 6-speed.
Whilst the powertrain may not live up to today’s standards, the chassis makes up for it. The chassis has a low 1050kg weight which utilizes every last ounce of power from the engine, when mated to the 5-speed transmission, and the Mazda 2 can carry a high rate of speed through corners limiting the amount of braking that is required. Steering feel is direct and responsive considering that it has an electric assist steering system rather than a conventional fully hydraulic system. I wouldn’t say that it handles like a Lotus Elise but for a small commuter car it can reward the driver with a go-kart like feel.
Comfort – On the inside, it has a very simple interior and all of the primary dials & controls are easily within reach of the driver and where you’d expect them to be. The materials that you find in the cabin are not made of leather or exotic alloys from krypton, but instead are cheap plastics however don’t forget that this is a cheap car to begin with. Base price for a Mazda 2 starts at $14,450 CAD and it comes equipped with quite a lot of accessories. Power windows, power mirrors, power locks, USB input, MP3 stereo system, traction control, stability control, ABS, etc. Basically all the same features that you’d expect from a car costing $5000 more.
Interior space in the front is ample for taller drivers, including headroom, and space in the back is plentiful for 3 children. Trunk space is quite small though due to the short overhangs of the body and the rear seats don’t fold completely flat so loading through the side doors can be a bit of a challenge. Driving on highways things can get a bit noisy because tire and wind noise insulation is nearly non-existent in the Mazda 2.
Odds and Ends – In terms of looks, you won’t lose it in a parking lot no matter how hard you try, especially if you purchase one in “Spirited Green”. I personally like the look of it even with its “happy smiling” front bumper.
For those on a tight budget, the Mazda 2 has plenty of charm, character, and practicality to keep you happy with your purchase. But if you can muster another $2500, I would recommend spending it on getting the more powerful, more spacious, and more comfortable 2014 Mazda 3 Sport.
Thank you to Open Road Mazda for providing the vehicle and head over to their website to view this car and others like it. www.OpenRoadMazda.ca
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.