As the current trend of small cars grows (figuratively,) we’re seeing car makers shrinking models down as small as they can go. Most of the smallest cars are focusing on one thing – efficiency – in the form of fuel economy and price. Fortunately, we have at least one brand who values the driving experience, making a fun-to-drive car, THEN making it economical and practical.
At the 2010 New York Auto Show, Mazda announced pricing and more details on the upcoming all-new Mazda2 – and dubbed it “Zoom-Zoom Concentrated.” The 2011 Mazda2 plans to go on sale this July, starting at a reasonable $13,980 ($14,730 with destination charge) – putting it squarely up against the Nissan Versa, Chevy Aveo, and Toyota Yaris – along with the upcoming Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500. The Mazda2, as you may have guessed, is going to focus on being a fun to drive car and less on the “premium” segment (like the Fiesta) and the plastic econo-box image (like the Aveo, Yaris, and Versa.)
The 2011 Mazda2 has two trim levels available – Sport and Touring. The Sport trim gets some decent standard equipment, including ABS, traction and stability control, 15-inch steel wheels, A/C, power windows and locks, auxiliary jack, keyless entry, and tilt steering wheel. Sadly, cruise control is not standard. For $15,435, the Touring model gets you that cruise control along with upgraded seat cloth with red piping, 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tip, leather-wrapped steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, trip computer and a six-speaker stereo system.
Both trims get only one engine – a 1.5-liter, 100 horsepower, four-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic gearbox. Please people, pick the manual transmission.
It’s good to see a car like this coming to the North American market, we’ve needed cars like this for a while. A car, despite what the current market suggests, can be both economical and fun to drive. I hope Mazda sees as much success with this one over here as they have over in Europe.