Taking on the competition
While new to North America last year, the Mazda2 is in its second generation and has been an award-winning car in both Europe and Asia. The front-wheel-drive subcompact was completely redesigned for the 2011 model year and was left untouched for 2012.
The Mazda2 competes in the crowded subcompact segment and takes on the likes of Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Fiat 500, Hyundai Accent and Kia Soul. This week we’ll be test driving the Mazda2 Touring model ($15,855).
Touring model gets extra upgrades
Inside, Mazda2 Touring comes standard with reclining front bucket seats with six-way adjustable driver’s seat, 60/40 split folding rear seats, tilt steering column, remote keyless entry, and full power. It gets upgraded cloth upholstery with three-dimensional seat fabric with red piping, six-speaker sound system, and a multi-functional leather steering wheel. Outside it gets a rear roof spoiler, fog lamps, and 15-inch alloy wheels.
The 2012 Mazda interior is about what you would expect from the segment. There‘s not a lot of flash, but it gets the job done. Hard plastics are used throughout the cabin which is typical for this class. There isn’t much legroom in the back, but the 60/40 split rear seats fold flat to allow for 27.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
Small but potent
The Mazda2 uses a proven 1.5-liter double-overhead-cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine that produces 100 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. While it doesn’t sound like much, the variable valve timing gives it more low-rpm torque and higher-rpm horsepower. The Mazda2 will run 75 mph in the fast lane all day long and is fun to drive.
We test drove the Mazda2 with the four-speed automatic and felt it was a bit slow to respond pulling hills. The five-speed manual would offer a sportier driving experience.The automatic and the manual are rated the same with an EPA estimated 29 City/35 Highway mpg. The suspension uses MacPherson struts in front and a trailing-arm torsion beam in back which kept the 2 flat in the corners with very little body lean.
The Mazda2 delivers on its zoom-zoom promise
The Mazda 2 is very competitive in the subcompact segment that offers so many choices. Its exterior styling is eye-catching and sporty and it offers the practicality of a hatchback. The engine is small, but the subcompact offers a smooth ride and a spirited driving experience while getting more than 30 mpg.