Mazda2, a good choice for the money
The old adage "You get what you pay for," repeats in one's ear every moment behind the wheel of the Mazda2. This little car doesn't cost a lot -- and it's worth every penny. There's nothing here to surprise or delight. No shock, no awe -- althoug...
The old adage "You get what you pay for," repeats in one's ear every moment behind the wheel of the Mazda2. This little car doesn't cost a lot -- and it's worth every penny. There's nothing here to surprise or delight. No shock, no awe -- although maybe an "awwwww" at how cute it is.
But that fuel economy is surely attractive with gas around $4 a gallon. And the four-door hatchback shape is practical. Consider a Mazda2 if you're looking for a commuter or station car and there's a Mazda dealer you'd like to patronize.
Prices for a 2 start just above $14,000 before freight. Compare to a Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent or the 2's structural relative, the Ford Fiesta. The Environmental Protection Agency says you can expect 29 miles per gallon in the city, 36 on the highway with the manual transmission and 27/33 with automatic, as I sampled the 2. I averaged just under 29 mpg.
Complaints: the driver's seat's bottom cushion is not adjustable and was tilted too far forward; lots of engine noise enters the cabin; the automatic transmission has only four forward speeds; the windshield wipers' intermittency can't be adjusted; the steering wheel tilts but does not telescope; the central door-locking switch is unlit.
On the upside, controls are simple and well located, what gauges there are can be clearly read day or night. The 2's engine is peppy in local driving, though it runs out of breath when one tries to pass at expressway speeds. The ride is reasonably comfortable for so light a car. Handling is competent.
Consumer Reports doesn't have a reliability rating yet for the 2. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety calls the 2 "good" in frontal crash protection and roof strength in rollovers and deems the car "acceptable" in side and rear impacts.
2011 MAZDA2 TOURING:
--Engine: 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, 100 hp
--Transmission: Four-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
--Safety: Six air bags; front disc, rear drum brakes with antilock, stability control and brake assist; tire pressure monitoring; fog lamps; brake override preventing unintended acceleration
--Place of assembly: Hiroshima, Japan
--Cargo Room: 13.3 cubic feet maximum and 27.8 cubic feet minimum.
--EPA fuel economy estimates: 27 mpg city, 33 highway
--Price as driven: $17,185 with freight
--Bottom line: Competitive but not extraordinary