Mazda's smallest car sees little change for 2012. Launched in 2012 the 2 gives the Asian automaker an entry in the hot subcompact car market, where it faces competitors like the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta (with which it shares components), Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris.
|2012 Mazda 2 Touring|
Base Price: $15,855
At-Tested Price: $16,320
Built in Japan .
Engine: 1.5-Liter I4
Transmission: 5-speed Manual
Drive Wheels: Front-Wheel Drive
The new 2 is available only as a five-passenger four-door hatchback. Two trim levels are offered, Sport and Touring. Both are powered by a 100 horsepower 1.5-liter four cylinder engine. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
Prices for the Sport start at $14,370 and range up to $16,695 for a fully equipped Touring model. Standard safety equipment on all models includes antilock brakes with brake assist, stability control, engine immobilizer anti-theft system, tire-pressure monitoring system and dual-front, front-side and curtain-side airbags.
The Sport model includes air conditioning, rear defogger, power locks, power windows, power mirrors, dual-front vanity mirrors, keyless entry, tilt steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, intermittent wipers, rear wiper washer, 12V power outlet, AM/FM/CM/MP3 four-speaker audio system with auxiliary input jack and 15-inch steel wheels.
Touring adds to the Sport chrome exhaust tip, fog lights, rear-roof spoiler, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, six-speaker audio system, trip computer and alloy wheels.
Options are limited to compass with auto-dimming mirror and Homelink, floormats, rear bumper guard and cargo net. The 2 is build in Japan and has a destination charge of $795.
Get Up and Go Small four-cylinder powerplants are the norm in this class and the Mazda 2 offers no exception. The 1.5-liter four is adequate for around-town driving and provides acceptable passing power on the highway. Mazda doesn't quote a 0-60 mph time for the 2, but most enthusiast magazines peg the five-speed model at about of 10.5 seconds, which is class average and no more.
Hot shoes will want the five-speed manual transmission. It provides the best access to the engine's limited powerband and it's a delight to shift. The clutch could use a little more feel and weight, but it's easy enough to modulate.
Though the available four-speed automatic does a yeoman's job, it can't match the performance of more-sophisticated five- and six-speed units and the occasional continuously variable transmission that are found on most competitors. Where the four-speed really falls short is in suburban driving where drivers are constantly asking for quick bursts of power. It's slow to respond and the widely spaced gears rarely provide the right ratio.
The manual model carries EPA fuel economy ratings of 29 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. Those numbers fall right in line with most competitors, but a few offer 40 mpg highway models. Mazda says the 2 will run fine on regular-grade gasoline.
Interestingly, real-world driving will likely yield about 33 mpg overall, unless you commute strictly in the city. Then economy is likely to drop into the mid 20s. Straight highway driving can yield as much as 38 mpg and that's quite impressive.
On the Road The short wheelbase and Euro-tuned suspension combine to produce a firm ride that can grow choppy on badly broken roads. Still, there's good rebound control and enough impact absorption that the ride isn't tiring or harsh.
The turning circle is amazingly tight, allowing the 2 to be quite easily parked.
In keeping with Mazda's sporty image, the 2 is one of the more nimble and responsive subcompact cars on the market. Much like its bigger brother the Mazda 3, the 2 has a sporty feel that comes alive in quick maneuvers and lane changes. The steering is nicely weighted and has plenty of feel and the brakes are responsive and provide smooth and even stops.
Make no mistake the 2 isn't a sports coupe. The tires have only modest grip and there's far too much understeer when tackling high-speed on ramps and the like. Overall, the 2 offers a fine balance of comfort and athleticism that's quite unusual in the class.
Noise levels are class appropriate. That means a fair amount of tire and wind noise at highway speeds. The engine cruises quietly, but thrashes and booms in hard acceleration.
Behind the Wheel Dominated by matte black plastic and Mazda's trademark orange illumination, the 2's interior is sporty without feeling cheap. Still, a few more padded surfaces would be welcome.
Driver's face a tightly grouped set of gauges from behind a meaty three-spoke steering wheel. Upscale Touring models have steering wheel mounted audio controls that are a nice touch. The center stack protrudes slightly, placing audio and climate controls within easy reach. However, the audio controls are small and oddly arranged.
Front seats are somewhat undersized and lack enough padding for true long-trip comfort. Head room is good but those more than six-feet tall will want more leg room. The center armrest is a welcome option, but it's not very solid and a bit too far back to be comfortable. Visibility is excellent to all directions and the tallish build means getting in and out is easy.
As with most vehicles in this class, the rear-seats aren't adult friendly. That's not to say they are uncomfortable, just that they don't offer much leg room and aren't wide enough for comfortable three-across seating.
With just 13.3 cubic feet of seat-up cargo space, the hatch hides a surprisingly snug cargo hold. Interior storage is somewhat limited and the front-seat cupholders are placed too far back in the center console to be easily accessed.
Bottom Line Mazda's two does battle in a crowded market segment. Choices range from the economy-minded Nissan Versa to the posh Audi A3, with the 2 falling somewhere in between. It's sporty, economical, and competitively priced. In fact, of all Mazda products, the 2 is probably the most mainstream--a fact that should appeal to buyers of all ages. However, the fact that it doesn't offer factory-installed Bluetooth or iPod support might hold it back with the 20-something set.
If you are in the market for a small fuel-sipper, there's never been a better time to buy. Each automaker is anxious to grab a share of the market and most are using cash incentives or discount lease rates to lure buyers. That can make an already affordable buy even more appealing.
|Specifications, 2012 Mazda 2 Touring|
|Dimensions||4-door hatchback ||Engine||DOHC I4|
|Wheelbase, in.||98.0||Size, liters/cu. in.||1.5 / 91|
|Length, in.||155.5||Horsepower @ rpm||100 @ 5000|
|Width, in.||66.7||Torque (lb.-ft.) @ rpm||98 @ 4000|
|Height, in.||58.1||Transmission||5-Speed Manual|
|Weight, lbs.||2359||EPA Estimates, mpg||29 city / 35 highway|
|Cargo Capacity, cu. ft.||13.3|| |
|Fuel Capacity, gals.||11.3||Manufacturer's Warranty|
|Seating Capacity||5||Bumper-to-Bumper||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|Front Head Room, in.||39.1||Powertrain||5 years / 60,000 miles|
|Front Leg Room, in.||42.6||Corrosion||5 years / Unlimited miles|
|Second-Row Head Room, in.||37.0||Free Roadside Assistance||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|Second-Row Leg Room, in.||33.0||Free Scheduled Maintenance||None|