Mazda’s entry into the B segment is a strong advocate for the drive-a-slow-car-fast ethos. What did GRM think of it? See our thoughts below.
Other staff views
All these B-class cars are a bit underpowered. Once you get that out of the way, the Mazda2 and others of this ilk offer pretty good transportation, great fuel economy and—in the case of the Mazda2—are quite fun to drive.
We recently spent nearly a week running all over the L.A. basin in a white, manual Touring Edition Mazda2 and came away quite impressed. At $17,285 (all in), this car had only two options, its Pearl White paint and a rear bumper guard.
That said, it was pretty well equipped with decent XM/Sirius stereo, power windows and locks and cruise control. Nice touches like an outside thermometer, plenty of cup holders and nicely trimmed interior do not make the Mazda2 feel at all like a penalty box.
To drive, the Mazda2 is more go-kart than car. The steering is razor sharp, the handling is very hard to find the limits on L.A. city streets and the brakes are more than adequate.
The 100 horsepower, 1.5-liter engine is sufficient, if you keep the revs up and the gearing low. If you want to quirt in and out of L.A. traffic at highway speeds, you will need to down shift to fourth, as at 70 mph, this car has no torque in fifth gear.
Around town, the stop light grand prix of city driving is handled more than adequately by this quick-revving four cylinder.
The bad news is you have to shift this car a lot. The good news is the front-wheel-drive transaxle and shift linkage are very good. Think Miata—not your typical front-wheel-drive econobox.
The ride is pretty decent as well. Yes, you realize you are in a small car, but despite being a little bouncy, it is relatively comfortable—especially considering how inexpensive these cars are.
All in all, the Mazda2 is a rather comfortable, decent looking, practical, fun-to-drive commuter car. While it wouldn’t be our first choice for a cross-country trip, as a second car, kid’s car or city car, the Mazda2 is a pretty good choice.
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