Publisher’s note: With this review, the Weekly Driver.com has added the What The Wife Says category to my reviews. According to recent statistics, 52 percent of the new cars purchased in the United States are made by women and more than 80 percent of new car purchases are influenced by women. My wife comments about many of the cars I test drive. She’s eight inches shorter and a lot of pounds lighter than I am. Of course, women are different than men in other ways, too. Cheers, James Raia
Available in global markets as the Demio, the 2011 Mazda2 joined the carmaker’s number-named lineup in the United States and Canada this year as its new entry-level sub-compact.
Available in Sport and Touring trims, the only available powertrain features a 100-horsepower 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine matched with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
Safety features include: ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain-side airbags, and front-side airbags. Air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote entry, and 60/40 split-folding rear seat backs are standard on all models. Standard on the Touring edition are cruise control and steering-wheel audio controls.
The Weekly Driver Test Drive
I mention this because entry level cars used to get many of the bad raps. But the 2011 Mazda2 is among several vehicles in the entry level category that further dispel the belief that inexpensive means unworthy.
I had the Touring edition of the Mazda2 for my weekly driver and after the first time in the car, I couldn’t wait to drive it the next time. It’s been criticized for its lack of acceleration, and it’s not the fastest compact around. But it is peppy, a trait complemented by a well-designed, comfortable interior.
The Mazda2 attracted a lot of attention because of its color, a less-than-attractive shocking lime green. But what onlookers would have been more impressed with if they were passengers was the car’s fun factor. It’s a practical, spirited and economical addition the entry-level marketplace.
Design and ease of use of instruments and controls.
Seat positioning and comfort.
Peppy driving feel.
Location and smoothness of shifting.
Rear-seat room tight.
Color (spirited green metallic)
Facts & Figures: 2011 Mazda 2
Acceleration: 0-60 mph (not available).
Airbags: Dual front, side and side curtain.
Antilock brakes: Standard.
First aid kit: Not available.
Fuel economy: 29 mpg (city), 35 mpg (highway).
Government Safety Ratings: Not rated.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $15,435.
Price As tested: $16,185.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 3 years/36,000 miles.
Manufacturer’s website: www.mazdausa.com.
What Others Say:
“Overall, it’s a handy car, but I think it’s best-suited for young couples, singles or people with children who are still in car seats.” —- Cars.com.
“Mazda’s new entry-level car succeeds as a refined, fun-to-drive hatchback, with a cabin ambiance that belies its price. It’s far from quick, and it’s not quite as versatile as some of its rivals. These issues are balanced by the 2’s lengthy list of standard features and reasonable prices. If you’re shopping small, put the 2 at the top of your list.” —- Consumer Guide.
“The cute little hatchback will provide some serious competition for the likes of the Honda Fit, and Ford will surely see some inner-family competition against its own Fiesta, which the Mazda2 is heavily based on.” —- Autoblog.
What The Wife Says:
“Big horn, little car. And, seriously, if my eyes had been closed when I sat down in the car, I would have thought it was a high end, luxury sedan. The (driver’s) seat was that comfortable.”
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“For the past several years, I’ve been convinced the Honda Fit is the best entry level car in the U.S. market. The 2011 Mazda2 now goes to the top of the list.”