2013 Mazda 2 – small and superbly formed

Small is the new big and has never been more popular than today. So with great timing, Mazda introduced its own super compact, affordable, funky looking Mazda2 to Canada in 2011.

A stylish, eco-friendly, fun-to-drive five-door hatchback, the Mazda2 is Zoom-Zoom in its most concentrated form – compact and efficient, yet packed with style and substance.

The Mazda2 arrives in two trim lines: the GX and GS.

Features on the GX include 15-inch steel wheels, tilt steering wheel, power door locks, and power windows with driver’s auto up/down, power mirrors, covered vanity mirrors, manual driver’s seat height adjustment, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, illuminated entry, 12-volt power outlet, floor mats, black door handles and mirrors, intermittent rear wiper, brake override system, and CD/ MP3 stereo with auxiliary input and two speakers.

Available options on the GX include air conditioning, and a Convenience Package of cruise control, keyless entry, trip computer, four speakers, body-colour door handles and mirrors, exterior temperature gauge and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

The base GX ($13,995) and GS ($18,195). The GX trim can be outfitted with the Convenience Package ($895) which adds steering wheel-mounted cruise control, remote keyless entry, and a trip computer. Mazda also has a list of options to help personalize the 2, the “Mazda Skins” option allows customers to choose a theme from one of four sets of snazzy decals in different sizes to jazz up the car.

Bluetooth, a lowering suspension kit, alloy wheels and rear spoilers are also part of the customization options. The Mazda2 also has roof rack mounting equipment available.

When it comes to what’s under the hood of the Mazda2, well it ain’t no Mazdaspeed3! Instead you will find a 1.5-litre, 16- valve, DOHC, 4-cylinder engine that produces 100 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque with a five speed manual or an automatic transmission. But despite the small horsepower the Mazda2 is surprisingly peppy as by incorporating the “gram” strategy, the same technique used in the Mazda MX-5; Mazda has been able to reduce weight by at least 10% less than the previous generation.

The result more performance using less fuel. Interior wise, the racy exterior is not echoed, the cabin’s seats are comfortable and the interior layout is neat but a dash and color trim accents that would not go amiss. However ergonomics are good and the placement of the transmission for shifting gears is ideal.

The front cabin is surprisingly spacious and there is a decent amount of legroom in the rear even when the front seats are pushed all the way back. Big windows add to the light and airy feel, while the rear seat headrests are a nice touch. Luggage space is reasonable behind the rear seats, and becomes downright handy when the 60/40 split-folding seatbacks are dropped.

The 377L (13.3 cu.ft.) trunk is good for this sub-compacts tiny dimensions and if you carry skis, snowboards or bikes, the Mazda2 also has roof rack mounting equipment available.

On the safety front, all Mazda2’s are equipped with antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, dynamic stability control with a traction control system, electric power assist steering side impact door beams, six airbags and more. The 2 is also the first Mazda vehicle launched in North America that comes with the Brake Override System. It’s a feature that prioritizes the brake pedal over the accelerator when both are engaged at the same time, a handy safety feature. On the road we enjoyed the slick responsive 5-speed manual transmission that proved fun to drive Official fuel economy is an impressive consumption of 6.8L/100km in the city and 5.6L/100km on the highway.

Also positive in this subcompact was its stability and smoothness at highway speeds. Unlike some small cars the engine does sound or feel buzzy and stressed: and for such a light car, the Mazda2 seemed unbuffeted on the highways either from crosswinds or 18-wheeler big rigs blowing by. The front MacPherson struts and rear torsion beam suspension also proved very capable of hauling the little car through all manner of road surfaces Overall, the 2011 Mazda2 is
pretty impressive in the packaging department, looks nice and has excellent fuel economy. A cute ,wonderful addition to the Canadian sub compact sector. Note it is only available as a four- door hatchback.

Highly recommended.

2013 Mazda2 priced from $13,995.