You're Doing It Wrong - 2011 Mazda 2 Touring Long-Term Road Test

2011 Mazda 2 Long-Term Road Test

2011 Mazda 2 Touring: You're Doing It Wrong

February 18, 2011


You know, I've driven lots of cars that have had funky clutch action.

Big racing cars with V8 engines and big heavy clutches. Little racing cars with tiny, fragile carbon-fiber clutches. Shifter go-karts. Any number of Ferraris with manual transmission, notably the thoroughly awful 1976 Ferrari 512 BB. Crappy little cars with light flywheel engines and flimsy clutches, like the Toyota Matrix.

I've navigated a Jeep over boulder-strewn trails. And once I even drove a 750-hp Saleen S7 supercar with its racing-style gearbox through the middle of tourist-crazed Laguna Beach at high noon on a Saturday just to see if it could really be driven as a street car. (It can only stalled it once).

But I can't drive this Mazda 2.

I've put more miles on this car than most of us, yet I feel clumsy every time I get into it. And it's not just commute traffic that proves challenging. Every stoplight and stop sign is a challenge, a reintroduction to the Mazda 2's frustrating combination of an engine with a light flywheel, aggressive throttle action, an odd pedal arc for the clutch, a high engagement point for the clutch, and a driving position that's scaled for smaller drivers.

Every time I drive this car, it's telling me that I'm doing it wrong. Maybe I am, but I sure don't like being reminded of it every second.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, @ 6,485 miles.

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