2011 Mazda 2: Not the Most Serene Ride
February 14, 2011
Last night I put a quick 70 miles on our long-term 2011 Mazda 2, all freeway. Once again, I noticed the little car's compliant ride, but this time I also couldn't overlook the fact that the cabin is just plain noisy at 70 mph.
Most of it is road noise (though you hear the wind a bit, too), and it comes at you from all directions in the 2. The factory stereo's automatic level compensation (ALC in the head unit menu) becomes a borderline necessity at highway speeds. Also, the fact that the Mazda 2 doesn't have Bluetooth begins to make some sense, because it would be next to impossible for the person on the other end to hear you over all the racket anyway. Incidently, for this very reason, my passenger decided against calling to firm up our dinner plans and instead texted our friend.
Yet, it's hard to knock the Mazda 2 for the cabin noise, because this is a side effect of its lightweight, minimalist constuction -- which is something I'm supposed to like. This little hatchback weighs less than 2,300 pounds.
Perhaps I wouldn't even have been annoyed by the Mazda's lack of serenity if I hadn't rented a Nissan Versa 1.6 sedan last week in Chicago. I was never a fan of our long-term Versa, but it's an unusually quiet car (by B-segment standards) on the highway, even in base 1.6 form. Mind you, I didn't like driving the Versa 1.6 as much (it's pokey with a 4-speed auto, and its steering is vague), but when you're just making laps up and down the freeway/tollway, a serene cabin is a pretty nice deal.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 6,423 miles