2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Slow Car, Driven Fast
December 17, 2010
The Mazda 2 is a great example of the theory that it can be more fun to drive a slow car fast than it is to drive a fast car slow. Sure, the Mazda 2 feels painfully underwhelming when accelerating at low revs, even with its Slim-Fast curb weight of 2,274 lb. But all that does is goad you into driving it for all its worth, constantly winding the little 1.5-liter four-cylinder to its 6300-rpm redline to extract the full might of its 100 horses as you snick through the five speeds of the high-mount shifter.
You don't have to act like a total hooligan to test the limits of adhesion in tight corners, either, the slippery tires giving up grip rather quickly. Yet the 2's quick steering and lively chassis mean it responds to driver input far better than the typical understeering econobox.
It's not often you can wring just about everything out of a car on the street with so little worry about attracting attention (helps the car is white, no doubt).
Sometimes the Mazda 2 does feel fast, though. Like when you're really honking down the highway, and spot a cop: "Uh-oh, I'm screwed," you think. Then a quick glance at the speedo reveals you're only doing 70. "Whew!"
Of course, there's also something to be said for using the Mazda 2 to the best of its miserliness potential. Maybe tomorrow. But that doesn't sound like near as much fun.
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 4,578 miles