2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Wishing for Six
September 26, 2011
Have you ever climbed a set of stairs where that were taller than you expected? If you're not careful the first one can trip you up.
The 5-speed manual transmission in our 2011 Mazda 2 is like that. First gear is a little taller than its little motor would like, so you've got to wind it up a bit more than you'd like to forestall an embarassing stall. Oh, sure -- you get used to it, but still...
And then, after trudging up steps designed for Blake Griffin, the last tread stops short of the landing. I mean, 2,800 rpm at 65 mph is no way to live on the freeway -- especially if you're prone to cruising at 70 or 75 mph, at which point the 1.5-liter 100-horsepower 4-banger is ticking over at something north of 3,000 revs.
Another gear would allow for steps of a more suitable pitch for this "short" engine, giving it some much-needed breathing room on the top and bottom ends. MPG, good as it is now, would be even better.
Tiny cars with weeny engines need 6 cogs way more than something powered by a honkin' V8 with torque enough to span wider-spaced gears. That's all I'm saying.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 13,580 miles