Sufficiency - 2011 Mazda2 Long-Term Road Test

2011 Mazda Mazda2 Long-Term Road Test

2011 Mazda2: Sufficiency

February 07, 2011

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In the space of just 3 months, so much already has been written about our unexpectedly fun-to-drive Mazda2, about how well it rides on the highway, about its excellent fuel economy, about how well it fits into our cramped world, and how simple and honest its design is. I couldn't help but notice that there's a thread through all these Mazda2 entries that has struck a chord with me recently.


Sufficiency is the lack of scarcity and the lack of abundance. Sufficiency is neither going without nor stuffing your face until you feel sick. Sufficiency is being happy with exactly what you've got--nothing more and nothing less. To me, this is the quality of the Mazda2 that each staff member has written about in his or her own way without knowing it.

Isn't 10-seconds a reasonable amount time to get to 60 mph? Aren't 13.3 cu-ft enough for most runs to Trader Joe's? Isn't seating for 4 almost always enough or more-often too much? Sure, it could use an armrest up front, and a Bluetooth phone connection would be nice, but it seems most of us just can't help but love this $16,000 Mazda2. (I know ours is white--that's a press-kit photo I used.) And like Brent said, I also think Mazda might find more buyers for the Mazda2 if they upped the standard features for small bump in price.

But it sure seems most of us want/buy/drive/pay/park/insure more car than we really need. Sure, some families need more space, more seats, more ground clearance, or even 4WD, but not many of us really do. Really?

The Mazda2 just might be the next big thing. After all, small is the new big, right?

Don't get me wrong. My favorite car on the planet is still the uncompromising Porsche 911 GT3. I was positively gob-smacked by the 2012 Nissan GT-R when I got to test it at the track last week. And one of the best track days of my life happened behind the steering wheels of three Corvettes.

I'm not getting soft or losing my edge. I'm just growing to recognize and appreciate the simpler things in life--along with the extremes at either end. Recognizing and appreciating sufficiency is a pretty liberating thing. It lets you get off the better, faster, bigger, cooler, gotta-have-it hamster wheel. You should give it a try.

Just like the 2011 Mazda2 and our staff, you might find yourself inexplicably happy with something you already have.

You might be able to tell I've been doing a fair share of navel-gazing recently from this post and you'd be right. I've been reading books and blogs about being more authentic and choosing to be a happier person. Sorry if this is a off-putting, but it's where I am right now--and I'm okay telling you about it.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 6,300 miles

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