2011 Mazda Mazda2 Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Dome Light Morning Surprise

November 09, 2011

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You may not know this, but Tom Bodett drove our 2011 Mazda 2 Touring last night, and he left the light on for me.

Note to HR: That was a joke.

Actually I left the light on for me.

Point is I was met with this ominous scenario when I stumbled out the front door at 5:40 this morning, bleary-eyed and behind schedule. Would she start?

No hesitation, no sluggish starter behavior, no problemo. She fired right up and I was on my way as per usual.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,320 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Suspension Walkaround

November 09, 2011

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Our 2011 Mazda 2 has proven to be entertaining to drive in a small car sort of way, even though the suspension itself is fairly standard, as we'll soon see.

The key to Zoom Zoom is how the inevitable tradeoffs are managed? Is ride more important? Noise? Steering? That hard to define fun-to-drive element? In Mazda's case the answer skews toward the fun end of the meter.

The way they do it is with suspension and tire tuning, through conscious choices made with regard to spring rates, damper settings, bushing hardness and the internal construction of the tires that support it all.

Much of this is invisible in a suspension walkaround, but we'll have a look anyway.

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Bigger Than a Coat Hanger

November 07, 2011

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Last Friday, Scott told you about the terrible grinding noise from our Mazda 2 that was caused by some free road wire we picked up in the Mazda's right rear suspension. He called it a coat hanger.

Well, at about 8-feet and nearly as thick as the lettering on a Bic pen, I'd say it's a little more than a coat hanger.

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2011 Mazda 2: A Terrible Grinding Noise

November 04, 2011

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Yesterday I'm driving our long-term Mazda 2 to work and I immediately know there's a problem. How? By the horrible grinding noise.

It was impossible to miss. But it did stop when the car stopped. So I pulled over to take a look. Sounded like it was coming from the right front, but I wasn't sure. I could see no problem. I drove straight to Mazda Santa Monica anyway.

What could it be? Brake caliper? Wheel bearing? A tire issue? Nope, Coat hanger.

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2011 Mazda 2: 15,000-Mile Service, Part 4

October 31, 2011

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This is a side note to my service experience with our long-term 2011 Mazda 2, which if you've been reading started with a sky-high opening bid for an oil change and tire rotation, followed my some comparison shopping which ultimately resulted in me getting a competitive price (for the west side of Los Angeles, that is) on the services I wanted.

As I looked over the final receipt, I noticed something curious.

As in, curiously, I was charged for 5 quarts of oil this time versus 4 quarts on the service visit back in March 2011.

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2011 Mazda 2: 15,000-Mile Service, Part 3

October 30, 2011

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After I dropped our long-term 2011 Mazda 2 off at Santa Monica Mazda a second time -- after haggling over the price of an oil change and tire rotation -- I received a phone promptly at 3 p.m. (the promised time) from my service advisor who told me, "Your little Mazda 2 is ready."

When I came by to get the car, he greeted me and handed the car's paperwork to the service receptionist-scheduler-cashier, who sits next to him (it's a small office). She moved me through in less than five minutes, taking my credit card payment and calling the porter to have the 2 brought around. I don't think this was a particularly busy day at this service department because I never had to wait while they helped other customers, but regardless, they're efficient (well, provided there's no disagreement on the pricing).

Soon, the car appeared in the driveway, and it had obviously been washed and vacuumed, and both of the porters who spoke to me were friendly. This kind of little stuff goes some distance in making the customer happy, and if weren't the pricing issues, I'd want to return here with a future personal car.

Mind you, I did get the price I wanted. But it's not as simple as that.

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2011 Mazda 2: 15,000-Mile Service, Part 2

October 29, 2011

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Upon my return from the local Mazda dealership, I relayed my riveting story of not having the Mazda 2 serviced to my colleague Rex Tokeshi-Torres, who listened and was spurred into action. He set out to see just how reasonable Santa Monica Mazda's $89.95 estimate for a simple oil change (0W-20 oil) and a tire rotation actually was for this area. Rex called around to the next four closest Mazda dealerships and this is his report:

My opening inquiry: "How much would it cost for an oil change and tire rotation for a 2011 Mazda 2?"
--> Star Mazda in Glendale: On the phone they immediately stated that it required "full-synthetic". $75 for the oil change and an additional $22 for the tire rotation. Include tax and the total was around $110.
--> Galpin Mazda in Van Nuys: Gave me a quote of $60. I asked if that was for "full-synthetic" they replied "no" and said it would cost an additional $25 for full-synthetic. The total would probably be around $97 (including tax).
--> Long Beach Mazda: Very upfront. Said it would cost $39.95 for the synthetic blend and $69.95 for full-synthetic. This included the tire rotation (I asked a couple of times to make sure since the price was so much lower).
--> Browning Mazda in Cerritos: Pretty much stated that a full-synthetic oil change would cost around $69.95.

The different prices Rex got for oil changes with full synthetic and synthetic-blend oil opened up another can of worms for us: What kind of oil does the 2 have in it right now?

Looking back at our paperwork from the 2's first oil change around the 7,500-mile mark back in March 2011, we were charged $7.75/quart for 4 quarts of 0W20 oil (well, we were charged at that rate, and then a $20 parts discount was applied, following by an even big discout for labor... ultimately resulting in a cheap-for-this-area $32 oil change). But the receipt didn't specify which type of oil was used. So I called Santa Monica Mazda's parts department to see what kind of oil they sell.

The first person I spoke to in Parts said that this dealer only sells synthetic 0W20 for its cars, except for the "Mazdaspeed 2" which still uses non-synthetic. Uh... And then it turned out he wasn't working at this dealership back in March, so I asked, well, would it be possible for me to talk to somebody who was. He tracked down the parts manager, who asked me to read him the parts number from the original receipt (0000-77-0W20-QT). Yep, he said. That's full synthetic. "Do you sell a synthetic blend?" I asked. The answer was no. (He added that the price of their 0W20 synthetic fluctuates monthly; for October it's up to $9.54/quart.)

Since our Mazda 2 already has full synthetic in it, we made an executive decision to stick with that and therefore not do a cheaper oil change using one of the blends. The 2's owner's manual (viewable here as a PDF) does not a make a distinction between the two.

So we had a choice: go have the work done at either Long Beach Mazda or Browning Mazda (since these dealers had the lowest quotes for full synthetic changes), or I could call my advisor at Santa Monica Mazda and see if he'd match the offer.

I called him, he remembered me and was still polite. I told him I'd made some calls (well, Rex made the calls, but he doesn't know Rex) and that the Long Beach and Cerritos dealers were willing to do an oil change and tire rotation for $69.95.

"Are you willing to match that?"

"Yeah, I'll match it -- I'm not going to argue over $20."

"OK," I said, "when can I bring the car in?"

"Anytime," he said.

"I'll be over soon."

I arrived at the dealer, and the service advisor was polite and acted as if our earlier dust-up had never gone down. He typed up a new service order for $69.95 and I was out the door again in less than 5 minutes. It was now 10:45, and after over two hours of discussion and phonework by multiple Edmunds.com/Edmunds employees, we were possibly on the verge of saving the company a whole 20 bucks.

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2011 Mazda 2: 15,000-Mile Service, Part 1

October 28, 2011

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On Monday, I made an appointment to have our long-term 2011 Mazda 2 serviced today (Thursday). Making the appointment at Santa Monica Mazda was an incredibly efficient experience. The receptionist answered the phone, and transferred me to the service department where someone answered the phone immediately and helped me make an appointment for 8 a.m. On Wednesday afternoon, the service scheduler gave me a reminder phone call about my appointment the following day. So far, so good.

I rolled into the dealership service drive this morning a minute or two after 8 o'clock, and a porter greeted me, and within a minute or two, my service advisor came over and invited me into the small, tidy office.

After taking down the mileage, he began typing on his computer, making friendly conversation, asking me if I like the car (oh, I do, I told him), and it was all going very well until he printed the paperwork and told me what the estimate would be for an oil change and tire rotation...

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Rear-End Damage, Again

October 06, 2011

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Roughly 5 months ago our 2011 Mazda 2 Touring was rear-ended by a fellow motorist. We repaired that damage. Now we find this on the rear wheel opening, courtesy of another incosiderate human. Thanks buddy.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 14,244 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Back on the Road

June 22, 2011

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If you couldn't figure it out by reading Mark's post, our 2011 Mazda 2 is back on the road. The Mazda spent, coincidentally, 2 weeks on the DL. We needed one week to sort out the insurance details and another for the body shop to put humpty back together. As we were not at-fault, the repair bill didn't have our name on it. That was a good thing considering the total for repairs was $1,585.

Total Cost: None

Total days out of service: 14

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 9,586 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Rear-Ended

June 07, 2011

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You haven't heard much about our 2011 Mazda 2 lately. Well, that is because last week a careless motorist crashed into the back of it while we sat stopped in traffic.

The car sits down at the body shop now waiting for the insurance companies to reach an agreement and the actual repairs to begin. We'll let you know once it's back on the road. It could have been worse.

More pics after the jump.

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Cheapest Service Appointment

April 05, 2011

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We dropped our 2011 Mazda 2 off for service last week but didn't report the service details until now. So here is the lowdown.

This was the most inexpensive service we've encountered in Santa Monica, a town known for having higher rates than its neighbors. But it may have been a fluke. You see, the 7,500-mile oil and filter change on our Mazda 2 was supposed to cost $93. Mazda of Santa Monica happened to have a coupon rate going at the time of our appointment. We paid $32. That is on par with doing it ourselves.

Total Cost: $32.34

Days Out of Service: 0

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 7,698 miles

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2011 Mazda 2: Service Time

March 29, 2011

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We still have the paper plates on this guy and we're bringing it in for it's first service. We've tallied 7,653 miles thus far and it's due for an oil change and a tire rotation. The estimated damage is $33.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography @ 7,653 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Safe From Spiders. You're Welcome.

March 04, 2011

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Today Yesterday Mazda announced what has gotta be the scariest recall reason ever: Spiders! Apparently, the Yellow Sac spider, a common arachnid in the U.S. which is said to bite humans more than any other spider (shudder!), loves the smell of gasoline and will follow the scent and then build its web in the car's emissions system. This in turn, according to the NHTSA, could block a vent line and increase pressure in the fuel tank eventually resulting in a crack and potentially leading to fuel leak and increase fire risk. Double eek.

Oh noes, what does that mean for our 2011 Mazda 2? Fortunately, the spider is picky, only preferring the Mazda 6, so 2009-2010 Mazda 6s -- over 65,000 cars -- will be recalled.

From Reuters:

"'The affected model, the Mazda 6, has two pipes coming out from its gas tank, which is extremely rare and means that the smell of gasoline is strong enough to draw the spider in but not strong enough to kill it, [automotive journalist Mitsuhiro] Kunisawa said."

Thank goodness our little Mazda is safe. Else I'd have to avoid it altogether, don't care how cute it is.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Needed a Little Oil

February 15, 2011

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This morning I poured half a quart of 0W-20 into the little DOHC engine that powers our spritely long-term 2011 Mazda 2 Touring. It's the first time the hatchback has asked for anything besides regular gasoline.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 6,440 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: The Intimidator

November 04, 2010

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Driving around the city in a tiny, 100-horsepower car like our 2011 Mazda 2 Touring, the chances of getting bullied by the many larger cars around are high. Case in point, this morning I had a standoff with a GMC Terrain in this alley by my apartment. I was in the alley first but when the Terrain driver saw me he sped up so that I would have to be the one to move over. When I threw up my hands at him gesturing WTH, he lunged his SUV at me as if threatening to hit me. Shaking my head I then moved over. But as he squeezed past me he spit on the 2! So mean!

On my way to work I couldn't help but wonder, if I had been driving an intimidating car like the Challenger, would he have reacted the same way? I told my story to the other editors and they started coming up with suggestions on how to make the Mazda 2 tougher.

"Put it in the Raptor or have it follow the Raptor around."

"Outfit it with missiles a la James Bond's Aston."

"Strap an airhorn to its roof."

"Put spikes on its wheels."

Photoshop wizard Mark Takahashi was the one who came up with the ultimate LA city edition of the Mazda 2, or as he calls it, "Mean Mazda Deuce."

What do you think?

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Mazda Mazda2 in VA is:

$113 per month*
* Explanation
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