November 11, 2011
Our year with the 2011 Mazda 2 is over. By the time you read this it will have left our hands and the task of writing the wrap-up article will have landed with a thud on someone's desk.
After one year and 15,372 miles of recorded fill-ups the Mazda 2 precisely nailed the EPA's combined fuel economy rating of 32 MPG. Our best tanks have exceeded the promise of 35 mpg highway on several occasions.
But it was close. The Average Lifetime MPG read 31.9 as recently as two tanks earlier, which would still have rounded up to 32 in the all-integer world of window sticker mpg. But a pair of final tanks at 34.0 and 34.5 nudged the average up to 31.98 mpg, which rounds to 32.0 and adds a decimal point of precision to the result.
Thing is, I hadn't looked at any of these figures beforehand. I didn't know it was that close and I didn't hypermile the thing to bring the numbers up. I simply drove as per usual in my semi-impatient style. And those last two tanks weren't highway tanks, either. There was plenty of city mixed in there, too. Seems to me the Mazda 2's rated mpg is getting easier to achieve with every mile.
One thing seems clear: the Mazda 2's predicted window sticker MPG numbers are absolutely realistic.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,462 miles
November 03, 2011
After 16,000 miles in our fleet, our manual-shift 2011 Mazda 2 is averaging 31.9 mpg. That is oh so close to its EPA-estimated 32 mpg combined rating. The EPA's city figure is 29 mpg; the highway number is 35.
Last weekend, I put a lot of miles on the 2 and realized how easy it is to always be in the 30s with this car. (Maybe you'd argue that mpg should always be in the 40s with a subcompact, but at this point in the 21st century, most cars in this class are only in the 30s... our long-term 2009 Fit averaged 31.4 mpg over 21,000 miles.)
My mileage dipped to 31.1 mpg on the tank that included my back-road run and subsequent commute in heavy traffic. But on the next tank, which was mostly open highway, it was back up to 35.6.
I'm certainly not arguing that the Mazda 2 is the perfect small car. The 1.5-liter engine sounds good when you're accelerating hard, but it also never really shuts up, so there's a constant drone on the highway that not everyone will be willing to tolerate. There's also a lot of road noise, which though not unexpected in this class (particularly in the 2, which sacrifices a few comforts here and there to keep curb weight in check; ours weighs 2,274 pounds), nevertheless does get a bit tiresome during longer stints in the car.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 16,102 miles
April 11, 2011
Nothing in particular to share with you except an incredible sunset that happened this weekend and what felt like a daring foray deep into "E" on the fuel gauge. When the "REMNG" range showed "0 mile," I decided it was time to visit the gas station. Guess how much of a comfort cushion Mazda gives its owners when it appears the car is running on fumes?
April 07, 2011
For some people, a trip computer may seem superfluous. I'm not one of those people. Although I'm not averse to keeping tabs the more accurate, old school way by "doing the math", it's still nice to see at a glance about what I'm getting for fuel mileage. And, while on a road trip, knowing roughly how many more miles I can go before I need to refuel. The Touring trim of the 2 comes with a five function trip computer that provides those two functions in addition to current fuel economy, average speed (you don't want to know if you live in L.A.) and outside temp.
If I were buying a 2, the Touring has a few other features that would sway me towards it versus the base version, namely the leather-wrapped steering wheel w/ audio controls, cruise control and the fancier seats.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 7,919 miles
February 25, 2011
With all the news of rising gas prices (predicted to reach $5/gallon by Memorial Day), I reset the average fuel consumption computer before I drove home last night. Just a 41-mile drive, and some of it was in stop-and-go traffic on the infamous 91 East freeway, and this is what I saw when I arrived at home an hour and a half later. Yes, that's an average of about 27 mph, but earning nearly 41 mpg consumed about 1 gallon of gas.
I used what I'd describe as a moderate-hyper-miling technique: upshifting at 2,000 rpm, downshifting instead of braking as much as possible, never coasting in neutral, and (without being a nuisance) I tried to keep a buffer between the Mazda and the car in front of me so that I could maintain a reasonably constant speed. I watched the Camry in front of me bounce back and forth between me and the Suburban ahead of him--like a game of Pong--for about an hour.
Are you worried about fuel prices now? How are you going to change your driving habits? Or are you going to dust off that bike in the corner of the garage?
Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 6,676 miles
December 07, 2010
Since the Thunderhill 25 Hour Enduro is, well, a 25-hour enduro, I decided to park our 2011 Mazda 2 for another night after the race ended, get some much-needed sleep and make the 513-mile drive back to SoCal on Monday morning.
Good call. A Monday morning liftoff allowed me to miss I-5's notorious weekend traffic mayhem. It's only got two lanes in each direction, you see, and the car and truck speed limits differ by a full 15 mph, and any pickup or SUV towing anything at all has to abide by the commercial truck limit. California is stupid like that. This makes for an infuriating drive when you factor in a bunch of weekend traffic as people attempt to stream back to LA from San Francisco and other points north.
Missing this mess by one day played in to my plan to run a conservative pace for a shot at good mpg, but the drive started off with rain and a stiff headwind. Mother Nature seemed to have other ideas.
December 03, 2010
NASA's 25-hrs of Thunderhill road race is this weekend, and it's one of the coolest enduros of the year. Positioned on the calendar after all road race seasons have ended, this races draws cars and racers from all over the country -- even other parts of the world -- for one last go before next season starts.
So I climbed aboard our 2011 Mazda 2 and made the 513-mile trek to Willows, California to check it out.
Our Mazda 2 handled the long, boring interstate that is the I-5 with ease. It tracked straight and true, as if it were a much larger car. The driving position was great and the seat stayed comfy and supportive over the 8-hour drive. The lack of an armrest was no big thang, but the presence of cruise control on our Touring model was a huge plus.
I averaged 32 mpg over the two tanks, but I was going with the flow of traffic, and the flow of traffic on I-5 runs faster than an EPA dyno, which rates this car at 35 mpg on the highway, 32 combined. I'll run with the trucks on the way home and see if it can do better.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,487 miles
November 24, 2010
It being Thanksgiving and all, the talk is of long-distance travel. And when I tell people that I've once done the drive from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area in the Mazda 2, they look at me in a certain way. It's not a good way, either.
Then they tell me all the reasons that come to mind for avoiding Interstate travel in a car that's smaller than a pocket battleship and powered by an engine less powerful than a hydro-electric generator at Hoover Dam.
And they have a point. The Mazda 2's short wheelbase makes it sensitive to the fore-and-aft pitching caused by the rolling, broken cement slabs of California's overused freeways. The torsion beam rear axle is a little heavy in the unsprung weight department, and the ride can be a bit springy. And it is actually necessary to shift the transmission when accelerating onto an onramp after getting a tank of gas. (Of course, the Mazda 2 gets such great gas mileage that you don't have to stop for gas, really.)
But when I tell people about the back roads where I've been in the Mazda 2 when I get to the Bay Area, they understand. Suddenly all the car's imagined liabilities become assets. The short wheelbase that enhances manueverability. The light weight that fosters agility. The quick-shifting manual transmission that makes the frugal inline-4 engine feel as if it's bred for racing.
We all natter on endlessly about light weight when it comes to sports cars, but we frequently forget that light weight improves almost everything about the way any automobile drives. After all, when you go for a run, you don't carry a 50-pound sack of rocks on your back.
Probably the Mazda 2 would get a little more respect for the purposes of cross-country travel if it looked more like a sports coupe and less like than some weird vegetable from the designer grocery. (Cauliflower from a particularly remote Asian country, I'm thinking.)
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com.
November 15, 2010
Welcome to Lancaster, California. As you see here, somebody woke up fresh as a daisy after staying at an Intercontinental Hotel Group resort. I put about 200 highway miles on our long-term 2011 Mazda 2 Touring over the weekend, and I was surprised by how good the highway ride is on this car. It's controlled, and compliant -- bordering on cushy.
I really didn't expect this level of compliance and isolation from a sub-2,300-pound subcompact. Instead, I expected the Mazda 2 to ride more like our departed 2009 Honda Fit, which weighed nearly 2,500 pounds. The Fit was well mannered on the highway, but not a bit soft and cushiony.
And though the Mazda 2 lacks much of the Honda Fit's utility, its above-average ride quality could swing a potential buying decision in its favor if you're a long-distance solo commuter.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 2,744 miles