Used 2011 Mazda 2 Hatchback
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2011 Mazda 2 keeps the fun alive as an economical hatchback, but comes up a bit short when compared to the competition.
Entry-level hatchbacks have been getting better and better with the passing years. For the most part, it's getting harder to refer to them as penalty boxes as they've been receiving ever-increasing levels of comfort and features. Now you can add the 2011 Mazda 2 to that list of price-conscious hatchbacks. But in some cases we think it will struggle against its more well-rounded competitors.
Comparisons to the current darling of the hatchback segment, the Ford Fiesta, are inevitable since the Fiesta is actually built on the Mazda 2's platform. As such, both cars share some basic positives and negatives. On the plus side, the Mazda 2 is quite sporty to drive, and indeed this is one area where Mazda is quite proud of its new entry-level car. The car's sleek look (for a hatchback) and lower-than-average price are other highlights.
Like the Ford, however, the Mazda 2 is hampered by a lack of cargo space -- a Honda Fit can carry about twice as much gear as the Mazda. In addition, the Mazda 2's rear seats are cramped by comparison and its fuel economy doesn't exactly raise the bar for this segment either. The list of standard and available features for the Mazda is quite short, too.
Besides the 2011 Ford Fiesta and 2011 Honda Fit, other competing hatchbacks include the 2011 Nissan Cube and 2011 Nissan Versa, the 2011 Suzuki SX4 and Toyota Yaris. Certainly, the Mazda 2's sporty handling will be a draw, but in most other respects it does little to impress us. With the level of quality of subcompacts increasing yearly, we think consumers would be wise to shop the competition before committing to a 2011 Mazda 2.
2011 Mazda 2 configurations
The 2011 Mazda 2 is a five-passenger, four-door subcompact hatchback that is available in two trim levels -- Sport and Touring. The Sport comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt steering wheel and a four-speaker CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary input jack.
Upgrading to the Touring trim will get you 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear roof spoiler, chrome exhaust tips, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a trip computer, cruise control, upgraded cloth seats with red piping, and two additional speakers for the audio system.
Factory options for either trim level include an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a center console with an armrest. Bluetooth and a removable Garmin navigation system are expected to become available as dealer accessories.
Performance & mpg
The 2011 Mazda 2 is powered by a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 100 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with a four-speed automatic available at additional cost. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 29 mpg city/35 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined for the manual transmission and 27/33/29 mpg for the automatic. In Edmunds performance testing, the 2 went from zero to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds with the manual. This is performance on par with the rest of the class, but getting the automatic will slow things down considerably.
Standard safety features for the 2011 Mazda 2 include antilock brakes (discs in front/drums in rear), front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and stability and traction control. In Edmunds brake testing, the 2 came to a stop from 60 mph in 129 feet -- an acceptable distance for this type of car. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Mazda 2 received its top rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and roof strength tests, but a second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the side impact test.
The 100-hp output from the 1.5-liter four-cylinder is weak by today's standards, even for an economy car. But the 2011 Mazda 2 makes the most of it -- at least with the manual transmission. The outdated four-speed automatic has rough tendencies under acceleration, downshifting from 3rd gear to 1st. Not only that, but the automatic comes with a penalty of a few miles per gallon compared to the manual.
The light 2,300-pound curb weight reduces the strain on the free-revving engine to give this hatchback a sportier feel. It also helps the car's handling, and as a result the Mazda 2 is likely the most nimble and agile car in its class. The steering is communicative and quick, a rarity among electric power steering units.
The 2011 Mazda 2's interior is comparable to other hatchbacks in this economical price range. The design itself is modern, with no elements to fawn over or bemoan. Hard plastics are plentiful, but that is to be expected. The front seats are relatively comfortable and offer enough room for taller adults, though the lack of a telescoping steering wheel is a notable omission. Also disappointing are the rear seats, which are flat and cramped. With those rear seats in place, cargo capacity is 13.3 cubic feet, which is small for a hatchback. With the 60/40-split seats folded (they don't fold completely flat), that figure goes up to 27.8 cubes -- a Fit can hold 57.3 cubic feet.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
These days, it's not often you see a new car touted for its light weight, because almost every new model launched is heavier than the vehicle it replaces. Mazda, the maker of some of the sweetest-handling cars and crossovers around, has for a long time preached the virtues of light weight, and with the all-new 2011 Mazda 2 subcompact hatchback, engineers worked hard to chop the pounds and ounces wherever possible. Less weight gives the Mazda 2 agile responses and makes it entertaining to drive, but doesn't offset the meager output of the car's engine and doesn't translate into anything more than competitive fuel economy.
Enthusiasts of the brand clamored for Mazda to bring the tidy Mazda 2 to the U.S. as soon as the first versions of this generation went on sale in other world markets in 2007. The fuss to bring the Mazda 2 Stateside became more intense when it was named World Car of the Year for 2008.
Now that it's here, the 2011 Mazda 2 has to mix it up with some well-established rivals, including Honda's popular Fit, the Nissan Versa, Scion's xD and, most notably, the 2011 Ford Fiesta, which is based on the same platform as the Mazda 2 -- a platform that Mazda developed and likely is to be the last shared by these two companies now that their long relationship has come to an end.
Used 2011 Mazda 2 Hatchback Overview
The Used 2011 Mazda 2 Hatchback is offered in the following styles: Touring 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 4A), Sport 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 4A), Touring 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 5M), and Sport 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 5M).
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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Mazda 2?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.