2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Back Where I Belong
June 30, 2011
I don't know what it is about me, but I love bombing around west Los Angeles in subcompacts. Not all subcompacts (or if you want to get precise, compacts, based on modern interior volume measurements), but the ones that have some personality. Our 2011 Mazda 2 certainly does.
Its 1.5-liter four-cylinder is short on low-end torque (as if it would be any other way) but feels more potent than the 1.4-liter in our long-term Fiat 500... these engines have the same published torque rating at the crank -- 98 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm -- but a different torque curve, I'm sure. And interestingly, the Mazda is about 150 pounds lighter if you want to talk total curb weight.
More importantly, the 2's 1.5-liter makes a pleasing growl as it revs, and when I'm in this car, it's revving quite a lot. I'll beat you to that hole in traffic, I will.
Working through the gears is fun even if the slightly awkward seating position sometimes results in me executing shifts that aren't quite perfectly smooth. I'd probably still rather teach someone to drive a manual transmission in a Honda Fit, but this setup is pretty forgiving, so we'd make do in the Mazda.
Finally, we've written about it ad nauseum (maybe?), but the rightness of the electric-assist power steering in this car can't be overstated. It's quick and precise with logical effort levels and there's some genuine feedback here. This is how to do steering in a subcompact/B-segment hatch. Everybody should do it this way.
So glad to see this car in my carport once more.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,694 miles