2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Terrific Shifter
November 02, 2010
Our longterm 2011 Mazda 2 proves that inexpensive cars don't have to have crummy shifters. In fact, its shifter is pretty danged good.
Light and whippy shifters like the one in the Honda Civic Si have their place. The reward that comes with using the Mazda 2's shifter, however, is more about substance.
The shift gates are distinctly defined and the lever moves between them with precision and... solidity. That's the word. Slop is minimal. There's a hint of notchiness to the 2's shift action, but not too much. Just enough to give it a nice mechanical feel without adding resistance that would slow down your gearchanges.
It offers positive and solid engagement that you don't expect in a car this affordable. You can shift it quickly and shift it hard and it never feels flimsy.
It simply satisfying to use. Good thing, too, because you need to stir that lever quite a bit to get the most out of the little engine.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor