2011 Mazda 2 Long-Term Road Test - Miscellaneous

2011 Mazda 2 Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Mazda 2: The Blue Light is Special

November 10, 2011


Yes, I know that our 2011 Mazda 2 doesn't have a real temperature gauge, and I know that some feel the blue and red thermometer icons are a poor substitute.

But now that the mornings are getting cold I really like the blue light.

Unlike a near-motionless gauge, the bright blue lamp draws attention to the fact that the car is cold, too cold for the heater to do anything other than pump freezing air into the cabin at a time when I really, really don't want it. And it's timed to wink off when the engine's coolant is juuuust warm enough to make some real heat -- an important thing to know in a car with manual climate controls.

Would I like a gauge? Would it accomplish the same thing if I watched for the needle to lift off the peg? Sure, but that's not something I see out of the corner of my eye as easily as this. I mainly use a gauge to monitor things on the hot end of the spectrum.

Even if the Mazda 2 had a proper temperature gauge I'd want to keep this blue light, too. It's special.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehcicle Testing @ 14,406 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Grille Isn't The Only Thing That's Smiling

October 27, 2011

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Some cars have the wonderful ability to put a smile on your face, no matter how crummy the day is. I count the Mazda 2 among these cars. It's perfectly eager and fun, and never fails to cheer me up when I'm behind the wheel. I'll be sad to see it go.

Which cars lift your spirits?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Does it fit?

October 08, 2011

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You know the scenario: late for a meeting or appointment, you prowl the concrete tree house looking for that one spot, as close to the staircase as possible that somebody just vacated. You find one! Alas, the parking stalls, despite the ever-increasing size of most vehicles in the U.S., have grown narrower. Have you noticed? Maybe it's just an L.A./O.C. thing. At any rate, I was so happy to be driving the Mazda2 because I doubt even a Mazda3 would have fit in the stall--I did have to fold the driver's-side mirror to thread my way between the cars, however. Thanks to this compact car actually fitting in a "Compact" stall, I made it to the meeting with plenty of time to spare.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 14,636 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: A Car for the Person I Used to Be

September 29, 2011

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As a cub reporter for a big daily newspaper, I spent a lot of time driving to a wide variety of assignments. It could be anything from interviewing an accused murderer at Orange County Jail to a stroll through the coastal foothills with an expert in edible wild plants.

It was a job that called for a car that was nimble, reliable, easy to park and cheap to buy, gas and maintain. (Newspaper reporters always were underpaid. Now they're mostly just unemployed.)

If the Mazda 2 Touring had been on my radar then, I would have enjoyed its company. I'm a different kind of car owner now, and it doesn't suit me quite as well. Small size is less of a consideration. I want more creature comforts now. And my passion for a manual transmission is a sometimes thing. But if I could send a note back to the car owner I used to be, I might say: "Leave the Corolla. Take the Mazda."

And for God's sake, girl, keep up with your oil changes.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @14,224 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: A Weighty Issue

September 21, 2011

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When the all new Mazda 2 debuted, the taut new sheetmetal and the fact that it was coming to the U.S. sort of overshadowed -- at least in the U.S. market -- that the car had lost 220 pounds generation over generation.

Weight loss in a new model is a great trend that we're going to see more and more of as this fuel economy thing gets more popular. Of course, we all know the "add lightness" maxim, but what does this much weight mean for performance?

Well, 5th Gear the second best car show on the planet (TGUSA is getting close, though, the Death Valley episode was solid) took a look into it using the normal Mazda 2 as a baseline, and then filled it with Heavy Terry and ran the numbers again.

Video after the jump.

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2011 Mazda 2: Hey Look, Another One!

September 01, 2011


Don't know about you, but I haven't seen many other Mazda 2s around. Or even, well, any. Granted, I could have been more aware since I was driving our 2 at the time, but I think this green one I came across yesterday was the first one I've seen that wasn't ours.

I thought we might actually have a moment, too. You know, share a nod or brief hand wave and bond over the aspect that we're driving/owning a car that hardly anybody else in America even knows exists. But nope. The driver just kept her eyes straight ahead as I passed slowly on the right left.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Mazda 2: Top 10 Things I Like About It

August 31, 2011


I've spent a lot of time with our Mazda 2 since we got it back in October last year, and I've found myself liking it more as time goes on. Here are 10 reasons why.

1) Fuel Economy. Our car is meeting its combined EPA average of 32 mpg and, outside of the Jetta TDI, is a leading car in our fleet.

2) Easy to park. Its petite size means it's easy to fit in even tight parking spaces. (Yes, this is your golden opportunity to comment given the photo I used above.)

3) Snappy shifter. The Mazda 2 has a really nice shifter. It falls readily to hand, moves quickly from gate to gate and has just the right amount of heft to it.

4) Comfortable. For a subcompact, the 2 rides quite well. The front seats are nice, too, even for long distances.

5) Worry free. This is more of a potential ownership aspect. But there's just less stress driving the 2 than other pricier (M56, for example) or police-attracting (Mustang) cars in our fleet.

6) Quick steering. Along with the shifter, this makes the 2 pretty fun to drive.

7) Simple controls. It doesn't get much more classic or easy-to-use than this.

8) Slow. Yes, sometimes it's actually fun to test your skills with a slow car.

9) Decent interior storage. For a car that lacks a center storage bin, the 2 does pretty well here.

10) Easy to see out of. Compared to many modern sedans with their coupe-like rooflines, it's a revelation to actually be able to see things.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Keeps On Ticking

August 29, 2011


While we've only marked up 13,000 miles so far in our Mazda 2, I'm pretty impressed on how it's faired so far. Other than the oil change at 7,500 miles, we've paid in nothing extra (the rear-ender wasn't our fault). Nothing's broke, nothing's gone on the fritz and nothing has fallen off. The interior is rattle-free and solid. A small victory for simplicity, perhaps?

Anyway, for an inexpensive set of wheels, the Deuce is so far having a nice showing of durability.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 13,059 miles

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2011 Mazda 2: Take the Mazda or the Mustang?

August 22, 2011


"Do you want the Mazda 2 or the Mustang?"

This was Mike Schmidt last week asking me what car I wanted to take for next few days. Hmm. One car has iconic styling, herculean power and a fresh set of tires that needs to be "broken in." The other has pod-car styling, asthmatic power and economy-biased tires.

Well, I took the Mazda.

There were a few reasons for this. For one, I haven't driven the Mazda 2 since January. It doesn't get much love around the office -- I figured it could use some. But more importantly, I just couldn't commit to the Mustang. (At least not this time.) Yes, the Mustang is easy to drive and a fine daily driver, but there's a lingering expectation that when you grab the keys you're going to go out and live life like you're a cancer patient with one month to live. In contrast, my weekend "bucket list" plans consisted of schlepping my kids around, picking up some gear at Pep Boys and then parking at the airport for a trip today.

The Mazda was the right car for the job -- four doors, a decent backseat, an near-invisible profile to thieves/vandals and easy to park.

Just like Erin, I really do like this car, pod-car styling, asthmatic power, economy-biased tires and all.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 12,825 miles

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2011 Mazda 2: Least Popular Small Car in the Fleet?

August 03, 2011


If you've been following or voting in Donna's recent Long-Term Road Test blog poll, then you know you're looking at everybody's least favorite small car in our fleet. I take issue with that, because the 2011 Mazda 2 is my favorite small car in our fleet. (I had planned to drive it to Montana, until it was suggested that the BMW 528i needed the miles.)

To me, the Mazda 2 is the easy pick out of our current stable of smallish cars. (Well, easy, with the acknowledgement that Project Miata is sidelined right now and, that even when it's running well, it's still an elderly car that wouldn't be a great choice as your sole daily driver -- though some kind of platoon deal with a newer econobox could work.)

I argue that the 2 has the best steering in this group -- it's precise with near perfect effort levels and a lot more feel than you expect from EPS. It also has an easy clutch takeup (at least it does in my preferred seating position) and I like how the shifter moves through the gates (medium-length throws). And I kind of enjoy the growl from its 1.5-liter engine.

None of the other cars you voted on can compete in these areas. I would have expected I'd lobby for the Mini Countryman, but no, the clutch doesn't give you enough feel and it's hard to complete a gearchange smoothly. Also, this Mini is unsmall, and it lacks the Cooper hatch's wonderfully unencumbered feel through corners.

The Fiat 500 has its moments, but it doesn't feel quite like a real car compared to the Mazda. The ride is busier, the seating postion is more of a perch at your local watering hole than an actual seat, and acceleration is hopelessly pokey. Unquestionably, the Fiat is better looking than the Mazda (which looks like a bald old man when it's painted white), but that's not how I choose cars.

Finally, the Nissan Juke. This strange crossover brew is a lot more enjoyable than any of us expected, but it's high off the ground and ours is missing that all-important third pedal. So Mazda 2 all the way.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,316 miles

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2011 Mazda 2: Sent to the Poor House

June 29, 2011


For the better part of two weeks, I've been driving nothing but loaded luxury cars: Equus, Genesis R-Spec, Infiniti M56 and Mercedes-Benz CLS550. Alas, my time in the latter came to a gut-wrenching, tear-streaming end and I was forced to resume my normally scheduled long-term duties. As I had been making my way down the LT board alphabetically, I landed on the Mazda 2. Talk about austerity measures.

The first thing I noticed was that I had to suffer the indignity of inserting the key into the ignition and turning my wrist in order to start the car. Seriously, I might've been injured. When I reached to engage the cooled seats, I found a huge slidey thing that when slid failed to properly chill my hind quarters. Perhaps it's used as a release to dust crops. As I felt under my butt to confirm its lack of chilling, I also noticed a distinct lack of cow hide. My poor trousers.

But my dear friends, it gets worse. Not only did I have to shift my own gears (what's next, fetch my own slippers?), there were only five of those gears. Not seven and especially not eight. What kind of heap is this? As I pulled out of the Edmunds garage, it became ubundantly clear that the Mazda 2 did not have a twin-turbo V8 and was aghast that it obviously didn't have 443 pound-feet of torque. When I got to the office this morning, I discovered it only has 96 torques. 96? I'm fairly certain my blender has more. As I turned up the radio to wash out the loud buzzing, there were sadly 11 fewer speakers than I had in the Genesis.

Yet, I suppose there is something to be said for the 4 extra feet left over between the 2 and my wife's car in our tandem parking spot. And it was kind of fun zipping around corners. Otherwise, I miss my Benz. I think I shall retire to the kitchen and weap over my morning Earl Grey latte.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9,680 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Choosing Mazda

March 14, 2011


Somebody stopped me at the ATM to ask about the Mazda 2. This happens a lot to all of us at Edmunds. The people asking about cars part, not the ATM part.

Her VW Passat is getting tired, so she's thinking about handing it down to her 18-year-old daughter for school and then buying something simple to get back and forth the few miles to her job in the environmental safety office of one of the local refineries. Like a lot of people these days, she's looking for something simple.

The surprising thing was, she already knew a lot about the Mazda 2, and preferred it to the Honda Fit.

She hadn't really been in a Mazda 2 although she'd driven a friend's Fit, so we did a walkaround and then I let her take a seat. She liked being in the Mazda because of the good visibility, and she also found the interior to be much in the same European style that she liked in her Passat.

I gave her the usual advice. Told her that the three leading candidates in the segment for me were the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Mazda 2, and said to go around and get into each and she'd be able to make a good choice.

The interesting thing to me is the fact that she already knew so much about the Mazda 2 — its size and features and fuel economy, not to mention its competition. It made me think again that Mazda people seem to know the deal a little better than enthusiasts of other brands.

Of course this is probably because it takes some effort to swerve out of the mainstream and seek something out of the ordinary, so naturally this would select for the kind of buyers who would be studying up, since they'd need some facts to help persuade them to adopt a different kind of choice.

That's the trouble with being a small critical success — only the smart people can find you. Mazda probably would settle for a few more dumb ones besides, of course.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 7,394 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Great First Car?

March 09, 2011


My nephew Dino is 10 years old. My godson John is 13. At those ages I couldn't wait to start driving. What a thrill it was just to sit in a driver seat. Of course, at that age, I was coveting all sorts of vehicles that would've probably killed me -- a Porsche 914, an Alfa Romeo Spyder Veloce or a Honda Interceptor 500, to name a few. Magrath would probably crack wise and ask if the wheel was even invented back then. Jerk.

My first car ended up being the 1982 Toyota Corolla that was also my brother and sister's first car. That ol' Crapolla had me thinking that our Mazda 2 would probably make a great first car for my nephew or godson. In some ways, there are similarities between the two cars.

Like the Corolla, the Mazda 2 has just enough power to get into a little trouble, but not enough to get into a whole lot of trouble. There's little in the way of extras to distract me from driving and I probably wouldn't feel totally embarrassed to pull into the student parking lot in it.

I'm guessing that both Dino and John are smarter than I was back then (I didn't exactly have a grasp on what mortality was), so here's to hoping they're more responsible than I was. With antilock brakes and stability control today, I think they'll be just fine -- no need for Ford's MyKey nanny here.

So what do you think? What was your first car, and what do you think makes a good first car today?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Blind Spots Begone

March 08, 2011


First thing I noticed during my commute home last night - tons of glass.

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2011 Mazda 2: 7th Least Expensive Hatchback

February 17, 2011


Attention, college students, Edmunds' list of the Top 10 Least Expensive Hatchbacks and Wagons of 2011 just came out and the 2011 Mazda 2 came in at 7th with an MSRP of $14,180, pricier than the Versa and cheaper than the Cube. But I think out of the vehicles listed, I'd be more inclined to buy the 2. How about you? Which budget hatchback do you prefer?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2011 Mazda 2: Sufficiency

February 07, 2011

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In the space of just 3 months, so much already has been written about our unexpectedly fun-to-drive Mazda2, about how well it rides on the highway, about its excellent fuel economy, about how well it fits into our cramped world, and how simple and honest its design is. I couldn't help but notice that there's a thread through all these Mazda2 entries that has struck a chord with me recently.


Sufficiency is the lack of scarcity and the lack of abundance. Sufficiency is neither going without nor stuffing your face until you feel sick. Sufficiency is being happy with exactly what you've got--nothing more and nothing less. To me, this is the quality of the Mazda2 that each staff member has written about in his or her own way without knowing it.

Isn't 10-seconds a reasonable amount time to get to 60 mph? Aren't 13.3 cu-ft enough for most runs to Trader Joe's? Isn't seating for 4 almost always enough or more-often too much? Sure, it could use an armrest up front, and a Bluetooth phone connection would be nice, but it seems most of us just can't help but love this $16,000 Mazda2. (I know ours is white--that's a press-kit photo I used.) And like Brent said, I also think Mazda might find more buyers for the Mazda2 if they upped the standard features for small bump in price.

But it sure seems most of us want/buy/drive/pay/park/insure more car than we really need. Sure, some families need more space, more seats, more ground clearance, or even 4WD, but not many of us really do. Really?

The Mazda2 just might be the next big thing. After all, small is the new big, right?

Don't get me wrong. My favorite car on the planet is still the uncompromising Porsche 911 GT3. I was positively gob-smacked by the 2012 Nissan GT-R when I got to test it at the track last week. And one of the best track days of my life happened behind the steering wheels of three Corvettes.

I'm not getting soft or losing my edge. I'm just growing to recognize and appreciate the simpler things in life--along with the extremes at either end. Recognizing and appreciating sufficiency is a pretty liberating thing. It lets you get off the better, faster, bigger, cooler, gotta-have-it hamster wheel. You should give it a try.

Just like the 2011 Mazda 2 and our staff, you might find yourself inexplicably happy with something you already have.

You might be able to tell I've been doing a fair share of navel-gazing recently from this post and you'd be right. I've been reading books and blogs about being more authentic and choosing to be a happier person. Sorry if this is a off-putting, but it's where I am right now--and I'm okay telling you about it.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 6,300 miles

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2011 Mazda 2: Goes Down Easy

February 03, 2011

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The photo above shows the view from the bottom of the ramp that leads to the underground parking structure at the Whole Paycheck Foods store near the Edmunds hive. Between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays, the structure is often crowded to capacity with the cars, minivans and SUVs of shoppers replenishing their groceries after work.

It can be hard nabbing a parking space there, but last night the task was a lot less challenging, all because I was driving the Mazda 2.

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: The Way Forward

February 02, 2011


I was looking at sales figures for January today. Mazda sold 479 last month, which isn't a terrible number for within the brand (only 202 Tributes were sold in the same period, for example) but it's well off the pace of other subcompacts like the Honda Fit (4,314 sold), Ford Fiesta (4,270), Nissan Cube (1,661) or even the Suzuki SX4 (978).

Obviously, the 2 is just now building up consumer awareness. But as much as I like our long-termer, I think the 2 is going to be a tough sell. For what people are shopping for in a subcompact, I think other cars are simply more appealing, whether it's the Fit for versatility or the Fiesta for features and an upscale vibe. The Mazda 2 does hold advantages in terms of handling and price. But handling is only a minor consideration for this class of car, and I'm just not sure being $1,000 cheaper is enough of a draw.

Am I wrong here? And if not, do you think Mazda has a hope for increased Mazda 2 success?

Here's my suggestion: Add more features to make the Mazda 2 more competitive from this standpoint, even if that increases the price. These could be simple things like standard Bluetooth and USB. Also, offer a sport package that enhances the car's handling to really make it stand out and be, well, more Mazda. The 2 won't ever be able to compete in terms of versatility, but with a couple changes it could be much more of a viable alternative.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Mazda 2: Enjoyable Runabout

January 26, 2011


I've found myself pleasantly surprised with our Mazda 2 over the past few days. I haven't done anything in "the Deuce" other than drive around town, but I've enjoyed its nimble size, comfortable ride quality and tractable 1.5-liter engine.

For the latter, I've found I can shift right at 2,000 rpm for each gear and be in fifth gear by about 37 mph. Yeah, the result is pokey acceleration -- in contrast, James is compelled to always drive the snot out of it -- but I've found it's still sufficient to keep up with city traffic. And the payoff is better fuel economy.

It's been a while since we've had a subcompact in the fleet. For me, it's a refreshing change.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Not an IIHS Top Safety Pick

January 20, 2011


For those shopping the Fiesta against the 2011 Mazda 2, thought you might be interested in this: The 2011 Mazda 2 lost the IIHS's Top Safety Pick to the Ford Fiesta. For the crash test, it scored Good in everything except in protecting the driver's pelvis/leg area where it got a Marginal. Ouch.

From the IIHS site: "Driver -- Measures taken from the dummy indicate a fracture of the pelvis would be possible in a crash of this severity. The risk of significant injuries to other body regions is low."

Does that make you like the Mazda 2 a little less?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2011 Mazda 2: A Nice Take on Basic

January 07, 2011

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The more time I spend in the 2, the more it grows on me. It's just so tossable - I like the fact that it's got enough fun in its gun to slip a sly thrill or two into my daily commute. I like the thoughtful, attractive layout of its controls. And I respect the fact that it offers impressive fuel economy - last month, it was the second most fuel-efficient car in our fleet.

The car's horsepower shortcomings aren't an issue with the manual transmission, but of course, most buyers will go for the automatic. I'd love to spend some time in the automatic to see if it's as sluggish as I imagine.

Anyone out there driven a 2 with the automatic transmission?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2011 Mazda 2: Blindfolded

January 04, 2011


There are very few cars that, were I blindfolded, I would be able to tell you what I was driving. Granted some cars, usually by manufacturer, have a unique new car smell which would give them away. Our Chevy Cruze, for instance, smells like egg nog while our BMW 528i smells like cookie dough. Delicious chemical smells notwithstanding, I could tell you, while blindfolded (please don't try this), that I was behind the wheel of our Mazda2 or any Mazda for that matter.

Mazdas just have this unique feel to them; they never bombard you with too much information. Mazda has balanced what you need to know with what you think you need to know, perfectly. BMWs used to have a similar balance, but now... not so much.

What's the big deal? Well, in today's world of electric steering, which can be like turning a stack of soggy pancakes, and multi-modal electronic suspension trickery, Mazda has stayed true to what it's always done best - good, honest feel. Everything from the CX-9 down to the Mazda2 (yes, I'm ignoring the Tribute) feels like a Mazda, and that's still a good thing.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 5,162 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: A Brother Tackles Thunderhill

December 05, 2010


No, this is not our 2011 Mazda 2 Touring long term test car with a covering of stickers. It is in fact a race-prepped Mazda 2, built to compete in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race.

Mazda, Honda and other manufacturers are discussing a rules package for a proposed "B-spec" series for a range of subcompact cars that are known as b-segment cars within the industry.

In addition to Honda, which brought a race-prepped Honda Fit of their own to Thunderhill, the Ford Fiesta, Chevy Aveo, and Toyota Yaris are among others that could be eligible as early as the 2011 club-racing seasons in SCCA, NASA or both.

Prepartion costs are to be kept to a minimum, with unmodified factory engines paired with approved bolt-on suspension, tire, brake and exhaust mods. The above cars also have gutted interiors, which allows for proper welded-in roll cages, makes them look racier and, more importantly, improves performance by cutting out a couple of hundred pounds of weight.

What do you make of this? I think it's cool, but then I come from a background of racing small subcompacts similar to these. I can't get enough of this stuff.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,501 miles

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2011 Mazda 2: Meet Baby Sparkles

November 22, 2010

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I'm fervently against naming your car. Unless it's "Batmobile," "Eleanor," or in rare instances "Oliver," a man has no business personifying his ride with a moniker. It's definitely a girl thing, because only girls have ever asked me "what's your car's name?" and walked away disappointed when I've said "Jetta" or "Z3."

So I could only facepalm (visual representation below) when my girlfriend's Mazda 3 was christened "Mr. Sparkles" by her mother due to its sparkly Crystal White Pearl Mica paint. I was loath to refer to it as Mr. Sparkles and thankfully, my girlfriend was as well. Yet, like a parasitic creature, the name wove its way into our lexicon and sporadic, usually ironic references to Mr. Sparkles began (though rarely uttered by me).

Then we got our new long-term Mazda 2 in Crystal White Pearl Mica. As I drove it home the first night it joined our fleet, I pulled into our house right behind my girlfriend's 3. A horrible thought crossed my mind ...

"Behold, Baby Sparkles." And thus, I had named a car for the very first time. Crap.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,732 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Night and Day

November 10, 2010


I have two different commuting experiences to share.

Driving the Mazda 2 home in crawling traffic on the freeway. And I mean crawling. Never stopped so I could take a break, never moving enough to be able to fully remove my foot from the clutch for more than a second or two. Not fun. Thankfully, the clutch is light so my leg didn't give out completely. But it is very springy, too. So, you can't wiggle your foot around much.

Next morning, driving on the streets with light traffic and no one in my way. The springy light clutch helps you take off quickly on hills. When you are driving on a level plain, the car is so light that the engine seems peppy enough. We had some fun together. Going up a hill is another story. It only wants to play "I Think I Can, I Think I Can."

This would be a good car for a beginner to learn to drive because you really have to drive the Mazda 2. You can feel everything it is doing. It would give a new driver a good understanding of how things work.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 Mazda 2: The Simplicity of Inexpensive

November 09, 2010


If there's one thing that makes cheap cars endearing, it's that they're cheap. Want another one? How about simplified center stacks. With no need to squeeze in stuff like navigation systems, seat heater buttons, telephone pads, massage functions, voice control activation switches and all the other stuff typically found in today average car, you're left with three-dial climate controls and a radio.

Granted, there's not much stuff to play with and I would probably want some of those features during day-to-day commuting, but once in awhile it's kind of nice to just look down and see simple controls and nothing else. Wonder how long it will take before I'm over them?

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com @ 2,087 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Fiesta Worthy?

November 08, 2010


I spent the weekend in our Mazda 2 and I found it pleasant overall, considering its modest $16,000 pricetag. It's a relative of the Ford Fiesta, which happens to be one of our top picks in this economical category. The Ford is only slightly more expensive than the Mazda, but I think the added cost is worth quite a bit more.

In terms of exterior styling, I'm a much bigger fan of the Ford Fiesta. It lacks the Mazda's grinning grille and has a bit more visual excitement in both its shape as a whole and in its details. On the inside, you'd have a hard time finding any soft-touch materials in the Mazda 2 -- nearly every surface is covered in hard plastic. The Fiesta has its share of the cheap stuff, too, but adequately cushions most touch points.

When it comes to features and options, the Ford Fiesta is a runaway winner. A USB port is standard and the available Sync also tacks on phone and navigation functions. The Mazda 2 offers Bluetooth and a removable Garmin nav unit, but only as dealer-installed options. Finally, the Fiesta just feels like a more solidly built car.

Don't get me wrong, the Mazda 2 is a nice car for the money, I just think that the Ford Fiesta is much better for a little more money.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 2,060 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Teen Machine

November 01, 2010


After driving our brand-new 2011 Mazda 2 all weekend, I flashbacked to when I was a teenager all those eons ago, learning to drive for the first time and how I had to do that in my mom's white 1979 Monza wagon. So not cool. Plus to add insult to injury, it had a vanity plate with my mom's name on it. OK, OK, I was lucky to have even gotten a car at all. But if I was a kid now, I wouldn't have minded having this 2 as my first vehicle.

For $16K ours has some pretty decent features that any adolescent driver would appreciate, like cruise control, power windows/door locks/mirrors, wheel-mounted audio controls and an aux input. Sure, it's not as fun or peppy to drive like the Fiesta but parents might not mind that, you know, because with great power comes great responsibility. (Now as an adult, I don't understand why some parents give their teens M3s for their first car.) In any case, the 2 is also cheaper than the Fiesta.

And sure, it's small but as a teen, I wouldn't need that much just to get around from school, home and to my after-school job. My parents wouldn't let me drive my friends around anyway. But more importantly, it's cute and not overly so, even with that grin. In other words, I wouldn't be committing social suicide by driving it. Although, I would have probably picked that Spirited Green Metallic or black over the boring white.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 1,708 miles

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2011 Mazda 2 Touring: Separated at Birth

October 29, 2010


It's the Friday before Halloween. I'm gonna save the informative posts for Monday as I have our newest long-termer, the 2011 Mazda 2, all weekend. Since I had it last night, I'm considering the interior materials, Bluetooth or unusual placement for the gearshifter to blog about. Where to start?

Til then, ponder this. Does our new 2 remind you of someone?

Boo! I mean, Shmoo! Happy Halloween! Be safe!

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Past Long-Term Road Tests