2013 Mazda2 Touring MT A Nimble, Fun-to-Drive Commuter

Susan Frissell

A week spent in the Mazda2 was much too much fun. Reminiscent of the infamous Miata MX5, the Mazda2, although not anything outstanding, is a fun, pleasant hatchback, with enough amenities to be comfortable, good on fuel economy and fun.

mazda2Our test car was the Mazda2 Touring hatchback, one of two versions available; the other a Sport, 4-door hatchback. The Mazda2 has a little cargo space to enable drivers to tote some stuff, the rear seat folding down to accommodate loads. This compact 4-door is surprisingly quiet when on the road, is extremely nimble and kicks into gear when it needs to.

Re-styled in 2011, this year’s styling is new and eye-catching. Not outstanding in many ways, the new Mazda2 sports a soft wedge shape, bold and sporty with sculpted sides. Add to that its body-colored door handles, a slanted back windshield, sloped hatch and jaunty little spoiler on the Touring model give it a sporty appearance. The Mazda2’s grille seems to almost be  grinning as it shows off its attractive hood and fenders.

Good fuel economy, acceleration and responsive handling was a priority at Mazda, as they focused on keeping the little hatchback light. High-strength steel with more welds (and less steel overall), and weld-bonded adhesives in the body was intentional and make this vehicle a lightweight. As the engineers at Mazda searched for places where a few pounds could be salvaged (the wiring harness, door locks and latches, radiator, automatic transmission shifter, pedals, stereo speakers, etc.), they created a good commuter car.

Mazda also focused hard on mechanical details. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and the thick, sporty steering wheel felt good in our hands. Although rated a five-seater hatchback, anyone over the age of 25 with long limbs might find the back seat a tad uncomfortable over long distances. A common failing in cars of this category. But that is when you opt to take the luxury, full-size sedan.

What we like most about the Mazda2 is that it has that unmistakable fun-to-drive. Mazda quality; the reason their tagline “zoom-zoom” was adopted The little engine is gutsy, and does allow the driver to move the car ahead fast enough in everyday driving situations. Shifting the manual 5-speed is so easy you forget you’re driving manual. Responsive brakes and steering, a smooth ride and flat cornering, make the Mazda2 a must-have in our book.

Safety equipment on the Mazda2 includes ABS, EBD and brake assist, anti-theft engine immobilizer, tire pressure monitoring system, electronic power assist steering, traction control system, advanced dual front and side impact airbags and curtains, “Triple H” body construction, crushable brake pedal, and collapsible steering column.

Options on our test Mazda2 Touring model included an armrest ($170), cargo net ($50), Compass/autodim mirror with HOMELINK($295), and rear bumper guard ($80).mazda2ip

This five-passenger hatchback competes with the Chevy Spark, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Accent and ranges in price between $14,720-$16,210. Related somehow to the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda2 we drove hovered over $17,000 which seemed like a lot for what is basically a computer car. Although we loved driving the Mazda2, we would rather spend somewhere around $13,000-$15,000.

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SPECS

MSRP: $16,210; total vehicle price $17,600; options $300; destination $795

Engine: 1.5-liter, DOHC 16-valve VVT I4, 100 hp, 98 lb. ft. torque

Category: sub-compact, 4 dr. hatchback

Transmission: five-speed manual, FWD

Wheelbase: 98.0

Length: 155.5 in.

Width: 66.7 in.

Wheels: 15-inch alloy

Tires: P185/55 R15 All-season

Height: 58.1 in.

Curb weight: 2,306 lbs.

EPA fuel economy: 28/35 mpg

Fuel tank capacity: 11.3 gal.

Warranty: 36-mth./36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper; 60-mt./60,000-mile powertrain; 24-hr. roadside assistance.

 

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