By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.6
The 2011 Mazda2 makes its way into the small-car category with a big smile and a small engine. Although it shares the same underpinnings as the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda2 carries its own unique powertrain options, suspension setup and sense of interior and exterior style. While its main rivals are the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta, other competitors include the Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris and Chevrolet Aveo (as well as its forthcoming Sonic successor.) In this crowd we admire the Mazda2 for its sporty spunk in a field of grocery-getters.
If you're looking for a small car with sporty driving dynamics, simple packaging and a budget-friendly sticker price, the Mazda2 is worthy of consideration.
In a class where options like Bluetooth connectivity and navigation are important to potential buyers, the Mazda2 fails to offer either, which makes rivals like the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta more appealing.
The Mazda Mazda2 jumpstarts the low-priced end of the line-up by offering an affordable, fun and neatly-packaged means of transportation that doesn't stray from the brand's "zoom zoom" mantra. The Mazda2 comes in two trim levels, a well-equipped Sport trim and an even better-equipped Touring variant.
Driving Impressions The Mazda2 isn't the fastest car in its class but it is an impressive performer. Mazda focused on saving weight when building the car, and the effort becomes apparent when...driving it spiritedly. We put the Mazda2 through its paces in a variety of driving scenarios, and it frankly surprised us. Whether it was driving through curvy mountain roads, getting onto the freeway or passing other cars, the Mazda2's sure-footed suspension, grippy tires and eager little engine were up to the task. The steering is responsive, and the brakes are good, too. All of this lightness doesn't mean a compromise in comfort, though, as the cabin was surprisingly quiet even at highway speeds. But we were quick to realize that the Mazda2's main strength is driving fun.
After hours of driving and no soreness to complain about, we were surprised at how comfortable the Mazda2's seats were. Most cars in this category have stiff seats with virtually no bolstering.
Five-speed Manual Transmission
Partnered up with the peppy engine, the slick-shifting five-speed manual makes the most out of the car's athleticism.
The Mazda Mazda2's interior is roomy, well-appointed and, for a small car, reasonably well-isolated. Although hard plastic can be found nearly everywhere in the cabin except for the seats and armrests, the overall sense of functional style makes up for it. The Mazda2's interior is all business with clearly-legible analog gauges and well-placed, user-friendly controls. Along with the comfortable front buckets, the 60/40-split rear bench seat offers room for two adults or three children. Cargo space is minimal compared to that of the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta, but the cargo area is numerically larger than that of the Toyota Yaris, with 13.3 cu-ft of space with the rear seat up and 27.8 when it's folded.Exterior
While its teardrop shape is nothing new to the "b-segment" category, the Mazda2 does bring its own blend of subtle, yet sporty styling. The Mazda2's bodywork incorporates some "zoom zoom," exemplified by bold fender flares and swoopy side sculpting. A distinguishing feature is Mazda's familiar "smiling" grille. The less-expensive Sport trim version of the Mazda2 offers standard 15-inch steel wheels with full covers. The up-level Touring trim is equipped with similar-sized alloy wheels. "Aggressively cute" might sum up the Mazda2's design overall.
The 2011 Mazda Mazda2's base Sport trim level comes with the essentials including air conditioning, power accessories, tilt steering column, keyless remote entry and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system. Safety features include stability/traction control, antilock disc/drum brakes with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution and six airbags.
Opting for the up-level Touring trim adds some functional interior features, including cruise control, trip computer, upgraded cloth seats with red piping trim, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls and two additional speakers. And on the outside, the higher trim includes a rear roof spoiler, fog lights, chrome exhaust tip and alloy wheels. Options are minimal and are limited to dealer-installed accessories such as an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass and Homelink, floormats, a cargo net and Crystal White paint.
The only engine offered in the 2011 Mazda Mazda2 is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 100 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. It can be matched with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. These aren't especially impressive items, but the Mazda2's light curb weight makes up for them and contributes to the car's overall sprightliness and nimble response. While the manual transmission would be the top choice for driving fun, we did get a chance to try the automatic and found that it was more than capable around town and on the freeway.
1.5-liter in-line four cylinder
100 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
98 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/35 (manual), 27/33 (automatic)
By MattP on Friday, January 30, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, Good commuter car, Cheap"
Cons: "Automatic transmission, Cargo space"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I though some folks might appreciate a review / update from someone who's owned this car for a bit. Pros: -Perfect for it's intended use as a single person commuter vehicle, ideally in the city. If that is what you're after. this will do nicely. -Handling is sharp and nimble, good road feel through the steering wheel and pedals. Fun to drive in the city. Cons: -Automatic transmission. In a word, it's sluggish. It feels bogged down when you're pulling out of the driveway, and it feels like it's struggling to keep up at highway speeds. Sweet spot is about 40 mph. After about 3,500mi of driving the noise and vibration from it kicked up noticeably too. Definitely makes me concerned about it's long term reliability. Just get the stick shift and you'll be fine. I wish I did... -Not enough space for tall people It's very close though. I'm 6'1" tall, and I *almost* fit in it with the seat all the way back. My left leg runs out of room though and feels mildly uncomfortable on longer drives. Could use about 2-3 inches more space. If you're over 6 feet tall I would not recommend this car. -4 people + highway speeds not recommended With 4 adults in the car this thing feels overtaxed. I've driven 4 (including myself) on the highway several times and the car just feels like it's straining to maintain speed. The extra weight also makes the handling feel a little twitchy, which is unnerving at that velocity. Road noise levels make normal conversation difficult at highway speeds as well. -Dashboard makes occasional popping sound. I believe this is due to expansion/contraction during hot or cold days. Not terrible, but a little distracting. -Gas mileage is mediocre at best. I've been averaging about 30mpg combined, 60% on the highway. Summary: As I said in the beginning. If you intend to use this as a single person commuter car in the city it'll do just fine. It always feels very nice, even a little sporty at city speeds. If you intend to drive on the highway a lot get the stick shift, it has an extra gear (5 spd) resulting in lower rpms at highway speeds. If you're over 6' tall, don't buy this. If you intend to haul 3 passengers a lot, don't buy this. If cargo room is a concern, I don't think you should probably buy this either. Trunk can barely fit a single full size luggage. I still have fun with this car, but you always have to consider your needs and typical usage when looking at something this tiny. It can be a lot of fun to drive, but there are some definite limits to it's capabilities."
11 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Jen on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great mpg, very very fun to drive,"
Cons: "wish it had more sync technologies like bluetooth"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I absolutely ENJOY driving this Mazda. It is the first Mazda I have owned, and it will not be the last. It is a wonderful value, great engine, and a FUN drive! Plus, excellent gas mileage. You will not be disappointed with a Mazda2."
14 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By Mazda2too on Saturday, August 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas mileage, fun to drive, very reliable"
Cons: "no clock"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I got this when another car kept having engine problems and I had to get something quickly for not too much money. Being able to park in almost every tight spot is amazing, but also the car is zippy, cute, gets great gas mileage and not everyone has it. I feel lucky to have this car for the price."
13 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By ashok672 on Friday, August 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "greate price, extremely fun to drive"
Cons: "interior tech features lacking"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I own a CX-5 and I got Mazda2 as a second car for my wife but I started driving this little more than my wife. The handling is amazing and the engine power is good enough for daily commute to office. It wont do good in hilly areas but it is not a concern to me. Amazing value for the price of car. The interior needs lots of improvement. Hopefully the 2016 mazda2 announced recently addresses those issues."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By brian on Sunday, August 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"good car, great on gas -- only car ever owned that beats epa estimates. interior quality leaves something to be desired. Trim is flimsy and tears easily when removed."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Boo on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very Fun to drive at a wonderful price."
Cons: "needs blind spot warnings and arm rests in front s"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I LOVE this car. The turning radius is wonderful, parking is a cinch, and it's a simple car with all the automatic features I require, such as auto door locks, etc."
3 people out of 9 found this review helpful