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2012 Mazda MAZDA2

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2012 Mazda MAZDA2 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

Small cars are big news these days. Not because they are small, but because today's economical petrol misers are loaded with style and features never before seen on entry-level models. The 2012 Mazda2 hatchback is just such a car. Long regarded overseas for its attractive looks, frugal fuel economy and appealing features, the 2012 Mazda2 hatchback is now working its magic on Americans. Although the 2012 Mazda2 shares its underpinnings with the equally-new Ford Fiesta, Mazda gave its little car its own unique powertrain options, as well as a sportier suspension and a single, 5-door hatchback design (the Fiesta offers a sedan and 5-door). And, while some rivals, including the Chevy Sonic and Kia Rio5, may offer more horsepower and more modern automatic transmissions, they don't have the same fun-to-drive feel of the 2012 Mazda2.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a small, inexpensive car that is big on fun and fuel economy and has some great exterior colors, the 2012 Mazda2 hatchback should do nicely.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a small car with big features such as navigation, leather seats, factory-installed Bluetooth or high-end audio, you'll need to look to the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Chevy Sonic or Kia Rio5.

What's New for 2012

Other than a one-mile-per-gallon increase in fuel economy, there are no major changes for the 2012 Mazda2 hatchback.

Driving the MAZDA2
Driving Impressions

While its 100-horsepower won't make the 2012 Mazda2 hatchback the quickest car in its class, its well-tuned suspension and direct power-assisted steering deliver on the "Zoom-Zoom" promise of this 2,300-pound...

... car. We spent the day pushing the little Mazda2 through its paces and came away scratching our heads: How can such a small car with such limited horsepower have us giggling like mischievous school children up to no good? On winding mountain roads, we pushed the little 15-inch tires well beyond what we thought they could take, but they held firm. Our 2012 Mazda2 rounded corners with utter confidence and the little engine, though working hard, delivered acceptable acceleration when needed. The brakes are strong and the steering response is nearly MX-5-Miata-like (note – we said "nearly"). All of this lightness doesn't mean a compromise in comfort, though, as the Mazda2's cabin is surprisingly quiet even at highway speeds. But, when tasked with rapid overtaking of slower traffic or quick sprints up steep hills, we were quick to realize that the Mazda2's main strength is driving fun and not brute power. Plan your passing maneuvers accordingly.

Comfortable seating
After hours of driving and no soreness to complain about, we were surprised at how comfortable the 2012 Mazda2 hatchback's seats were. Most cars in this category have stiff seats with virtually no bolstering.

5-speed Manual Transmission
Partnered up with the peppy engine, the slick-shifting 5-speed manual makes the most out of the car's athleticism.

2012 Mazda MAZDA2 Details
Interior

For such a small car, the 2012 Mazda2 hatchback's interior is refreshingly large and airy. The dash design, with its bright orange backlighting and a circular center control motif, is a remnant from Mazda's design past, mimicking the dash designs of the now-discontinued RX-8. However, we like the look and it definitely works here. At this price point, one can forgive the hard plastics and dull colors, so long as one doesn't peek inside a Kia Rio5 or Ford Fiesta. The 2012 Mazda2 hatchback's front bucket seats are firm and fairly supportive, but the oddly-shaped rear-seat head restraints must be extended upward or run the risk of becoming uncomfortable lumps in the shoulder blades of rear-seat passengers. The 2012 Mazda2 hatchback's cargo area isn't as generous as that of the Nissan Versa or Honda Fit. Folding down the 60/40-split rear seat increases cargo volume from 13.3 cubic feet to just over 27 cubic feet.

Exterior

While the 2012 Mazda2 hatchback's teardrop silhouette is nothing radical, the lines and curvatures that flow across the car's body have a distinctly Mazda feel. Big fender flares and swept-up side sculpturing bring visual interest below the Mazda2's raked beltline, while expansive front-door side windows provide excellent outward visibility. Following Mazda's latest styling theme, the 2012 Mazda2 hatchback features a wide, grinning front grille similar to, but not as obnoxious as, the Mazda3's front end. The entry-level Sport trim comes with 15-inch steel wheels with full covers, while the Touring trim rolls on 15-inch alloy wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Mazda2 hatchback's entry-level Sport trim comes with the essentials including air conditioning, power accessories (windows, door locks, and side mirrors), 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.

Optional Equipment

Opting for the up-level 2012 Mazda2 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. On the outside, the higher trim level 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, aftermarket Bluetooth phone connectivity, a center armrest with storage bin, floormats, a cargo net and Crystal White paint.

Under the Hood

The only engine offered in the 2012 Mazda Mazda2 is a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder that produces 100 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque. It can be matched with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic. While these are not the most impressive transmission choices, the Mazda2's light curb weight makes up for any shortcomings 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 @ 6,000 rpm
98 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/35 (manual), 28/34 (automatic)

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2012 Mazda MAZDA2 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 42 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Great City Car

By on Tuesday, May 03, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, compact, gas efficient"

Cons: "Not the most stylish or impressive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is about the smallest 4 door car you can get. It's compact, gets great gas mileage, is easy to park, and is surprisingly spacious. It's not a flashy car, but it is reasonably and very reliable. I've had no mechanical issues whatsoever. Highly recommend if you want a no fuss car in the city."

Great Car for the Price

By on Monday, March 21, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Mazda's Zoom Zoom Technology"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I currently own this vehicle and it is a fun and joy to drive around. The maintenance is very inexpensive when compared to other vehicles and for a compact car it zips around. This is the second Mazda I have owned I highly recommend the brand."

Great value for the money

By on Sunday, March 20, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "purchase and maintenance costs"

Cons: "small gas tank, overdrive auto transmission"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"It's not a luxury car. It's not a sports car. It's a comfortable, fun to drive, reliable car. It's easy on the wallet--- to purchase, drive and maintain. The gas tank, at 11+ gallons capacity, is a bit small. A true, 5 speed auto transmission would be a big improvement."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Keeps running great, over 40 mpg on trips.

By on Monday, January 04, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun and economical to drive."

Cons: "Not as pretty as my Vette!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I always wanted a Corvette and a Mazda. Owned the 1996 Corvette, it was beautiful and ate my lunch besides increasing my stress level. The Mazda is maintenance-free except for state inspections and normal wear and tear and service items. That's it. One almost expects it to be totally free of failure forever. I love to drive it and the better than 40 mpg on trips is a real plus. Shifts through manual gears effortlessly. Quick as a rabbit when you have to get up to speed for any reason. Is great in the snow. A little noisy (wind), not air ride suspension, and a broken "cover" for the cigar lighter."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Not bad for the price.

By on Monday, July 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,900

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great price, fun to drive, absolute joy"

Cons: "Could use a Center consul, more horsepower"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought this car 3 months ago. Had 26 miles on it. Now almost 7k. Did great on a long trip to Florida from New York. Had to buy seat cushions. After about an hour your butt will be numb. Great size for a single person. Had a car seat in the back the past few days and had to have the driver seat all the up. My Mazda 2 came with Bluetooth. It doesn't always read my iPhone as a phone. Most of the time it will start playing music when I push the answer key. Doesn't like hills. I have the 5 speed manual transmission Pros. Great on gas. Almost 40mpg. Small tank. 11.3 gal. Cost about $25 to fill. Drives great. Great value. Over all a great car. Really fun to drive. Cons. No leg room in back. Trunk is very small. Doesn't like hills. For singles or 2 adults or teenagers. Only 100 hp $20 oil changes are no longer. uses OW-30 full synthetic motor oil. Mazda charged me about $77 for oil change and tire rotation that's after $20 off first service. If you are the only one in this car is will be great."

25 people out of 35 found this review helpful

Mazda2 AT Touring gets an A+

By on Thursday, June 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,201

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Solid ride & fun to drive. Great value."

Cons: "Trunk light switch. Don't forget to turn it off."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I like the ride and that's what CR reviewers say is bad. It has a sporty ride that feels nice & rubbery on hard edge bumps. I used to race, so maybe that's why I like it. It's funny when reviewers criticize an economy car for lack of roominess, missing luxury appointments, and an absent silent cushy ride. Buy a Cadillac! This is a gas sipper that's solid, reliable and cheap! What do you want... a pony too?"

19 people out of 29 found this review helpful

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