The Mazda2 was first introduced in Europe and Asia in 2007 and has been very successful. The subcompact was also named World Car Of The Year in 2008. For the 2011 model year, Denver and the U.S. gets the all-new Mazda 2 before any other market in the world.
The third-generation Mazda2 has been completely redesigned on the outside, inside, and underneath. Mazda designed the all-new front wheel drive five-seat economy car to be able to compete with a number of competitors like the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and new Ford Fiesta. Click on each for a full report.
On the outside, the body of the 2011 Mazda2 gets a fresh new sporty look with sculpted sides, a raked windshield, and a sexy little rear roof spoiler on the Touring model. Up front, the subcompact gets a new grille, hood, fenders, lamps, bumper and air intakes. In the rear, it has new taillamps, a power liftgate, and exhaust system outlets. To round out the exterior, Mazda added new body-colored door handles and new 15-inch wheels.
Inside, the driver is greeted with a new thick, sporty steering wheel, supportive and comfortable seats, and a completely redesigned instrument panel and center stack. The Mazda2 is rated as a five-seater, but as all other cars in this class, the car is relatively roomy for four adults. Cargo capacity in the Mazda 2 is 13.3 cubic feet behind the 60/40 split folding second seat, and 27.8 cubic feet with the second seat folded flat with easy hatchback accessibility.
Underneath, there is one engine choice, a fuel sipping 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing to give it more flexibility in delivering low-rpm torque and high-rpm horsepower. Fuel economy for the Mazda2 is an EPA-estimated 28/35 mpg city/highway using regular unleaded gasoline. Further underneath, there’s a redone suspension and an improved braking system for 2011.
Mazda engineers took great pains in reducing the weight of the new Mazda2 by looking at hundreds of areas they could cut overall fat. Places like the wiring harness, the door locks and latches, the engine’s radiator, the automatic transmission shifter, the pedals, and even the speakers in the stereo system. The final result was a car that weighs just slightly over 2300 pounds, making the five-door hatch actually lighter than a two-seat Miata.
On the road, the new Mazda2 is fun to drive. It offers a sporty driving experience due to its new lighter weight and the snappy 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The four-speed automatic was responsive and enjoyable to drive in Denver city traffic. The new suspension tuning minimizes body lean in corners yet ride quality is smooth and comfortable. It maneuvers easily in tight driving situations, making it easy to park or thread through rush hour traffic.
Completely redesigned, the Mazda2 is practical for everyday Denver commuting and fun to drive. Its compact size makes it maneuverable for tight parking spaces downtown. It’s roomy for four and offers good cargo capacity. The engine is powerful and delivers excellent fuel economy with a sporty manual or available automatic. For $17,000 loaded, it looks like a fun commuting choice for new or young Denver drivers.