- As fun to drive as a go kart
- Fuel efficient and practical
- Choppy ride
- Spartan interior
- Freeway harshness
Ruling: The modern day CRX, except with five doors.
For those who are looking for one of the most fuel efficient and practical subcompacts available, but don’t want to sacrifice the thrill and enjoyment of driving, look no further than the MAZDA2. Of the three subcompacts, and all subcompacts on the market for that matter, no other car delivers as much fun per dollar than this little five-door hatchback. Mazda’s strategy with the 2 was quite simple – shave every unnecessary pound off the car in the quest for fuel efficiency and handling prowess. And as Mazda always does, their mantra of “Zoom-Zoom” comes through in even their smallest, most compact machine.
The MAZDA2 is the modern day CRX, but it has what the CRX of yore lacks – five doors and a functional rear seat. And at only 150 pounds heavier than the CRX Si, the MAZDA2 is a remarkable achievement in shedding weight. It also allows Mazda to use a smaller, more fuel-efficient 1.5L 4-cylinder that ekes out 100 horsepower and 98 lb. ft. of torque. Now those numbers might seem paltry, but when you’re moving little more than a ton of weight, it equates to respectable 0-60 time of just under 9 seconds – the fastest of the trio. And fuel efficiency-wise, the 2′s numbers are respectable, turning 28 city/35 highway with the 5-speed manual and 28/34 with a four speed automatic. Perhaps the numbers would be even higher if Mazda were to include an extra gear or two in both transaxles.
In the corners, the MAZDA2 is everything that the CRX was; surefooted and eager for any winding stretch of asphalt. The car is simply a blast to drive. However, its light weight does come at a penalty of choppiness over bumps and a rather loud and harsh freeway ride. Hey, you can’t have it all.
The interior of the MAZDA2 is spartan as you would expect for a base MSRP of $14,750, but like all Mazdas, the build quality and grade of plastics is very high, sharing many of the same pieces with its bigger brother MAZDA3 and the MX-5 Miata. And for an as-tested price of $16,185, our MAZDA2 Touring had a healthy list of features not limited to power door locks and windows, keyless entry, leather tilt steering wheel, cruise and six-speaker audio. Even the base, bare-bones Mazda2 comes with air conditioning.
It’s blatantly clear who the MAZDA2 is made for; someone who wants practicality, efficiency and affordability without sacrificing the sporting feel of an iconic machine like the original CRX. If you’re the type who likes to take the back way to work, this is your ride.
|MAZDA MAZDA2||FORD FIESTA||HONDA CR-Z|