Mazda 2 Review

It’s astonishing how much innovation and technology automakers cram into their vehicles every year.  For the case of the Mazda 2, all the high-tech bells and whistles gets a slap across the face.  While the rest of the automakers out there are racing off to come up with the best ideas to win customers, Mazda took a step back with the Mazda 2 and focused their design efforts driven by a single criteria – simpler is better.

By simpler, we mean a car that fulfills all your daily basic tasks and does a good job at it.  It’s kind of like shopping for a smartphone.  Most of them on the shelf today can surf the web, find the nearest pizzeria, or even measure your heart beat, but all you really want is to make phone calls.

Apparently popular on demand, our Mazda 2 press vehicle was delivered to us in a “party rock” green tone.  As a matter of fact, the popularity was more like a norm.  We’ve spotted multiple Mazda 2′s on the road in which all were the same color.  Not that we’re suggesting you have to fit in with the norm if this is the car you want to buy.  Fortunately, the Mazda 2 does come in five more subtle shades of color to better fit your taste.

The overall size of the Mazda 2 is small, but functional.  It’s narrow and tall chassis fits 2 full grown adults in the front seats and two teenagers or mid size adults with no issues.  The compact size also makes it very easy to park and maneuver in tight spaces.  At a short wheel base length of 2.48 meters, you do suffer from limited trunk space.  Fortunately, the rear seats do fold back to increase cargo space.  The materials used through out the cabin area is again, nothing exciting.  We were pleased to see audio control on the steering wheel, but the clothe material used on the seats gave us a very cheap impression and even susceptible to lint build up and tearing with repetitive use.

While we do appreciate the efforts made to keep all features minimalistic in the 2, but ultimate simplicity takes a toll on convenience.  For starters, there is only one key lock on the driver’s door and there is a single power lock button located in the lower center console.  This cascaded effect requires opening the drivers door and reaching for the power lock button to unlock any other door.  The vehicle also has to be unlocked before the trunk door button will open.

The 2 is powered by a moped on steroids.  Since the engine is actually a 1.5 liter 4 cylinder engine, this statement doesn’t completely hold true, but it certainly does feel like one.  Stomping on the throttle will reveal the 2′s unpleasant and loud engine scream and with so much sudden jolt and power increase, we thought the car was going to explode.  The four speed automatic transmission also accounts for the lack of smooth power transition in throttle response. However; when driven casually on city streets or even highways, the vehicle behaves relatively well composed.  The excessive body roll at low speeds tricks you into thinking you’re a road track rock star.  The steering is also fairly light and has good positive response, making the 2 an eager and in some cases, aggressive Miata-like handling on windy roads.

Mazda has proven a point where simplicity can also be functional.  Small, functional and fun to drive.  At an MSRP of only 14,450$, it really is tough to beat a competitor out there that can live up to the features the Mazda 2 offers.