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Arrival: 2011 Mazda2 Touring


When we first saw Mazda's tiny MAZDA 2 at the 2008 Geneva show, we were immediately intrigued. Mazda execs labeled it a global B-segment car, but "global" doesn't always translate to American-bound. Would it come to the States? If so, would it endear itself to Americans enthralled with SUVs and pickups?

 By now, the answer to our first question is obvious. As for our second, we thought it best to find out for ourselves, so we called Mazda and asked politely for a Spirited Green 2. With only a couple trim levels available (Sport and Touring), choosing our smiling MAZDA 2 was a cinch. We opted for the nicely equipped Touring ($16,230 base), which sports foglamps, 15-inch alloys, a rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tips, cloth seats with red piping, and a six-speaker stereo. A leather-wrapped multifunction helm, cruise control, and a trip computer round off the trim-specific bits.

 Amenities like A/C; power doors and windows; front, side, and curtain airbags; and 60/40 split-fold rear seats also come standard. Of the model's four available options, we chose two: the compass/autodim mirror with Homelink ($295) and a cargo net ($40). Total tab: a Fiesta-undercutting $16,565.

Though it may share a platform with the aforementioned Ford, the lighter MAZDA 2 is sprightlier. Staffers quickly commended the munchkin Mazda for its weighty electronically assisted steering, unexpected cornering athleticism, and slick five-speed manual gearbox. At 2269 pounds, the MAZDA 2 effectively applies all 100 horses and 98 pound-feet of torque to its front wheels, taking a respectable 8.5 seconds to hit 60 mph and 16.5 seconds to complete the quarter mile at 83.7 mph.

 As one can expect with a car of this sort, such hasty scurrying (or highway merging) necessitates a thorough wringing of the 1.5-liter mill, plus plenty of right-hand rowing. Or shelving such Schumacher shenanigans, and you can easily meet the EPA's 29-mpg city/35-mpg highway fuel-economy ratings.

Each body panel drips with DNA from Mazda's Nagare concept car, ultimately resulting in a cute, cuddly concoction-and yes, that's with the perennially happy mug onboard. Boasting near golf-cart dimensions, the MAZDA 2 is a breeze to park on cramped city blocks or jammed shopping center lots.

So with a sprightly swagger, palatable fuel economy, and frugal price tag, we embark on our highly anticipated 12-month test, which we hope answers our remaining question. Will we be grinning as widely as this tiny four-door a year from now? We can't wait to find out.
.hdr {color:#ffffff;font:bold 12px verdana,arial,helvetica;background-color:#343434;} .hdr1 {color:#000000;font:bold 09px verdana,arial,helvetica;background-color:#aba9a9;} .hdr2 {color:#000000;font:09px verdana,arial,helvetica;background-color:#dddddd;} .hdr3 {color:#000000;font:09px verdana,arial,helvetica;background-color:#FFFFFF;} 2011 MAZDA 2 Touring Base price $16,230 Price as tested $16,565 Vehicle layout Front engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback Engine 1.5L/100-hp/98-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 Transmission 5-speed manual Curb weight (dist, f/r) 2269 lb (62/38%) Wheelbase 98.0 in Length x width x height 155.5 x 66.7 x 58.1 in 0-60 mph 8.5 sec Quarter mile 16.5 sec @ 83.7 mph Braking, 60-0 mph 123 ft Lateral accel 0.83 g (avg) MT figure eight 28.2 sec @ 0.59 g (avg) EPA city/hwy econ 29/35 mpg CO2 emissions 0.62 lb/mile Total mileage 1599 miles Average fuel economy 32.4 mpg

(Source)


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