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2011 Mazda2: 2009 LA Auto Show


Mazda has finally listened to enthusiasts extolling the virtues of tiny B cars. Because the subcompact that sold 370,000 units in Europe, Japan and Australia since its introduction in 2007 will reach our shores in late summer, 2011. The MAZDA 2 made a name for itself as a zippy car we simply couldn't get here in the States. And receiving the World Car of the Year at the 2008 New York Auto Show cemented its status.

Few official details have been released so far, but based on what we've seen, the MAZDA 2 should offer a jaunty alternative to similarly sprightly offerings like the Smart Car and the Mini. An optimistically upswept character line dominates the car's exterior design, and a tapered greenhouse and slightly sloping roofline produce a profile with nary a parallel line in sight. Up front, Mazda's signature smile (as seen on several of the brand's vehicles) offers a cheerful face. Inside, understated black surfaces are highlighted with metal-like trim and red Seat piping.

But many Mazda fans are motivated by mechanical underpinnings, and what we know of the MAZDA 2 isn't a whole lot at the moment. Initial specs indicate a 1.5 liter engine mated to either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual. Front MacPherson struts and a torsion-beam axle at the rear "draws much from the legendary MX-5," according to Mazda. In fact, the Mazda shares much of its mechanical makeup with the Ford Fiesta, so we'd expect sprightly moves when the road twists.

And if the MAZDA 2 inherits any semblance of the MX-5's revelatory handling, we're guessing the spunky 5-door will have no problem succeeding in the U.S. market. Because these days, its the fun-to-drive quotient is a serious motivator in the small car segment.



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