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From C&D:

January 2012
Months in Fleet: 12 months
Current Mileage: 32,068 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 31 mpg
Average Range: 350 miles
Service: $314
Normal Wear: $0
Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $448

With fewer than 8000 miles to go before the conclusion of its stay, our Mazda 2 continues to serve primarily as a spunky round-town runabout. The car has racked up nearly 10,000 miles since September, most of which were turned within the borders of our home state; a sprint to Virginia accounted for the rest.
The logbook continues to fill with praise for the 2’s nimble nature and slick shifter. Drivers maintain that clutch feel is still too numb, requiring us to “get used to” something that should be easy and straightforward. But one long-haul driver was surprised to note that the 2’s ride and interior noise were nowhere near as punishing as expected. The cabin plastics seem to be holding up well and the seats continue to receive plaudits, although the bottom cushion’s foam has compressed to the point where some drivers can feel the side of the seat frame.

Rectifying Problems, Experiencing Others
In our last update, we mentioned that our 2 was suffering from vibrations at highway speeds. This resulted in new anti-roll-bar bushings, a new rear shock, and a new steering intermediate shaft being fitted under warranty. Some steering-wheel shudder persisted as we awaited the arrival of four new tires that were replaced under warranty because of premature wear from the faulty suspension. We’re happy to report the new rubber was installed and seems to have fully resolved the issue, although the front suspension still groans on occasion and we haven’t been able to track down the source of the noise. The new all-season tires were swapped out after 2000 miles for Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires.

An additional unexpected service stop was made at 25,076 after complaints about potentially warped front-brake rotors began to surface. The dealer confirmed our suspicions and replaced the front discs under warranty. This was the second set to which this has happened; the initial set was replaced at 8676 miles. While the car was in for its new rotors, the dealer informed us that we had a bent front wheel. Replacing it set us back $448. The dealer also performed a 30,000-mile service for $157, including an oil-and-filter change, a tire rotation, replacement of the cabin- and engine-air filters, and an inspection. The total to maintain the 2 thus far has been a reasonable $314.

No Satellite Radio? We’ll Fix That

No factory option for satellite radio, quite frankly, stinks. We briefly explored installing a totally custom sound system but ultimately decided we didn’t want to hack apart the 2’s closely integrated dash. Instead, our solution was to snag the portable XM unit that feeds our garage sound system and plug it into the Mazda’s aux input. It has made our garage a tad less entertaining but the 2 much more livable.

That expanded audio variety should help keep us company for the remainder of the 2’s 40,000-mile stay. We’ll keep the car moving and report back with our findings when we hit the end of the test.

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