Mazda's New Small Car is Fun to Drive
The bright, neon-green exterior ensured no one missed my 2011 Mazda2 test car. But it was the hatchback's maneuverable small size and fuel economy that really caught everyone's attention.
New for 2011, the diminutive Mazda2 is the first smaller, so-called B-segment car that Mazda Motor Corp. of Japan has brought to the United States in some seven years.
Less than 13 feet long and lighter than many small hatchback competitors, the Mazda2 is a nimble, five-door handler whose 100 horsepower engine provides a surprisingly sprightly ride, particularly with the five-speed manual transmission.
Even better, the Mazda2 outperforms most other small hatchbacks, such as the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Scion xD, in gasoline mileage.
The top U.S government fuel economy rating for the Mazda2 is 29 miles per gallon in city driving and 35 mpg on the highway with manual transmission.
This makes the Mazda2 the fourth-best non-hybrid small car in the United States in gas mileage, according to the government. Only hybrids, diesel-powered Volkswagens and the Ford Fiesta, Mini Cooper and Toyota Yaris have received higher fuel mileage ratings.
Best of all, the Mazda2 is Mazda's price leader. Starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $14,730 for a 2011 Mazda2 is $5,705 less than the starting retail price of Mazda's previous entry car, the Mazda3.
With automatic transmission the 2011 Mazda starts at $15,530, and the uplevel Mazda Touring version with upgraded interior, fog lights and rear spoiler starts at $16,185.
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