The 2011 Mazda Mazda2, now in its second year, is the first subcompact from the “zoom-zoom” brand in quite some time. It competes on the sportier side of the subcompact spectrum, most notably against the Ford Fiesta—with which it shares some engineering—along with the Honda Fit.
Most likely buyers who are considering more pedestrian models like the Toyota Yaris, Nisan Versa, or Chevrolet Aveo are less likely to be looking at the Mazda2 five-door hatchback as well.
And the 2011 Mazda2 is definitely fun to drive, especially through tight, curving roads. Its 100-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is paired with either a five-speed gearbox (the one to choose) or an outdated and sluggish four-speed automatic transmission that we suspect their marketers forced them to offer. The engine revs eagerly, and it’s simply more rewarding to drive if you shift your own gears.
The gas mileage is good too. The EPA rates the 2011 Mazda2 at 29 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and a combined 32 mpg—which falls notably to 29 mpg if you opt for the automatic.
Despite sharing a structure with the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda2 has its own styling, interior, and running gear. We like the flowing form, which is a slightly less extreme version of the “smiley face” look of the compact Mazda3—and not quite as cartoony as we find that car to be.
Inside, the Mazda2 is inexpensive, but not cheap. The seats are comfortable, and it’s got a surprising amount of cargo space. But it’s also not all that spacious for people; even six-foot-tall drivers may find the front seats tight and lacking in headroom. The color palette is a little drab, with dark grays and blacks abounding.
You can order two trim levels, the base Sport or Touring. The base price is a mere $13,980 (plus delivery), and the options list is modest. Overall, the 2011 Mazda Mazda2 is the smallest, least expensive way to add a little “zoom-zoom” spice and enjoyment to your daily drive.
For more details, see the full review of the 2011 Mazda Mazda2 on our sister site, TheCarConnection.