Nevertheless, Mazda's sporty little subcompact is headed for dealerships this fall, starting at the remarkably low price of $13,980.
A few weeks ago, our colleague Nelson Ireson was able to drive it on a Mazda-sponsored trip to Montreal. He got five hours of driving time, and his full report can be found on our sister site Motor Authority.
Here's the Cliff Notes version of that drive report, which we've condensed into bullet points:
- Clean, modern styling
- Excellent, well-balanced handling and 'zoom-zoom' character from this very light car
- Nice interior for the price, though not all that distinctive
- Comfortable seats
- Better cargo room than you'd expect, especially with rear seat folded down
- Gas mileage in the mid-30s is easy to obtain, could go higher with gentle driving
HE DIDN'T LIKE
- 100-horsepower, 1.5-liter engine hardly overflows with power
- Four-speed automatic is downright slow (five-speed manual gearbox is better)
- Drivers over 6 feet will be cramped
Nelson concludes that the 2011 Mazda2 offers genuine hatchback fun without the premium price of competitors like the 2010 Mini Cooper or the 2010 Honda Fit.
Which sounds to us like a very appealing package. We look forward to driving our own Mazda2 and bringing you further impressions.
(Still no word yet on whether there'll be a hot-hatch MazdaSport2 model, though.)
For Nelson's complete drive report, check out the link below.