On The Cover Review: 2011 Mazda 2
As fuel mileage regulations become stricter, we’re seeing a trend in vehicle manufacturers focusing on higher-quality compact cars. But when you think about it, a Mazda 3 (which was called a 323 back in the day) was a very compact car. With the evolution of safety, comfort, and convenience features, that car grew; much like all compacts did over time. So now, there’s a vacancy in the compact slot in the lineup, and Mazda is filling it with the new Mazda 2. This car has been on sale in Europe since 2007, but it is only recently that American preferences have again presumably shifted to welcome something like this. Powering the smiling little guy is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder with an even 100-hp. That’s good for a 35-mpg highway rating with a manual transmission. And like other small European-market cars that are now hitting America’s shores, i.e., the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda 2 has a more quality presentation than most of the small cars sold here in the past. The question now is, are Americans willing to embrace these diminutive vehicles over the larger cars we’ve grown accustomed to? And the only way to answer that is to see how well they perform in the showrooms.