Sunday, August 21, 2011

Devon test drives a Mazda 2


The Mazda 2 shares its platform with the Ford Fiesta.  The only difference other than styling is the Mazda 2 offers a more affordable price and has better fuel economy. However, is this enough to convince buyers to consider the 2 over the Toyota Yaris and Kia Rio?
Performance: There's only one engine available with the Mazda 2, and that's a 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 100hp. Fuel economy is excellent, and performance is decent. You'll have to work the engine hard to get the most of it. Unlike the Mazda 2 the Ford Fiesta comes with a six-speed automatic. The 2 has to make due with a four-speed automatic transmission. Opting for the five-speed manual gearbox is the best way to get the most of the 2's 100hp.

Ride & Handling: The Mazda 2 handles just as well as the Fiesta. It's fun to toss it around, even in twisty bends. The 2 corners flat and encourages spirited driving. The ride comfort is firm, but its far from uncomfortable.

Refinement: The 2 feels refined on the motorway. Just like the Fiesta, it has a solid feel. The petrol engine doesn't intrude into the cabin, and wind and road noise is well surpressed. The 2 isn't the most refined in its class, but you'll enjoy it more than its rivals.

Behind the wheel: There's a fuss free dashboard layout. All the controls and dials are within easy reach of the hand. The gear knob is placed high for better reach and less rub against your knee. The steering wheel however doesn't adjust for reach. This will make the driving position awkward for someone.

Space & Practicality: The Mazda 2 is just as practical as the Ford Fiesta. There's plenty of boot space for a car in its class. The interior is roomy for four passengers, adding a fifth passenger is just pushing it. The rear door opening is a bit small for comfortable rear access.

Equipment: Air-conditioning, CD-player and power windows are standard. As well as central locking and traction control. Top of the range trim adds a rear spoiler, sporty body-kit and a chrome exhaust tip. The price difference between the trim levels aren't big.

Buying & Owning: The Mazda 2 is priced lower than the Fiesta. But resale value should prove to be very strong. Fuel economy is excellent, so your fuel bills will be low. Discounts are available but don't expect anything major.

Quality & Reliability: Mazda has a reputation for cars that have solid reliability. The Mazda 2 is no exception to this, all the materials used feel sturdy and long lasting. The Mazda 2 doesn't have the best record in customer satisfaction in JD Power survey, but reliability is above average.

Safety & Security: The Mazda 2 comes with side curtian airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control standard across the range. An engine immobiliser, deadlocks and alarm make life difficult for thieves.

Likes: Stylish inside out, excellent balance of handling and ride comfort, great value for the money, high fuel economy.
Dislikes: A few extra horsepower would be desired, some interior plastics feel cheap.
The Mazda 2 is a purest hatchback. It's not powerful, but when you work the gears its tons of fun. The chassis blends an excellent balance of handling and ride comfort. While the Fiesta has more of an upmarket image, and more expensive options. The Mazda 2 is light weight and offers plenty value for the money.

Devon M

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