Mar 9, 2012
The Mazda 2 straddles two worlds — on one end of the spectrum is a sporty pocket rocket, while the other, a practical starter car. We were able to review two variants of the Mazda 2, taking both for a spin through hills, pockmarked city streets and there’s one thing Mazda owners and I would agree on: zoom zoom, indeed!
Out of the Box
Ford Group Philippines lent us two variants of the Mazda 2 over the course of a few weeks. The first one was the Mazda 2 hatchback AT sport, and the other the 1.5 L manual sedan. Both came with funky side decals that seem to say “look at me!” and aptly turned heads whenever we passed by crowded areas.
At first glance, the Mazda 2 looks like your typical compact hatchback, and the styling on the hatch is reminiscent of an egg. Don’t let that deter you, though. The youth-oriented appearance signals a fun and zippy drive, and what the Mazda 2′s looks lack in masculinity it makes up for with performance.
Taking the car out for a spin, two words would come to mind: “pocket rocket.” Another two words would probably come as an afterthought: “weight reduction.” Mazda engineers were reportedly able to strip down the Mazda 2′s weight to the extent of removing non-essential parts altogether, leading to a zippy ride at 1,068 Kg. So even coupled with a miserly 1.5 Liter engine that outputs 103 hp, you can throw the Mazda 2 around like a small European sports car.
The Mazda 2 is actually similar in platform to the Ford Fiesta (review coming soon), so if it’s a choice between performance and refinement, the 2 would lean towards the performance side.
The engine note is notable, especiall when revving past 3000 RPM. Here’s where the Mazda 2 shines. Forget low NVR levels. You’ll love the engine noise when accelerating. Zoom zoom, indeed!
Comfort and Amenities
If you’re looking for luxury car refinements, then you’d better look elsewhere, though. The Mazda 2 lacks refinements that even comparably-priced budget subcompacts today have. Or, at least, the interior looks bare and spartan compared with alternatives like the Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris. Yes, there’s the integrated stereo with MP3-enabled CD player. The models we reviewed did not have a USB-in, though, but they had an AUX input for plugging in an iPod or other media player.
Still, the Mazda 2 hatchback makes up for the lack of these multimedia options with steering wheel-mounted controls, which makes it convenient to move through stations or CD tracks and adjust the volume.
The ride is a bit rough — I experienced what other Mazda 2 drivers say is a common problem with the Mazda 2. The front suspension is a bit stiff, and sometimes exhibits a clunking noise when traversing ruts and small bumps.
Space is the one thing that the Mazda 2 won’t win any awards for. The hatch luggage area is approximately as big as the Ford Fiesta’s, although it’s definitiely smaller than that of the Honda Jazz. Fold-down rear seats will add to the space, letting you load a few boxes and big items. But the fact that the the seats don’t fold flat is a limiting factor.
The Mazda 2 also lacks in terms of cubbyholes and cup holders to place your junk in. The love-it or hate-it radical glove compartment design is quite innovative. You can just slip things inside through the slot on top. There are small coin racks, although I doubt if you can securely keep your mobile phone here without falling to the floor during those spirited uphill drives.
I like the fact that Mazda’s trunk lids are electronically-controlled, though. The hatchback opens at the push of a button (the location of which is arguably inappropriate, in my opinion). The sedan variant’s trunk can likewise be opened through the alarm remote control, which can be a nice touch when your hands are full.
The units Mazda lent us had the side decals that seemed to be wanting for attention, and the white car colors were dust magnets. If I were to get a Mazda 2, I’d go for the plain blue or red colors, which nicely match the “pocket rocket” look of the vehicle. Mazda 2 is a great ride for singles or as a second car for yuppies with families. The 2 is aptly-sized for a subcompact hatchback, and performs well even when pushed to the limits. However, you might not be able to get much out of the 2 in terms of utility and comfort, so if you’re finicky with your car’s trim, this might not be the car for you (you can opt for the Ford Fiesta, instead).
Folks who get the Mazda 2 are likely the ones who would rather go for a Zoom Zoom experience than plush interiors.
- Easy to park
- Great power-to-weight ratio
- Very maneuverable
- Great for spirited driving
- Yes, the car has a heater — great for those drives up to Baguio City
- The infamous front suspension “kalampag”
- Bare interiors
- Rear seats fold, but not flat down
- 1.5L Mazda 2 Sport R Hatchback AT PhP 799,000
- 1.5L Mazda 2 R 4-Door AT PhP 789,000
- 1.5L Mazda 2 V 4-Door MT PhP 729,000
- 1.3L Mazda 2 S 4-Door MT PhP 689,000
- 1.3L Mazda 2 S Hatchback MT PhP 689,000