2013 Mazda2 Road Test Review

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press

Published on January 27, 2013

Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press

Published on January 27, 2013

Published on January 27, 2013

Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press

Published on January 27, 2013

There's something wonderfully visceral about a small car that larger luxury cruisers couldn't hope to emulate even if they tried. They're light, agile, fun to drive and wonderfully economical, but maybe it's more about how subcompacts make middle-aged folks like me feel? Like we've gone back a few decades to the days of our youth, when our collective stresses were focused more on schoolwork throughout the week and then a decision about which party to go to come Friday night, rather than how on earth we're going to pay for our kids' post secondary educations let alone our own retirements in this global economic upheaval. Maybe a good first step might be to downsize into something like the Mazda2.

We wouldn't be missing out on much if we did, at least if outfitted like the GS model I drove last year. For $19,690 including destination (only $105 more than a 2012 GS) a 2013 version can be had with handy remote keyless entry, a rich leather-wrapped steering wheel, cool looking silver interior accents, simple and easy-to-use air conditioning, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, powered and heated door mirrors, an exterior temperature gauge, a useful trip computer, cruise control with steering-wheel mounted buttons and redundant switches for the audio system too, the latter connecting through to a decent sounding six-speaker audio system, and on the outside, fog lamps, side sill extensions, a rear rooftop spoiler, a chrome exhaust tip, and 15-inch alloy wheels on the same 185/55 all-season tires as the base model, spiffing up an already sporty looking hatchback design.

But this year I was in the base Mazda2 GX, albeit with an automatic transmission, a $1,150 option, and the $895 Convenience package that ups content to include everything just mentioned on the GS except for the exterior upgrades and the automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, leather-wrapped steering wheel, two additional stereo speakers and air conditioning, although air conditioning must be added to opt for the Convenience package anyway, which ups the price another $1,195 for a total of $19,185 including destination.

I suppose I should interject here with a short list of standard Mazda2 GX features. For 2013 the base car starts at $15,945 including freight and PDI, which is $355 more than last year but now includes a USB plug with the standard stereo. Why they didn't include standard Bluetooth phone connectivity in that price increase is beyond me as I can't see anyone not wanting it, but you can still get it as a dealer-installed accessory for $389. The standard feature list does include powered locks, powered windows and powered mirrors, tilt steering, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with aux input to go along with the USB connection, plus a 12-volt outlet, a centre console with cupholders, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, a rear wiper with washer, and a full array of safety equipment including traction and stability control, ABS-enhanced brakes and all the usual airbags.

Bluetooth aside, I like that Mazda gives its 2 a long list of accessories so that buyers can personalize their rides as they see fit. You can get such practical devices as an auto-dimming rearview mirror and parking sensors to styling and performance upgrades such as a larger rear spoiler and a suspension kit to lower its ride height and improve handling. Mazda doesn't offer luxury items like leather upholstery or a sophisticated telematics system however, so it may not be the ideal small replacement to that luxury cruiser I mentioned earlier after all. But then again, change can be good.

It really is fun to drive, with responsive handling in the corners and good stability at highway speed. Granted, I would've enjoyed tooling around town with its five-speed manual gearbox rather than the four-speed automatic Mazda supplied, but the autobox didn't hamper forward progress too much and its shifts are pretty smooth. I'm guessing that those who opt for the autobox will find that it shifts crisply enough too.

All Mazda2 trim levels are powered by the same 1.5-litre, 16-valve, DOHC four-cylinder engine that makes a tidy 100-horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque. This might not sound like a lot until you factor in an extremely low curb weight of 1,043 kilos in base guise or 1,075 kg fully loaded with the automatic. That allows for a fairly zippy sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 10 seconds. More importantly that also leads to claimed fuel consumption figures of 7.2 L/100km city and 5.6 highway with the manual or 7.1 and 5.8 with the automatic, not segment-leading but still very respectable in a class where economy rules. There's something to be said for the reliability found in tried and tested technology too, and Mazda's four-speed automatic is well proven.

Practicality in mind, there's plenty of room up front for taller folk, while the rear seats should be good enough for two regular sized adults or three kids. The cargo area is average sized for the subcompact class, although the rear seats don't fold totally flat like some in this segment so loading larger items can sometimes be a bit awkward.

I'm guessing the Mazda2 will be the perfect fit for most small car buyers, mind you, especially when factoring in its extremely approachable base price and an even better overall value when loaded up in GS trim. Combine that with good fuel economy and the Mazda2 is one of the subcompact segment's value leaders.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Mazda, 2013, Mazda2, $10,000 - $19,999, Subcompact,

Organizations: Mazda

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