2011 Mazda 2
July 22nd, 2010Written by Kevin "Crash" Corrigan Added July 22nd, 2010
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Mazda, the company which brought Zoom Zoom to the world is finally releasing its Mazda2 in Canada. The car, which will be sold here as a sub-compact, has been available in other countries for several years now, and it’s been doing rather well. In fact, during this period it has amassed over 50 awards including 2008 World Car of the Year, and Car of the Year in more than 20 countries.
But why has it taken so long to arrive on the shores of North America?
Well, apparently it’s all been a matter of timing. Until now, the company hasn’t felt the demand was there for a vehicle smaller than its current Mazda3. However, as is said, times are a changing, and the company now feels that the Canadian public are slightly more open to smaller-scale vehicles.
Hooray for that I say, for after experiencing the vehicle first hand, I’d say that the Mazda2 is exactly what Canadians want to see right now.
From the outside, the new sub-compact resembles its slightly larger brother in many ways, particularly from the front. Yes, the Mazda2 also smiles at you! In fact, it’s perhaps not so much of a smile as more of a cheeky little grin. In that sense, it suits the vehicle.
Moving towards the rear is where we first start to notice the differences from the Mazda3, and it has to be said that it more than slightly resembles the new Ford Fiesta, a vehicle which shares its platform. This obviously leads us to the question of how these two differ. Well, I’ve now driven both and apart from the odd resemblance to the exteriors, it’s hard to find anything else in which to compare them. The Mazda2 in many ways feels like a smaller version of the 3. In fact, once seated inside, it’s easy to forget that you’re in the smaller model. The design team at Mazda has done a grand job of making this little car feel larger than it actually is.
However, where things really start to change is in the drive. The Mazda2 feels much lighter and considerably more nimble than its big brother (I can’t believe I’m saying this about the Mazda3, a vehicle which has long been a benchmark in small car handling). It’s also a fair bit lighter than its sister vehicle, the Ford Fiesta. Much of this has to do with weight-saving advances which have been engineered into the Mazda2 and that seems to have been the number one goal in its design.
Ask any race car driver and they’ll explain that good power-to-weight ratios are of vital importance to performance. A massive V8 may well propel a vehicle down the straight at breakneck speeds, but a smaller engine can do exactly the same job if the vehicle’s weight is right. Just like humans, shed a few excess pounds and you’ll move quicker and with less energy!
We then come to handling and it’s basically the same story. A few pounds of excess blubber shed from the right places can have an astonishing effect on cornering capabilities. It can also have a dramatic effect on how the vehicle handles rough pavement and potholes, something which I’m sure most Canadians are familiar with. Now I’ve driven a lot of small cars in my time but I have to admit to being pretty impressed with the Mazda2 on that score. Considering its rather small footprint, it can take our rough Canadian roads without getting all twitchy and bent out of shape. It is also much more stable at highway speeds than some of the other vehicles in its class.
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