By Antony Dickson
On the day I learnt that I would be getting a 2012 Mazda2 to test, thoughts like small, powerless, uncomfortable and boring sprung up in my mind. But a week after driving it in and around town, all my preconceived notions were laid to rest. Let me assure you it is none of the above. In fact it is a zippy, fun-to-drive highly manoeuvrable little car and is a dream car when it comes to parking. The smallest of places are good enough for the Mazda2 to squeeze into.
The Mazda2 made its debut last year as an entry-level product just under the Mazda 3. This year doesn’t see any significant changes. The 1.5 litre engine churns out 100 hp and with the manual transmission, it sure is fun to drive. Gear shifts are smooth and while gear ratios seem to be just right. If driven hard, the Mazda2 offers a lot of go-kart like excitement given its tight turning radius and responsive steering. For a car that’s categorized as a sub-compact car, it responds well in the city though a little sluggish when undertaking an overtaking manoeuvre. Despite my hard driving, I averaged close to 7 litres / 100 kmph which is very decent.
Outward design is appealing and when seen from the front, its almost as if the Mazda 2 is smiling. While developing the Mazda2, Mazda took a thorough look at global trends and carefully worked to identify the truly beneficial values that could be infused into a global subcompact car. One will however realize it’s a small car once they are seated inside. Leg room in the back is limited unlike the front row, where driver and front passenger have the luxury to stretch their legs if they need to. There’s enough cargo space in the back to house all your grocery shopping and more. Interiors are impressive while seats are comfortable even on long periods of driving. The dashboard has been kept simple offering easy access to the driver with straightforward controls.
The suspension on the Mazda2 absorbs road bumps pretty well and overall ride comfort is great in the Mazda2. The tester I had was the top of the line GS. The other trim is the entry-level GX. The Mazda2 GX is available with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers, 185/55/R15 all-season tires, power door mirrors, power door locks, power windows with driver’s one-touch up/down, tilt steering, an AM/FM/CD player with MP3 capability, audio auxiliary jack, intermittent rear window wiper/washer and 60/40 split fold-down rear seats.
The 2012 Mazda2 is available in two trim levels – the entry-level GX and top-grade GS. Both come with a 1.5 litre engine under the hood and offer the versatility, features and style consumers in the market for a sub¬compact want. Standard features include 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers, 185/55/R15 all-season tires, power door mirrors, power door locks, power windows with driver’s one-touch up/down, tilt steering, an AM/FM/CD player with MP3 capability, audio auxiliary jack, intermittent rear window wiper/washer and 60/40 split fold-down rear seats.
The GS trim sports everything that the GX with Convenience Package does, with the addition of: 15-inch alloy wheels, a roof spoiler, side sill extensions, chrome exhaust finisher, fog lights, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, air conditioning, leather-wrapped steering wheel and two extra speakers (six speakers). Safety features include Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control System (TCS), Electric Power Assist (EPAS) steering system, “Triple H” body construction, side-impact door beams, crushable brake and accelerator pedal assembly, advanced dual front air bags, front seat side air bags, side air curtains, engine immobilizer anti-theft system, and second row ISOFIX child safety seat anchors.
The model featured here is the 2012 Mazda2 GS and its price as tested is $18,584. It makes a great starter car and is the perfect city commuter. It certainly deserves a test drive if your in the market for a little car with a limited budget.