Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Mazda Mazda2 TouringIt's the Ford Festiva in lime green and with not a lot of tech.
-I'm not so sure if I wanna drive or lace it up on a pendant and wear it. This is the cuter little sister to Ford's new Fiesta. It's the 2011 Mazda 2, in this case, in Kermit Green. Let's take it for a spin and Check The Tech. Wow! There's a whole lot of my-first-car in this guy----real simple stuff. Let's go to the audio system 'cause there ain't no nav available there unless you go buy a Garmin. AM/FM, CD plus MP3 up here, very stylized interface as you can see----kind of the latest iteration of the Mazda's sort of---- what is that? Kind of like a 1940s airforce symbol, the round thing with the wings on the side. I don't know what they're smoking. But, you know, it works well and it's a good clear display. You've got very simple manual climate controls going on here. There's no "set the temperature" ATC. Nothing in this car really elevates much beyond basic in terms of cabin tech. Get this guy in the base trim and you get 4 speakers around the cabin. They don't really do that anymore. We have the upgraded car, the Touring model. We get 6 speakers around the cabin. But there's no fancy amplification or faux surround or crap like that in this car. It's about getting around and doing so in an efficient manner. If you want Bluetooth handsfree or an iPod or USB audio jack, you're gonna need to see your dealer for a dealer-installed option on those things. A car like this has every penny counted in, or wrung out of it. And Mazda clearly thought price point was more important than building in those features, even as factory options. But I think that's a misread of the youngish urban audience a lot of this car's appeal will be aimed at. A Mazda 2 has a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, 100 horsepower, and 98 foot-pounds of torque. You don't see too many double digits in that category. About the same as a Datsun 510 in 1970, but an old 510 never got an EPA rating of 29/35, and of course, wasn't as bullet proof or buttoned down as anything made today, let alone this car. The basic theme continues on the gearbox, and here it is. The base offering is a 5-speed manual. I gotta say feels more than a little like the one that comes out the Miata. That's pretty high praise. The automatic that's available for like $800 is a 4-speed. That's what they still use in tractors from the old Soviet era, but not much in automobiles these days, except here. On the road, the Mazda 2 actually shines. There's no low-end grunt. But the engine's a happy rever, and the car handles very well in a real world driving sort of way. Now, if you measured this car on the track, you'd have no clue how satisfying it is on the road to work or going here and there. Okay. Pricing on a new Mazda 2 is as small as the car itself. It's 15-grand base. And about all you can do is go for the Touring model like we have, which is about $1,450 more, and that brings you the extra tech options. Not much to speak of: the 6 speakers, the steering wheel controls, the cruise control, the exhaust finishers that are in chrome. Not a whole lot to add here. You're gonna wanna do a lot of DIY if you're a CNET user. But this is kind of a fun package to start with.