Mazda wants, literally, to put a little Zoom Zoom in your life.
This summer, it will introduce the subcompact Mazda2 in Canada and the U.S. Originally shown at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, it is also sold as the Demio in Japan.
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Mazda Canada has wanted this car since it was announced and, finally, they will have a contender in the growing Canadian sub-compact segment to go up against the likes of Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and the Ford Fiesta that shares much of the Mazda2’s underpinnings.
In Europe it is offered with a choice of a gasoline 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre engine and a 1.4-litre diesel. Tested here is the 1.5-litre which is an inline, four-cylinder unit with twin cams, variable valve timing and fuel injection for 102 hp and 101 lb-ft of torque driving the front wheels with a standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission. I drove the 1.5-litre with the automatic.
The car tested here is a Russian specification model and is roughly similar to what is coming this summer.
With the manual (I don’t have numbers for the automatic as tested), European fuel economy is rated at 7.6/4.9/5.9L/100 km city/highway/combined. Top speed is listed at 188 km/h and the 0-100 km/h time is a surprising 10.4 seconds.
When I asked what engine will we see in Canada, I was given a firm “no comment.”
Interestingly, 95 per cent of the Mazda2 is recyclable and it contains no lead, chromium, mercury or cadmium.
Another thing going for the Mazda2 is its styling. It is anything but with a pugnacious stance that is more pronounced by two character lines, one along the rocker panel and one at the belt line. The latter rises as it climbs towards the rear fender that houses the rear wheel at the absolute outside edge.
First impression was how vibrant it looked in a Ferrari red, a world away from my Protégé in sand beige. The second was how big the side windows appeared. I found out later that was part of the overall styling concept.
The interior is standard fare for a Japanese small car, charcoal throughout. Instrumentation is simple and the car tested here came with power windows and mirrors.
One thing of interest was how much quieter it is than my current Mazda5. Apparently, Mazda engineers used double door seals and stiffer door panels, that are less affected by aerodynamic suction at higher speeds.