Vehicle Type: Compact Car

History/Description: Mazda added the new 2 to their model range in Canada for model year 2011, and an all-new version of the subcompact is launching soon—meaning the inaugural generation of the little Mazda has moved fully into used-car territory.

A sporty grille, wide-set stance and sweeping character lines dial up the 2’s on-road presence, while numerous touches like fog lamps, a hatch-spoiler and alloy wheels add sophistication. Top-line features include high-tech rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic headlights, a chrome tailpipe accent and side-sill extensions – all of which added appeal for shoppers after affordable access to high-end feature content. USB audio connectivity is standard, making it easy to access tunes stored on virtually any device.

Every 2 shipped with dual front and front-side airbags, dual side curtain airbags, a brake override system, and three-point safety belts at every seat. Add in a flexible cargo hold with split folding seats and available roof-mounted cargo carrying solutions, and the 2 should prove a flexible little five-door that’s ready for any trip or activity thrown its way.

Shoppers may want to include the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta and Toyota Yaris in their cross-shopping activities. Note that the Mazda2 has earned at least one major award for resale values – so it’ll likely command a premium in the used market over some competitive models.

Engines / Trim: All models shipped with a 1.5L, 100 hp four-cylinder engine, driving the front wheels via a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

The entry GX model grade included 15-inch wheels, power mirrors, locks and windows, tilt steering, an MP3 compatible stereo system with auxiliary and USB inputs and folding rear seats – mounting to a solid foundation for convenience, entertainment and comfort.

A Convenience Package model adds air conditioning, heated mirrors, a stereo speaker upgrade, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a trip computer and more. The GS trim grade adds alloy wheels, a roof spoiler, chrome exhaust tip, fog lamps, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, as well as automatic lights and wipers.

What Owners Like: Owners report satisfaction with overall value, styling, and fuel economy first and foremost. The Mazda2 also features a steering and handling setup that’s nicely honed for driving enthusiasts, as well as a sporty and fun-to-shift five-speed stick, according to many owners. Here’s a fun-to-drive little car with effort put into reflexes and agility. Flexible cargo space helps round out the package.

What Owners Dislike: Typical complaints include useless and awkwardly-placed cupholders, the lack of abundant at-hand on-board storage, and the wish for about 20 or 30 more horsepower.

Here are some owner reviews

The Test Drive: Here’s a discussion online where some owners contemplate whether or not the Mazda2 might be the perfect, reliable minimalist car. In this thread, numerous owners chime in about how they haven’t had a lick of trouble with their 2, perhaps because of the long-lived and proven engine, simple feature content, and solid build quality. Durable components are also noted.

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