Test drive: 2012 Mazda2

Compact cars, like the new Mazda2, are no longer a novelty in the US market. In fact, they are now a necessity for both manufacturers and consumers.

On the one hand, manufacturers are obliged to increase the average yield of gasoline in their product lines to meet the government mandate of 35.5 miles per gallon from 2016.

And on the side of consumers, fuel efficiency remains the main reason for deciding which new car to buy.

So it is not surprising that the compact car segment is the fastest growing worldwide.

With this double pressure, the good news is that the supply of models has increased several times in recent years and since 2011, Mazda brought to the United States the Mazda2, which has already had a proven track record in Japan, Europe and Australia success, since its launch in 2007.

The Mazda2 came to face stiff competition in the compact segment, which are already established models such as the Kia Rio, the Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and the Scion iQ, and who also is joining the Chevy Sonic from 2012.

The good

Like the rest of the competition, the Mazda2 is distinguished by an excellent minimalist combination, but practical at the same time with a long series of basic equipment, safety equipment and optional extras only seen before den models in the luxury segment.

Equipped with an MZR four-cylinder 1.5-liter that generates 100 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 98 pounds of torque per linear foot, the Mazda2 2012 yields 29 mpg city and 35 highway, coupled to the manual five changes, as we tried it.

With four changes automatic transmission (optional on the Sport and Touring versions) gas mileage is 28 miles per gallon in the city and 34 on the highway, an improvement of a mile in both measures compared to the 2011 model.

The engine of the Mazda2 train, despite being so compact and efficient, has not taken the spirit of driving fun typical of the brand, for which, engineers Mazda will set up a suspension with MacPherson system at the front axle and a torsion bar in the rear, specifically adjusted for roads in North America.

The result is a car that offers solid management, with adequate acceleration for its size and direction accurately respond to driver input.

In the cabin, the 2012 Mazda2 has sufficient capacity to accommodate four adults without problems – five for short trips – and still has 13.3 cubic feet of cargo space. When the back of the rear seat is folded, cargo space increases to 27.8 cubic feet.

And despite its size, it is considered one of the safest in the segment, thanks to a manufactured with the “Triple-H” system of three frames that help distribute energy in the event of an accident structure.

The Mazda2 2012 and was rated “good” in tests of accident Insurance Institute and Highway Safety (IIHS), which exceeds the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and the MINI Cooper, which is much more expensive.

The security team Mazda2 2012 includes six airbags (two front with advanced detection system passenger weight), a system that disconnects the pedals in the event of an impact and the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) for ensure chairs babies in the backseat.

In addition, standard equipment includes monitors tire pressure.

The bad

The 2012 Mazda2 has nothing in particular that you can be criticized. However, it seems a bit late bout this competitive segment, where other models exist – especially Koreans Kia and Hyundai – offering more in value / price ratio.

The price

The Mazda2 has a starting price of $ 14.330, as tested with the manual transmission. The Sport versions, with automatic transmission starts at $ 15.210, while the Touring with manual and automatic transmission, up to $ 15.855 and $ 16.695, respectively.

It is available in six exterior colors (Liquid Silver, Spirited Green, Brilliant Black, True Red, Crystal White Pearl and Aquatic Blue), and despite its slight disadvantage in price, is a comfortable, convenient and efficient car.

* Test Drives 2012