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2011 Mazda2 Touring Review

MPG-o-Matic 2011 Mazda2 Review Summary:
With the 2011 Mazda2, the experience adds up to more than the sum of the parts. While not a segment leader in either fuel-economy or straight-line performance, the Mazda2 delivers on both thrift and thrills. It’s more fuel-efficient than the official numbers might suggest and fun to toss about. With an enticingly low sticker price (starting at just over $14,000), it’s more slot car than shoe box.


The 2011 Mazda2 is equipped with a 1.5-liter four cylinder engine that produces 100 horsepower (HP) and 98 foot pounds of torque. The Mazda2’s DOHC VVT (Variable Valve Timing) inline four can be mated to either a five-speed overdrive manual or four-speed electronic overdrive automatic transmission.


The official fuel economy estimates for the 2011 Mazda2 are 27 city / 33 highway MPG with the automatic transmission and 29 city / 35 highway with the manual.

We drove nearly 500 miles in our automatic-equipped True Red Mazda2 Touring review unit and eclipsed the official mileage estimates, achieving a respectable average of 38.4 MPG on the Interstate highway and 34.4 MPG combined in summer weather, with temperatures ranging from the high-sixties through the high-eighties. Interstate highway testing temperatures were in the low-to-mid-seventies. Our test unit was delivered with just over 5000 miles on the odometer.

The 2011 Mazda2 Touring is equipped with with 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels and P185/55R15 Yokohama Avid all-season tires. The base Mazda2 Sport is clad with 15-inch steel wheels and covers.

Interstate Mileage Testing:

  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 38.6 MPG
  • Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 38.2 MPG

With just 100 HP on tap, the Mazda2 takes its time getting to sixty miles per hour (MPG).

The 2011 Mazda2 weighs in at 2306 lbs. (curb weight) for the manual and 2359 lbs. for the automatic.

The 11.3 gallon fuel tank provides a good amount of highway driving range when driven conservatively. The Mazda2 is designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline.

The four-wheel ABS brake system features Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist, with 10.2-inch ventilated front discs and 7.9-inch rear drums.

The orange and black LCD Trip Computer provides data including: two trip meters, fuel remaining (driving range), outside temperature, average vehicle speed, average fuel consumption and real-time MPGs (current consumption). As always, we recommend driving with the Instant Fuel Economy gauge active, to encourage a light-footed, fuel-efficient driving style. (Neither Cruise Control or the Trip Computer are included with the base Mazda2 Sport.)

While I had been hoping to test the five-speed manual, it was the four-speed automatic that rolled into the driveway. My initial disappointment faded when faced with an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic later that evening.

The Mazda2 may appear to be underpowered on paper, it’s a fun car to drive in the real world. This one loves to be tossed about. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control are standard. But unlike the Ford Fiesta, which it shares its platform, The Mazda2’s Traction Control can be disabled.

The Touring model’s exterior goodies include alloy wheels, halogen fog lights, and a rear spoiler. The interior of the Touring model features cloth-trimmed seats with red piping, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated controls. The driver’s seat provides six-way (manual) adjustment.

If you’re keen on in-cabin amenities and technology, the Mazda2 comes up short. The standard six-speaker audio system includes an audio-in jack, but no USB input. There’s just one twelve-volt outlet. Our Touring test unit was equipped with two options: an armrest and a rear bumper guard.

The second row seats allow 37.0 inches of headroom and 34.8 inches of leg room.

The Mazda2’s hatch provides 13.3 cubic feet of storage with the 60/40 rear seat up, and 27.8 cubic feet of storage with the seat folded down.

Wish List: The Mazda2 lacks factory Bluetooth, USB iPod integration, heated seats, and adjustable lumbar support.

All-in-all, the 2011 Mazda2 proves itself as one of the sportiest choices in the newly competitive sub-compact class, despite being one of the least powerful vehicles sold in America today. While not the fastest, nor most fuel-efficient, the Mazda2 carves a niche and a cost-conscious corner. We look forward to future models with the hope that a highly fuel-efficient SKYACTIV gasoline or SKYACTIV-D diesel engine will find their way between the fenders, along with more in-cabin technology and amenity options.

Parts Content Information
US/Canadian Parts Content: 0%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content: Japan – 99%
Final Assembly Point: Hiroshima, Japan
Country of Origin:
Engine – Japan
Transmission – Japan

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2 comments ↓

#1 Daniel Dickinson on 11.05.12 at 7:33 pm

I have been considering this car, I appreciate your evaluations and real world mpg information. I think I wiil opt for the Mazda 3 with a 6 spd manual, for a few $thousand more it appears you get much more car and comfort.
Again, you all do an excellent job on giving us real mpg numbers, keep up the excellent work!

#2 mpg-o-editor on 11.06.12 at 7:45 am

@Daniel – Many thanks for the kind words and support! You made the right choice. 🙂 Dollar for dollar, the Mazda3 Skyactiv is one of the best cars on the market today.

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