January 1, 2013
Subcompacts were long relegated as first cars for first-time drivers. They were the cheap family hand-me-down for Junior until he could prove his mettle behind the wheel before being entrusted with the keys to a “grown-up” vehicle. How times have changed. Today such entry-level vehicles are offering an unabashedly charming version of fun and frugal that Junior probably doesn’t want to drive what the parents are tooling around town in. How exciting can a grown-up’s car be anyway? Enter the 2013 Mazda2, Zoom-Zoom in its most concentrated form.
The sprightly Mazda2 entered the subcompact segment in 2007, first in Japan, Europe and Australia. These markets overwhelmed the new model with rabid acclaim, such as the “2008 World Car of the Year” and other “Car of the Year” distinctions from home-country Japan to faraway Greece. When the Mazda2 debuted in North America in 2010 as a 2011 model, more awards followed in the form of various “Top Ten” and “Best Cars” lists.
“Although the smallest vehicle in our lineup, the 2013 Mazda2 offers great value to consumers looking for high fuel efficiency, dynamic performance and clean design wrapped in an affordable package,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). “One of the more exciting vehicles in the subcompact segment, the Mazda2 is an integral part of Mazda’s full lineup of vehicles.”
Junior’s no-fuss, second-hand subcompact isn’t supposed to look good; it just needs to start. But the 2013 Mazda2 not only looks good with its sharp, smooth lines – once you start it, you don’t want to stop it. In a segment that doesn’t offer designers much sheet metal to work with, complex lines become simple and purposed while size is translated into comfort and functionality. The Mazda2’s taut wedge shape conveys athleticism, with its shortened body overhangs and trimmed corners further accentuating its slender physique. Swooping character lines that start from the front wheel arch energetically flow across the vehicle’s sides and deviously wrap around the C-pillar and through the trunk lid to complete a distinctive personality.
Available in Sport and Touring trims, both feature a body-color grille, power outside mirrors and door handles, keeping to a crisp, fresh exterior look. A front-roof-mounted radio antenna adds a little vibe. The Touring model offers 15-inch alloy wheels as standard over the Sport’s 15-inch steel wheels with full wheel covers. The Touring trim also adds fog lights, a rear roof spoiler and chrome exhaust finisher for a sporty touch.
The 2013 Mazda2 is available in six fun-to-drive colors: True Red, Crystal White Pearl, Liquid Silver, Brilliant Black, Clear Water Blue and the top-selling Spirited Green.
On the inside, the Mazda2 offers everything where you need it, when you need it, with its intuitive and uncluttered contoured dash and instrumental panel. The overall interior design focuses on a central area for all driver and passenger operations, while the principle dash shape is minimized and curved away from occupants to further create a feeling of openness. Control knobs and audio buttons provide direct ease of use allowing the driver to keep eyes focused on the road. An auxiliary audio jack and USB port allow ears to be focused on whatever music drives you.
The mostly-black canvas is complemented by high-quality ergonomics used throughout the cabin. Silver garnish adorns the A/C vents and door armrests. In Sport models, silver extends to the shift knob and its surrounding gate and trim. For Touring models, added features include a leather-wrapped steering wheel with steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise control functions. Soft-touch features include fabric trim inserts on all doors as well as an available padded center console armrest. Both trims feature black cloth-trimmed seat upholstery with Touring models offering an upgraded cloth design highlighted by contrasting red piping.
With seating available for up to five passengers, the rear cargo area offers an efficient 13.3 cubic feet. When utilizing the 60/40-split fold-down rear seats, an impressive cargo area of 27.8 cubic feet is created, more than enough room to hold the weekend’s big-box warehouse shopping trip or the kids’ numerous athletic gear for multiple weekly practices.
When the seats are occupied, the front and second rows offer 39.1 and 37.0 inches of headroom, respectively. Shoulder room is 52.8 inches in the front and 51.2 inches in the rear. Leg room is a welcoming stretch, even for the long-legged, at 42.6 inches in the front and 33.0 inches in the rear. The driver’s seat height also can be manually adjusted for added comfort.
Standard niceties on the Sport model include a pollen filter-equipped air conditioning system, power automatic door locks and windows (with a driver’s one-touch up/down feature), a remote keyless entry system, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible audio system. Upgrading to the Touring model adds cruise control, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3-compatible audio system and a trip computer.
Available port- and dealer-installed accessories include Bluetooth®-enabled phone connectivity, a center armrest with storage bin, an auto-dimming compass-equipped rearview mirror with Homelink®, all-weather floor mats, a rear bumper guard as well as a roof rack with a selection of carriers to fit any active lifestyle or travel needs.
Deceptive in size, the 2013 Mazda2’s diminutive dimensions do not equate to its spunk on the streets. Available with either a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic transmission for either trim level, the subcompact is fitted with an MZR 1.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, which produces 100 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 98 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. With a starting curb weight of 2,306 lbs., the Mazda2 is the leanest in its segment. Even when hitting the scales at 2,359 lbs. when fully loaded, the vehicle is light enough on its feet to offer enough fun behind the wheel to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Also smiling will be consumer wallets with the Mazda2’s impressive fuel economy. Thanks to weight-saving measures such as the increased application of high tensile strength steel, spot welds on door openings and weld bonding on the lift gate opening, rigidity is improved while pounds are successful shed. Lighter, stronger materials and an enhanced assembly structure benefit the vehicle in manufacturing but also the consumer with increased overall efficiency.
When equipped with the standard five-speed manual transmission, Mazda2 delivers an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 29 city/35 highway miles per gallon (MPG). The optional four-speed automatic transmission offers an estimated MPG rating of 28 city/34 highway. The vehicle’s 0.33 coefficient of drag also contributes to fuel economy as well as a quiet cabin.
Underneath it all is a highly regarded suspension system, which has MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion-beam axle at the rear. With settings tuned specifically to North American road conditions and driving styles, the resulting dynamic performance yields consistently responsive handling and an effortless, stable ride.
And because not all subcompacts are built with such driving dynamics in mind, only a few have opted to join the year-old “B-Spec” Showroom Stock racing series in conjunction with
GRAND-AM’s “Total Performance Showcase” class and the Pirelli World Challenge’s “Touring Car B-Spec (TCB)” class. More information on the Mazda2 B-Spec kit as well as other competitive series is available via the Mazda Motorsports website.
The subcompact category, or B-segment, is one the fastest growing automotive segments, and to further support its grassroots intent in becoming an affordable alternative to more expensive racing circuits, all B-spec race cars sport stock engines and chassis, are fitted with a competition roll cage and other safety features as well as feature OEM-approved suspension components, wheels and tires. With the goal of providing racing enthusiasts a financially-attainable opportunity to compete, more manufacturers are seeing the series’ potential. And true to its familial motorsports DNA, the Mazda2 has been a competitive opponent in its first season.
Whether a race weekend or running to the dry cleaner, safety is never an option with the 2013 Mazda2. Small in stature but not on safety, the subcompact has been meticulously developed to absorb impacts and protect all occupants. Its “Triple H” construction of interlocking body frames creates a highly rigid body structure, scoring the highest rating of “Good” on frontal and roof strength impact results conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Standard advanced safety features include six airbags (advanced dual front, front-seat mounted and full-length side curtain) with improved double chamber side airbags, a “crushable” brake pedal assembly, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH), front seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters, an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), a Traction Control System (TCS) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
Also, all Mazda vehicles come with the Mazda Certified Roadside Assistance Program. Using either the toll-free number or free Mazda Assist app for iOS- and Android-operated mobile devices, vehicle owners and their family members can contact roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, the New Vehicle Limited Warranty includes a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty, which covers every part of the vehicle except those subject to normal wear, a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.
Mazda North American Operations is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City. For more information on Mazda vehicles, including photography and b-roll, please visit the online Mazda media center at www.mazdausamedia.com.