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    Thread: 5,200+ miles over 10 days in a Mazda2 (long read)

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    1. Member Assle's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 01:55 AM #1
      Spent the better part of 10 days on the road in a Mazda2 traveling from Chicago to San Diego and back again. Thought I'd share my impressions on the car.

      For the tl;dr crowd:

      Surprisingly-good performance
      Averaged 30.4 mpg
      Typical Mazda interior

      Unabridged riveting tale chap:

      The Friday before last (May 4th), my buddy and I took some basic travel supplies + clothes and headed off on a roadtrip in a True Red Mazda2 Touring with ~6,200 miles on the odometer that looked like this:



      Prior to the trip, I had been interested in a Mazda2 so having one for such a trip made for perfect coincidence. For those not familiar, here are the basic stats on the car:

      100hp/98tq 1.5L 16V 4-cylinder
      Auto
      ~2,350lb curb weight
      0-60 in 9.2 seconds
      Top speed of 109mph

      The trip itinerary went like this: Chicago -> St Louis -> Oklahoma City -> Albuquerque -> San Diego -> Las Vegas -> Denver -> Chicago

      First and most-noticeable was how well the car drove. It weighs as much as my '89 Integra did but feels much better planted to the road than that car ever felt. Steering response is sharp and brakes catch very quickly. Surprisingly little body roll/lean considering how cheap the car is. As far as power is concerned, the 100hp/98tq may be at least 54lb-ft short of sufficient for safe passing, but it felt like plenty in this car even with the additional ~500lbs with us in it. It didn't stand a chance in any aspect against the Z8 we ran across on Mulholland and the engine had a tough time climbing I-70 by Denver up to the ~11,600-foot elevation, but it never gave off that impression that we could have dead.

      I was also quite impressed with the interior. Much like in my sister-in-law's Mazda3, the interior in this car is surprisingly cavernous and well-arranged. The dash and door cards, though, (much like they are in the Mazda3), are easy to mar/scratch. The trunk is roomy enough for two medium duffel bags and tools without a problem. There are several cup holders and change trays of various widths and depths in the center console. Map pockets in the front door cards flared in width toward the front of the car meaning you could stash items of wider width in there (such as a CD case). The rear doors, however, do not have pockets. Also, the part of the elbow rest on the front doors where you put your fingers in to pull the door closed was padded with soft material. This is great as I hate having something rattling in there as it does in most other cars. Lastly, the car does have a good seating position relative to window shape for cruising with your arm resting on the door.

      Other things of note:
      The Yokohama Avid S34F tires performed very well from the canyons of California to the snow/ice of Denver. Always good grip except for minor hydroplaning in New Mexico.
      Very little highway noise.
      There is no engine temp gauge, only one blue dummy light to let you know the engine has not warmed up to optimal temperature, and one red dummy light to let you know if the engine is too hot.
      Wider-than-expected turning radius. I tried to turn around 180 degrees at a gas station around the pump island and could not do it in one smooth move.
      Small 11.3 gallon gas tank made for stopping 2-3 times a day to get gas but at least it was cheap and quick to fill up.
      Overall trip fuel consumption was at 30.4 mpg. Trip consisted of almost all highway driving, never more than 5-7mph over the limit.
      No satellite radio. Not sure if it was just this car that didn't come with it or if the Mazda2 doesn't have it as an option at all.
      No sunroof. Again, not sure if at all available from Mazda.
      The cruise control would occasionally go into thermostat mode where it let the actual speed fall nearly 5mph under the set limit and then overcompensate by bringing the actual speed over the setting by 2-3mph. A few times, the cruise control would just randomly shut off or gun the engine to 5,000 rpm on level roads without much elevation change up or down.
      The distance to empty display would sometimes add mileage to the range instead of subtracting as we're driving along. This might be because of the gasoline moving about in the gas tank.
      The headrest makes for a vision obstruction if you look over your shoulder on the door side.
      Placement of the shifter being in the dash makes it pretty easy to tap into neutral when bringing your hand up from the center console area.
      The backs of the front seats do not have storage areas.
      The seats were quite comfortable and did not wear us out sitting in them day after day for a week and a half. The side bolsters were quite supportive on both parts of the seat even if the did feel flimsy in hand.
      The front passenger seat can slide forward of the B-pillar if you need to fit a large item into the back seat area.
      It is possible to turn the trunk light on/off with a switch but the light doesn't illuminate the trunk area very well.
      You do have a button to turn the DSC off, which was nice, but there is no indicator to inform you if wheel slip was detected.
      Only one 12V port.
      The glove box does open without crashing into your shins, which is more than I can say for most other cars I've been in.
      There is no dummy pedal to rest your left foot on, but there is a flat vertical carpeted space where a dummy pedal would have gone.

      All in all, I liked the car and I would consider owning one if I were in the market for a new small car. Only things I'd have to have that this car did not come with is a sunroof and manual trans.
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    2. Member Aguilar's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 04:38 AM #2
      Nice review, you definitely get to know cars on long trips. I will be doing a 2000 mile trip in the Corvette soon, I'll definitely post something about it.

    3. Member mike02467's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 06:24 AM #3
      My sister has a 2010 Mazda 3 and I think the interior is terribly laid out. The back seats are extremely cramped and the dash is just a plain mess. The seats are too firm and the ride is somewhat harsh. That's pretty bad gas mileage... my '93 2.sl0w golf would get 34mpg highway with me flooring it out of every toll booth and off ramp.

    4. Member GolfTango's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 11:11 AM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by mike02467 View Post
      My sister has a 2010 Mazda 3 and I think the interior is terribly laid out. The back seats are extremely cramped and the dash is just a plain mess.
      A mess?

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    5. Member One_Love's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 11:23 AM #5
      he is talking about the 3 interior...but regardless i disagree with it. i think the dash is awesome. Unlike the truck dashboard in the civics

    6. Member GolfTango's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 11:27 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by One_Love View Post
      he is talking about the 3 interior...but regardless i disagree with it. i think the dash is awesome. Unlike the truck dashboard in the civics
      So he's comparing a 3 to a 2 And the 3 looks great as well:

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    7. 06-19-2012 04:24 PM #7
      honestly I find 30.4 mpg to be fairly terrible for a car that size. I drove across country twice in my 2001 jetta VR6, also loaded up with stuff, and averaged 28mpg for the trip, and was going around 80 for much of it.

      Even loaded I would expect a newer car like that to average 35mpg on an all highway trip.

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      06-19-2012 05:55 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Jettavr666 View Post
      honestly I find 30.4 mpg to be fairly terrible for a car that size. I drove across country twice in my 2001 jetta VR6, also loaded up with stuff, and averaged 28mpg for the trip, and was going around 80 for much of it.

      Even loaded I would expect a newer car like that to average 35mpg on an all highway trip.
      Wow- you must have an extra special VR6.
      My brother's automatic VR6 Jetta drank premium gas at a surprising rate considering the small size of the car, but he also had a lead foot.

      And the real benefit of small economy cars with small engines is combined low cost of ownership.
      They are cheap to buy and drive (fuel, repairs, maintenance, insurance).
      The combine fuel economy is where such cars really shine- getting 30 mpg in daily driving versus the occasional steady speed interstate trip where a larger heavier car with a larger engine can lug down the road at a low rpm. At a steady speed, extra weight is not really a big deal. And the total aerodynamics of larger longer vehicles is usually better than the stubby upright economy cars.
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    9. 06-19-2012 06:04 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      Wow- you must have an extra special VR6.
      My brother's automatic VR6 Jetta drank premium gas at a surprising rate considering the small size of the car, but he also had a lead foot.
      Nah, I got less than that sometimes, and in the city it was pretty bad, but highway was usually okay. Also when i had 17" wheels on i got about 1.5mpg less on the highway, ironically despite what VW said, the sweet spot was constant speed with the 16" wheels, and 87 octane gas. In the city 87 would be worse for economy but on the highway, it was better as long as I wasnt ragging on it. Also the VR6's with the 4spd auto are known to get much worse MPG.

    10. Member Assle's Avatar
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      06-19-2012 08:46 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by VWestlife
      ...and other choices in the 185/55R-15 size are few and far between.
      Same problem with my SIL's Mazda3. 205/50-17 is an oddball size with only a few options.

      Quote Originally Posted by jimbogxp
      5000 miles in a Mazda 2.

      Were you being punished or did you just lose a bet?
      I prefer larger cars but it didn't feel like a punishment at all to drive this thing for ~5,200 miles. I wanted to get either a Mazda2/Fiesta or Scion iQ for the roadtrip because I wanted to see how either one would be for a daily and have learned my lesson that small cars are just not for me. Having spent the time with the Mazda2, I am very glad we didn't get the iQ after all because the space was rather limited for all of our stuff. That's not to say it didn't all fit, but I carry fairly large items on a regular basis so a compact like this isn't for me.

      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic
      A Mazda 2 would be more fun tooling around touring spots and in urban or even rural areas.
      Parking it was easy for sure, but I would gladly sacrifice ease of parking in exchange for more room and less engine hum when ascending hills.

      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic
      But out on the interstate? I would rather have a /good/ larger car because it would be more comfortable and stable at high speed.
      Seats were plenty comfortable and stability was good considering the size of the car. My mom's visibly-longer Corolla sways a whole lot more when cars (and especially semis) pass by.
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      05-16-2012 12:53 PM #11
      It's unfortunate the mileage is so low for mostly freeway driving. My Subaru (with huge AWD drag) from 1999 will beat that in all highway driving.

    12. 05-16-2012 01:19 PM #12
      I think sirius is a dealer installed option. Did your car have a "SAT" button that didn't operate anything?
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    13. Member Assle's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 01:25 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by NightTrain EX View Post
      I think sirius is a dealer installed option. Did your car have a "SAT" button that didn't operate anything?
      No "SAT" button but there were 3 faux button covers on the panel to the left of the steering wheel where the "DSC" button was. IIRC, Car & Driver griped about the lack of satellite radio on the long term test car. Theirs was a 2011 so maybe that changed for 2012.
      "Sometimes wrong is worth the funny." - Billy Gardell

    14. 05-16-2012 01:26 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Assle View Post
      No "SAT" button but there were 3 faux button covers on the panel to the left of the steering wheel where the "DSC" button was. IIRC, Car & Driver griped about the lack of satellite radio on the long term test car. Theirs was a 2011 so maybe that changed for 2012.
      My 2011 3 had the button but the receiver needed to be installed at dealership. I have those 3 button covers as well near the DSC off button...don't know what they were for
      Quote Originally Posted by pops View Post
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      05-16-2012 01:24 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike VR6 View Post
      It's unfortunate the mileage is so low for mostly freeway driving. My Subaru (with huge AWD drag) from 1999 will beat that in all highway driving.
      This is my thought.

      My 2011 Fusion can get 35 on the highway cruising - and it's a much bigger car. I would expect close to 40 highway out of a 2.

      Aside from the poor mileage, seems like they are still neat little cars.
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    16. Member Assle's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 01:28 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by cryption View Post
      This is my thought.

      My 2011 Fusion can get 35 on the highway cruising - and it's a much bigger car. I would expect close to 40 highway out of a 2.

      Aside from the poor mileage, seems like they are still neat little cars.
      I'm gonna blame the gearing and the strange behavior by the cruise control coupled with the tiny displacement. Almost every uphill was a SCREAM AT 5,000RPM (!!!) situation. Bigger displacement comes in handy for hill ascent.
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    17. Member cryption's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 01:29 PM #17
      I reckon you're right on.

      Do you have any idea what it would get 70mph flat terrain? The biggest hill I have here is a freeway overpass anyway.
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    18. Member Assle's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 01:35 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by cryption View Post
      I reckon you're right on.

      Do you have any idea what it would get 70mph flat terrain? The biggest hill I have here is a freeway overpass anyway.
      From watching the instant consumption meter on level ground at 70mph, the reading was in the 35mpg range.
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      05-16-2012 08:54 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by cryption View Post
      My 2011 Fusion can get 35 on the highway cruising - and it's a much bigger car. I would expect close to 40 highway out of a 2.

      Aside from the poor mileage, seems like they are still neat little cars.
      I have a manual 2 and am averaging 37 mpg over 10000 miles of mostly highway driving.

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      05-16-2012 09:01 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by proximal View Post
      I have a manual 2 and am averaging 37 mpg over 10000 miles of mostly highway driving.
      The automatics really kill the mileage on these little engines. My 5-speed Yaris gets 36-38 MPG in mixed driving (just have to coast up to lights and accelerate gently) and upper 30s/low 40s on the highway depending on speed. 85 MPH = 35 MPG
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      05-16-2012 10:12 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by adrew View Post
      The automatics really kill the mileage on these little engines. My 5-speed Yaris gets 36-38 MPG in mixed driving (just have to coast up to lights and accelerate gently) and upper 30s/low 40s on the highway depending on speed. 85 MPH = 35 MPG
      The 4 speed automatic can get low/mid 30s in mixed driving.

      http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.d...rue&details=on

      The OP's situation was a small car loaded with passengers and cargo.
      That is not the same as a car being driven by a single driver in an unloaded car in 30-60 mph traffic.
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      05-16-2012 10:13 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by proximal View Post
      I have a manual 2 and am averaging 37 mpg over 10000 miles of mostly highway driving.
      Your post does not count.
      We must keep bashing the Mazda2's fuel economy!

      Most Mazda2 user numbers easily beat the EPA estimates.
      Obviously the Mazda2 was not optimized for the EPA mpg tests.
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    23. 06-18-2012 11:53 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      Your post does not count.
      We must keep bashing the Mazda2's fuel economy!

      Most Mazda2 user numbers easily beat the EPA estimates.
      Obviously the Mazda2 was not optimized for the EPA mpg tests.
      With my 5-speed Mazda2 I'm averaging 34.4 MPG over 26,000 miles in mostly suburban driving. I've gotten up to 38 MPG on highway trips, and never less than 31 MPG in mostly city driving.
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    24. 05-16-2012 01:25 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike VR6 View Post
      It's unfortunate the mileage is so low for mostly freeway driving. My Subaru (with huge AWD drag) from 1999 will beat that in all highway driving.
      I think the combination of the car being loaded + climbing mountains contributed to this effect. That engine was probably working pretty darn hard.
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    25. Member Egz's Avatar
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      05-16-2012 01:30 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by NightTrain EX View Post
      I think the combination of the car being loaded + climbing mountains contributed to this effect. That engine was probably working pretty darn hard.
      Sounds about right. I would personally like to see a 1.8 or 2.0 in this with a little more power.

    26. 05-16-2012 01:32 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by Egz View Post
      Sounds about right. I would personally like to see a 1.8 or 2.0 in this with a little more power.
      With the SkyActive 2.0 this thing would be a rocket in comparison...and get great mileage to boot
      Quote Originally Posted by pops View Post
      I'm naming my next child NightTrain EX.
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      05-16-2012 03:56 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike VR6 View Post
      It's unfortunate the mileage is so low for mostly freeway driving. My Subaru (with huge AWD drag) from 1999 will beat that in all highway driving.
      Loaded down with passengers and cargo through the mountains?

      And small cars are about getting great real world daily driving mpg.
      Who buys a small inexpensive car for long highway trips?
      Larger cars with bigger engines that allow better highway gearing tend to do much better on the highway than around town.
      Some larger cars double their real world urban mpg on the highway.
      Last edited by BRealistic; 05-16-2012 at 03:58 PM.
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      05-16-2012 10:27 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by BRealistic View Post
      Loaded down with passengers and cargo through the mountains?
      My 11 year old Jetta 1.8T gets a good consistent 32mpg on highway road trips through the Rockies, with 4 people and their luggage. However it does benefit from having a manual transmission, and I skip the cruise control. It is a little disappointing that the smaller Mazda 2 doesn't seem to have a significant mileage advantage over the larger and more comfortable 3.
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      05-16-2012 01:18 PM #29
      I hate it when TCLers come to LA (especially all the way from Blackacre) and don't say hello. It makes me angry .
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      05-16-2012 01:22 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by VadGTI View Post
      I hate it when TCLers come to LA (especially all the way from Blackacre) and don't say hello. It makes me angry .
      Damn!, totally spaced on that! I fear SuperHipsters and did not come bearing any flannel so would have been a lost cause. I'll be back in the fall or winter on a food truck feeding frenzy
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      06-19-2012 01:32 PM #31
      Nice write up and I agree for the most part, but 5000 miles - I dunno.

      Its a blast to drive around town and I ended up going from LA to Palm Springs to visit a friend. The engine will hit its limits pretty quickly but it is smooth and quiet. Handling was good as expected from Mazda and it being a small car. Not MINI calibre but you could wreak havoc in the city if you wanted to and no one would know what happened.

      Coming from Audi and VW's I was also pleasantly surprised by the interior. It felt airy, spacious and the instrument cluster and markings felt very functional and clean and I got the sense Mazda actually spent time on the interior of a smaller car. If this was badged as an A2 people would go nuts.

      I remember saying yes Mazda2 before the rental agent barely finished telling me what was available. He handed me the keys to a red one and we both kinda chuckled looking at it.
      Last edited by BetterByDesign; 06-19-2012 at 01:37 PM.
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      05-16-2012 01:25 PM #32
      I've been looking at a 2, but I would have to have the manual.
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    33. 06-18-2012 03:31 PM #33
      A few more notes from TCL's first ever Mazda2 owner (since September 2010):

      Quote Originally Posted by Assle View Post
      The Yokohama Avid S34F tires performed very well from the canyons of California to the snow/ice of Denver. Always good grip except for minor hydroplaning in New Mexico.
      The stock tires are overall very good (although noisy on coarse pavement), but don't expect them to last long -- mine will need replacement at around 30k miles. For a car as light as the Mazda2 (~2300 lbs.), that is rather disappointing, and other choices in the 185/55R-15 size are few and far between.

      There is no engine temp gauge, only one blue dummy light to let you know the engine has not warmed up to optimal temperature, and one red dummy light to let you know if the engine is too hot.
      Since virtually all modern cars have an "idiot gauge" that locks to exactly the center position across a wide range of operating temperatures (from barely warm to just below overheating), that is no big loss.

      Wider-than-expected turning radius. I tried to turn around 180 degrees at a gas station around the pump island and could not do it in one smooth move.
      It is no Mini or Smart car, but it can turn around on a city street in one shot, which is fine by me.

      Small 11.3 gallon gas tank made for stopping 2-3 times a day to get gas but at least it was cheap and quick to fill up.
      The digital fuel gauge reads a bit high -- even with the "E" blinking, you'll still have over 2 gallons left in the tank.

      No satellite radio. Not sure if it was just this car that didn't come with it or if the Mazda2 doesn't have it as an option at all.
      No sunroof. Again, not sure if at all available from Mazda.
      There is no factory satellite radio option (nor Bluetooth or USB or iPod dock or anything fancy like that). No sunroof option -- one salesman told me the roof wouldn't have enough structural rigidity with a sunroof, so that's why they don't offer it.

      You do have a button to turn the DSC off, which was nice, but there is no indicator to inform you if wheel slip was detected.
      There is a wheel slip light in the gauge cluster -- I've seen it flash while driving in the snow.
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    34. Banned Fritz27's Avatar
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      06-19-2012 07:05 AM #34
      That gas pump looks like it belongs at a place that offers a good old fashioned raping out back.

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