Itty-bitty, bite-size zoom

Sometimes smaller really is better — no, really, it is. Especially when it comes to cars. Now, I’m not about to condone the smart car (because, really, when I swung my purse into the back seat and it promptly bounced off the rear window and came back to smack me in the face, I was not impressed), but cars like the Versa, Fiesta, Yaris, MINI and even the brand new Scion iQ have some serious advantages on the road when compared to the big-boy SUVs and even the sedans.

I first had the Mazda2 a few weeks ago, when winter first began. It was bright, fire-engine red, and I was quite excited to get behind the wheel. It rained for the entire week and I was unable to film the little guy. My first impressions of the car weren’t great. I’d had lofty expectations and was comparing it a great deal with the brand new Ford Fiesta (and for good reason, they are essentially built on the same platform). I was disappointedin the engine, the handling and the general interior look of the car. But this week has been different.

Because I was unable to film, I badgered Mazda about another test drive. My loyal press fleet coordinator said, but of course, and even asked me which colour and transmission I preferred. I promptly ordered a bright green, manual GS model — because, really, if he was going to ask for specifics…

Right off the bat, this car offers a bit of sunshine in my dull, cold, winter life. It’s not just the colour, it’s the car’s demeanour (and I haven’t quite lost it yet, oh faithful reader). It’s a bit like the MINI on the road — no matter what, you can’t really be angry driving it. Because it’s so little, and clearly sticks out like a sore thumb on the road (one because it’s the only clean car in the entire city right now and it’s bright, neon green), the Mazda2 is a joy to drive — sometimes.

I’ve noticed, and I will bring this up when we film tomorrow, that the car is uber uncomfortable in the lower gears. It isn’t happy until it reaches 3rd gear, even at slower speeds. First and second are choppy, twitchy and generally pretty annoying. Unless you ride the clutch or spend your time revving your engine to keep the revs up, the Mazda2 is quite jumpy in traffic. Maybe it’s the cold weather, but it annoyed the hell out of me, twitching along in traffic the other night.

Like a little bite-size Mazda3 (“concentrated zoom” is Mazda’s marketing term), the Mazda2 is set for greatness (in my opinion). Loyal Mazda buyers who have been looking for a cheap, small alternative to the 3 are lining up to purchase the funky little guy. But, when up against the Ford Fiesta, I think it might have a hard time.

After driving a few different incarnations of the Fiesta (top to bottom trim) I see the level of quality to be that much higher than Mazda. It’s not that the Mazda2 is a crappy car, not at all. It’s just that the quality of the interior design and amenities is different.

This has turned into a bit of a car review, which I guess is what I meant for it to be — but more than anything I wanted to prove that small cars truly are back (if they ever left) and the Mazda2 and Fiesta are prime examples of that. These two will be class leaders (and they’ll always be each other’s rivals), no doubt.

Drive on,
– M.

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~ by drivingmsmiranda on January 27, 2011.

One Response to “Itty-bitty, bite-size zoom”

  1. […] the Mazda2 really does have a twitchy gearbox, and yes it struggled horribly in the snow and it took the radio […]

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