Driven: 2014 Mazda2 Touring Review
By James Hamel
When it comes to new cars, it’s easy to get all caught up in the latest technological features out there, like push-button starting, 4-zone climate control, transmissions with 8-gears and on-board computers that can parallel park for you. Or you can do something completely out of sync with the times and simplify your life with a car like the deliciously different 2014 Mazda2.
It doesn’t need back-up cameras or blind-spot warning systems because it is small and easy to see out of from every direction. Do be warned that you still have to turn actual round shaped dials to activate the standard air conditioning system but they are so simple you may start to wonder why other cars make it all so complicated. In fact it is this sense of minimalism that made us fall in love with the little Mazda2 years ago and is also what will no doubt make us love the upcoming 2015 Mazda2 which appears to have kept the simplicity in design ethos that makes this subcompact such a wonder.
Other than that, this top of the line 2014 Mazda2 Touring model tested here stickered fully loaded around $16,000 yet never left us wanting for a single thing barring integrated Bluetooth which conveniently is just a $295 option. Actually one of the very few. Included as standard on all 2014 Mazda2 Touring models are power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, handy steering wheel mounted audio controls, 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a tiny rear spoiler over the hatch, cruise control, a nicely sized leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, foglights, floormats, halogen headlamps, highly durable seat fabric that was a snap to clean after our canine road tester Roxy rode in the back seat as well as an impressively crisp 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB-ipod/AUX audio system.
What’s It Like to Drive the 2014 Mazda2 Grand Touring for a Week?
First off, the 2014 Mazda2’s five-speed manual is one of the sweetest shifting and most user friendly stick shifts we have experienced in all our years of driving with only the current Mazda3 and Honda Civic Si giving it a run for its money. Nothing at this price comes close, not even the Honda Fit’s manual transmission. And even though the 2014 Mazda 2 only comes with a 1.5 liter 100 horsepower/98 lb. feet of torque 4-cylinder engine, the manual transmission always keeps the “Zoom-Zoom” pumping away with ample force all the way to its zingy redline. A 4-speed automatic is optional but even if you have never owned a car with a manual gearbox you will love the Mazda2 much more if you buy one so equipped.
Most economical hatchbacks have engines that get noisy and gutless the harder you push (talking to you Nissan Versa sedan) them but the 2014 Mazda2 eggs you on like some sort of fuel sipping automotive hooligan. EPA fuel economy estimates are 29 city/35 highway and during a week where we rarely upshifted once below redline somehow this little car averaged 36 miles per gallon. We can count on one hand how often new cars average fuel economy numbers than the EPA highway figure and one of those is the Mazda3. Sensing a pattern?
Part of the 2014 Mazda2’s seemingly effortless efficiency is also down to its light weight, which seems to be something only Mazda sees as a logical and important path to good fuel economy in the real world. Now, the 2014 Mazda2 can fit four adults in reasonable comfort but its interior is smaller than the Honda Fit but no worse than a Yaris or Versa when it comes to passenger room. Also, the Mazda2 loves to tenaciously grip the road even during aggressive cornering which is something no Toyota Yaris will ever do.
Cargo volume behind the second row of seats is 13.3 cubic feet but that grows to 27.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat. That’s plenty of space for most people’s everyday needs and could probably also handle the dreaded quarterly visit to Costco or Sam’s Club. You know, as long as no one rides in the back seat. So get off your lazy behind and buy yourself a 2014 Mazda2 Touring. Your wallet, heart, soul, spirit and once vivid love of driving will thank you for it. Or wait for the 2015. We have a feeling that one will be awesome too. Look out Honda Fit, the Mazda2 is gunning for number one yet again. We smell a comparison test coming on. Stay tuned.
Why This Ride?
– The rev happy and economical 1.5 liter 4-cylinder engine
– Minimalist, high quality interior
– Heavenly manual transmission
– You can’t beat the price for the features you get
– Ok, it’s cute