Mazda unveils its 2 in Geneva
By Blake Muntzinger
Remember the Mazda 323 – that petite fuel-sipping hatchback from the 1980s? Small, efficient, but plain, the 323 never made hearts flutter – except for maybe the GTX. One look at the Mazda2 three-door will erase all memories of that staid econo-hatch. Mazda assured this when the 2 was unveiled in Geneva with much fanfare, thanks to the music group, the Infidels.
Mazda is pulling a Saturn in the European market. With help from the 2 three-door, Mazda will have the youngest lineup ever, with the oldest model being only two years old. Consumer and press response to the brand is positive; with 1.36 million Mazdas sold in the 2007 fiscal year, it generated over one billion euros in profit. Also, Mazda2 has over 20 awards to its name, including Car of the Year in New Zealand and many countries across Europe, including Belgium, Croatia, and Slovakia.
Its design coincides with Mazda’s current philosophy of “sustainable zoom-zoom”, which means vehicles are designed for environmental awareness but are also fun-to-drive. The Mazda2’s drag coefficient of 0.31 will lower fuel consumption and operation costs – an added benefit in a world where gasoline prices have not found its ceiling. The 2 weighs 100 kg (220 lbs) less than the previous generation, but safety is not compromised. Mazda2 earned a five-star rating in the CAP and Euro crash tests. Mazda2 is powered by the same powertrain as the five-door, available in three options: the 1.3 liter or 1.5 liter gasoline engine or the 1.4 liter turbo diesel.
The 2 would complete Mazda’s North American lineup with style. Its teardrop tail lamps and sculpted front fenders goes to show consumers do not have to sacrifice style for economy. While sharing a platform with Ford’s new Fiesta, Mazda and Ford could deliver a one-two punch in North America. Ford could sell the Fiesta sedan, while Mazda could 2 three and five-door hatches. I will take mine in red, please.
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