• Oct 20th 2010 at 2:01PM
  • 41
2011 Mazda2 – Click above for high-res image gallery

We're big fans of the 2011 Mazda2, but of all the good things this little hatch has going for it, fuel economy isn't really one of them. Manual transmission models offer 29/35 miles per gallon city/highway, and while that isn't terrible by any means, it's sub-par when you consider the new standard for B- and C-segment cars: 40 mpg.

With the next-generation 2, Mazda plans to completely overhaul the powertrain, using its new SKYACTIV engine and transmission technology. The result is a Mazda2 that the automaker says will achieve 70 mpg without the help of an electric motor, making it the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car on the road.

The next Mazda2 will launch in Japan sometime in the first half of 2011 and will quickly make its way to other markets over the next few years. The 2 may be an all-new entry to the United States, but it's merely a mid-cycle refresh of the car that's been on sale overseas for years. We're certainly eager to see what the Japanese automaker has up its sleeve, and while 70 mpg is indeed a lofty goal, it isn't too far fetched these days.

Photos copyright ©2010 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      70mpg highway Mazda, seriously? Like how the RX-8 was supposed to be 260hp?
        • 4 Years Ago
        It does seem a bit optimistic that this new technology that is supposed to increase mileage by around 15% will raise it to 70. I'll be pleased if it can average better than 30 MPG in the city and 40 highway.

        What I'm really wondering is about the design. I suppose it's too early to hope for Mazda's new design language. That's not due for a couple of years, right?
      • 4 Years Ago
      This article just made me realize the beautiful result of the seemingly impossible CAFE increases by 2012-6-ish (im not sure the spec's). All the sudden, you have to be excited for the engineers!! I want to give a shot out to this increase demand to create and invent ingenious solutions in a seemingly FAST time period!! Kudos to the creative ENGINEERS out there! They are the stars for fast progression, when there is a demand. It seems the greater restrictions, the more interesting and smart things get, like larger growth rings on a tree, technology seems to gain much to meet greater goals.
      • 4 Years Ago
      70MPG?!? 50MPG is a bit more realistic. I'll believe it when I see it.

      On a side note, when will we get the brand new Mazda2 seeing as how we JUST now got it? I am hoping 2013...
        • 4 Years Ago
        I just hope that it works out. Mazda is one of my favorite car companies, and I'd really like to see them do well.

        Their current vehicles aren't that efficient at all. I think that they would become much more popular if they worked on their MPG figures.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Even 50 MPG is going to be optimistic.

        I honestly rather these guys be realistic with their numbers than throwing out these fantastical claims that will no way shape or form be attainable.

        Because way too many people simply look at AB's usually hyped headlines without reading the story, or even thinking, let's put these claims into perspective:

        a Honda Ruckus - one of those 200 lbs scooters - gets "only" about 100 MPG (and realistically it's less than that). So Mazda is claiming that they can nearly match the fuel economy of a tiny scooter with their next Mazda2. Yeah. Riiight.

        • 4 Years Ago
        they forgot to mention that was for coasting down the highway down hill in neutral rating
        • 4 Years Ago
        That sounds awesome!

        I wonder if this is using that new engine tech they've been talking about.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Heck even if 70mpg turns into upper 40s in reality it would still be darn good. Even anything over 40 mpg would be pretty good at the moment. (Though a low 40s number in a car this size might not look too impressive a few years from now)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sounds doable. And not that hard really. There are already production cars averaging over 50 mpg highway and 70 mpg highway eu without diesel or hybrid, and production diesels have been getting over 70 mpg us for over a decade. Sounds doable.
        • 4 Years Ago
        seriously. 70mpg isnt all that much a stretch? a 75% increase over the standard isnt a stretch, or double the Mazda2's current state?

        Tell your boss a 75% or 100% pay increase shouldnt be that much of a stretch.

        What's pitiful is that the Fiesta achieves more hp and better fuel economy off the same platform

        Back to the mazda sky; they think they will get 40mpg out of the Mazda 3 with the engine but all the way up to 70 in the Mazda 2? me thinks someone has been buying into the marketing fluff
      • 4 Years Ago
      I bet the phones are overloading right now with people canceling their volt preorder
        • 4 Years Ago
        I highly doubt it. 1. The 70 mpg claim is not true yet. 2. Who knows for sure when it will be here. 3. This car is tiny compared to the volt.
        • 4 Years Ago
        at least the 2 has seating for 5(but I'm sure it would be very uncomfortable for 5 adult Americans.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lets go back to the original article from Japan. It said the Mazda2 will equal the Honda fit and/or improve from 23 kilo per liter to 30 kilos per liter that the Mazda 2 gets now, a 30% increase.
      34 MPG highway for the existing Mazda2 plus 30% equals 44 mpg.

      15 percent in the 14/1 compression of engine
      10% increase in the new CVT design. nd it looks like another 5% in from the decrease in body wt.

      I also have an Insight CVT that routinely gets over 50 MPG.
      So yes Mazda should be able to do better than 44.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It can definitely be done.

      A totally stock 2000 Honda Insight had EPA numbers of 61/70. Those numbers were easily achieved in real world driving. It of course had electric motor assist, but the electric motor was inactive at cruising speed. That suggests that it could have gotten even better numbers if they'd left all the electrical stuff out and saved the weight. Of course without the electric motor, it would have been an extremely slow car. My guess is that's Mazda's strategy. They'll get to brag about the wowing fuel economy, but the car will be slow as a turd.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not even comparable to the first gen Insight. That was made entirely out of aluminum and weighed 1800lbs as a result. Good luck shaving 500lbs(!) off of the current Mazda2 to achieve that. Secondly, the Insight had the world's lowest production drag coefficient thanks to its aerodynamic body. And the world's lightest internal combustion engine paired to the electric motor. Despite all that, under the new system it's only rated 49/61. The Mazda2 to get 70mpg? Not on your life.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Perhaps I mis-read something, but I thought the article was about a totally new 2, not a rework of the current one. My comment was only that it's possible. My assumption was that Mazda wouldn't promise what they couldn't deliver. Despite the exceptions that us autobloggers love to point out, companies usually follow through on these things. They've usually demonstrated it long before they even let the marketers know about it.

        Other comments have indicated that this was a Japanese announcement and that the Japanese test cycle is significantly different. That pretty much makes any comparison to old or new EPA numbers useless anyway.

        For the record, the Insight did not have the world's lightest IC engine. It's quite far from it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If they make it lighter and improve on new ICE tech, 70MPG is doable.

      Never underestimate the ICE. It can do anything.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Never underestimate the ICE. It can do anything."

        It can do anything, it just doesn't want to, right? :)
        Even the EV/Hydrogen enthusiasts aren't even that optimistic about their drivetrains.. lol.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @cpillar -- what you say makes sense in principle, but today's small cars are significantly heavier than they were then (more safety and luxury equipment). They are also significantly faster than they were then (today's buyers will not accept the sluggish acceleration that is the flip side of the old Metro's impressive MPG numbers). Put those two together and it is very hard for any modern small car even to match the fuel economy you were getting.

      Seeing a 20% increase above your 58 mpg number WITH more weight and better performance is highly unlikely without a significant change in technology. With a diesel and electric motor, I'm sure it could be done. With just an improved gasoline engine in a car whose packaging resembles that of the current Mazda 2 -- almost impossible.

      But as several other posters have mentioned, the 70 mpg number almost surely reflects a result in a Japanese-market test procedure, not the real-world numbers that we would see in a US-spec version of the car. Note that the Sky G version of the Mazda 3 got a real-world highway economy of about 40 mpg on the highway. I'd guess that a smaller Sky G engine in the Mazda 2 could beat that by about 10%, so figure on an EPA highway number around 44 mpg. That's a very useful increase beyond the current car's numbers -- but nobody should take this story to mean that we will actually be seeing a 70 mpg gasoline Mazda anytime soon.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Imperial gallons?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Probably doesn't even use US miles, most likely some Canadian or Zimbabwean miles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is exactly what car manufacturers should be doing nowadays. This assuming it is inexpensive (which is a pretty safe bet). Would be far more practical than hybrids in the market, and if you consider those toxic batteries in hybrids, this would be far more environmentally friendly. And hopefully it can manage to be more fun to drive. Now I just hope they can achieve it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree, but......

        NiMH batteries are recyclable. And automakers are moving towards lithium batteries for hybrids, which involve less nasty chemicals to make, and are even easier to thoroughly recycle.

        Both of those battery types are less toxic than the big Lead Acid starter/buffer battery in your car. And the batteries in most hybrids aren't that big anyway.

        I'd like to see 70mpg cars too. But for that to happen, you need a revolutionary engine design, extremely low weight, extremely low power, or some combination of the 3.

        Maybe they're talking about 70mpg on the european cycle :P
      • 4 Years Ago
      70MPG on the Japanese Cycle is totally doable.
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