Key to the Highway

Observations about cars and the auto industry

2009 L.A. Auto Show: Mazda 2

Mazda brings its popular subcompact, the Mazda 2, to the L.A. Auto Show ahead of a late 2010 launch in the U.S. as a 2011 model.

With Mazda saying very little until the formal announcement, we’re left to write about what the Mazda 2 is overseas.

Mazda has released this teaser photo of the Mazda 2, which goes on sale late next year.

Mazda has released this teaser photo of the Mazda 2, which goes on sale late next year.

Available as a three-door hatchback, four-door sedan and five-door hatch in other markets, Mazda hasn’t said which model will be sold in the U.S. but the sedan and five-door are possibilities. After all, the Mazda 3 is sold here in sedan and five-door models.

Engines available in overseas markets include a 1.3-, 1.5-liter gasoline, 1.4- and 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engines. The 1.4-liter turbo-diesel sold in England reportedly gets 68 mpg. It would be nice if it came here, but the 1.5-liter gasoline engine is the most likely mill for the U.S. Count on five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions being offered.

Safety equipment includes ABS electronic brake distribution and emergency brake assist, while stability control is optional. The Mazda 2 received the top safety rating in Europe.

Other features seen overseas are an auxiliary audio input jack, auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers. The latter two features rarely—if ever— show up in subcompact economy cars in the U.S., so it will be interesting to see if they’re offered. Pricing is yet to be announced.

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