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While its outputs of 79kW and 139Nm may seem modest, the Red Rocket only weighs 1045kg, meaning there isn’t a lot of weight to shift.
Our tester is fitted with the optional six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, which commands a $2000 premium over the slick-shifting six-speed manual ($14,990 plus ORCs).
There’s plenty of punch off the line and on the move, with the Mazda 2 offering zippy performance around town. Getting up to freeway speeds is also done with ease, and the engine note isn’t too loud or thrashy compared to some equivalent cars from rival manufacturers.
Despite the fact Mazdas are constantly marked down for their NVH levels (noise, vibration, harshness), the Mazda 2 is generally refined and quiet in most situations. You’ll find that rougher sections of country highway will transmit noticeable tyre roar into the cabin, but then again it’s a $17K light car, not a luxury sedan.