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The 3-door hatchback edition of the Mazda2 is available in Europe.

Mazda

Hey, guys:

I have been waiting for the sporty Mazda2 since 2008 - the three-door hatchback, not the five-door. There is no information on whether this little hottie is coming to Canada or not in 2011.

I don't understand why Mazda wouldn't jump at bringing this jewel here. Not everyone has 16 kids and an armload of hockey gear to transport. Some of us think a five-door is an ugly "mommy" car.

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The Mazda2 three-door hatchback is very stylish. It's a compliment to compacts.

How long is a girl supposed to wait before being swept off her feet? If you have any further information, do share.

Kelly

Vaughan: You may have to wait forever, Kelly. Unrequited love for you, girl. The Mazda people here in North America don't see a market for the three-door Mazda2.

Cato: You just finished beating up Ruben Archilla on this very point - Archilla being the R&D manager for Mazda North America. Remember? At the preview drive of the Mazda2 last week?

First thing you did was grab poor, ol' Ruben and start lecturing him: "Bring the three-door; that's the looker," you ranted. Never gave the guy a chance to answer, either. You just went on and on and on about how you'd never buy the five-door.

Vaughan: No, no, no, Cato. You are exaggerating.

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Cato: No, I'm not. "Three-door, three-door, three-door." That's all you had for Ruben.

Vaughan: You've completely lost the plot, Cato. That aside, Kelly is absolutely right. These Mazda people showed us a bunch of slides depicting the design development of the 2. No question the Mazda2 has always looked best as a three-door - right from the very moment designers in Germany and Japan put pen to paper.

Cato: Car designers don't use paper any longer. They draw with computer-aided tools. You, whose sole source of entertainment at home is a battery-operated transistor radio, need to get current.

Vaughan: Cato, we need to focus on Kelly - the insights we can give here.

Cato: Agreed. Kelly, here's the most important number: $13,995. That's the starting price of a decently equipped GX version of the 2011 Mazda2 - with five-speed manual transmission.

You may have a crush on the three-door, Kelly, but don't be as thick-headed as Vaughan. The five-door really does make more sense. Vaughan and I even managed to squeeze ourselves into the back seats.

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Vaughan: The three-door is far better-looking, Kelly, but Cato does have a point. The extra doors may not help the design one bit, but they do make the Mazda2 a more versatile car.

Cato: Versatile, sure, but not very big inside - at least the back seat. My head was rubbing against the headliner and my knees were right up against the front seat.

So there is no chance of stuffing 16 kids and an armload of hockey gear into a 2. None. More like three kids and a driver, one hockey bag in the boot. If the other two play, you'll need to put a Thule box on the roof for their bags.

Vaughan: At least Mazda Canada managed to convince headquarters in Japan to include built-in roof rack hardware.

Cato: Right. The 2011 Mazda2 going on sale in Canada in just days is slightly different than the version Mazda has been building in Japan and shipping around the world since May, 2007.

Vaughan: We're told the Japanese were baffled by this idea of putting a roof rack atop the 2. They see this one as strictly a city commuter, but in Canada it needs to be much more versatile.

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Cato: Okay, Kelly, some high points - and I really do urge you at least to give this version a chance to win your heart. The 2 is light - 1,046 kg - has a 100-horsepower four-banger that gets excellent fuel economy and the body structure is really solid.

Vaughan: I think the design is a bit busy, a little over-wrought. There is too much going on there.

Cato: I know. It would be better with three doors. We get it!

Kelly, the big story Mazda wants to get across is that the Mazda2 hatchback - yes, with five doors - is a better value than the Ford Fiesta. which is also about to go on sale.

The Mazda has something like a $2,500 price advantage over the Ford Fiesta. That's the word from Don Romano, the big boss at Mazda Canada. And he says Mazda is putting in place a leasing program that will get the monthly payment below the magic $200, plus tax.

Vaughan: Cato brings up the Fiesta, Kelly. There's a reason for this. You need to test that car, too. The Fiesta and Mazda2 share the same platform, though the looks are different and Mazda's Archilla and his developers tuned the ride, handling and steering in their own way - not the Ford way.

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Cato: Different equipment packages, too.

Kelly, there are some other grocery-getters that go head-to-head with these two: Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Fit to name four. Because you want to be swept away by a three-door, have a look at the Yaris first. The Elantra comes in a three-door, too.

Vaughan: Under $10,000 and dirt cheap. But I do like the idea of a $200 monthly payment on a Mazda2 - whoo-hoo!





2011 Mazda2 GX

5-door hatchback

2011 Ford Fiesta SE 5-door hatchback

2010 Toyota Yaris 3-door hatchback

Wheelbase (mm)

2,489

2,489

2,460

Length (mm)

3,950

4,067

3,825

Width (mm)

1,694

1,722

1,695

Height (mm)

1,476

1,473

1,525

Engine

1.5-litre, inline-four

1.6-litre, inline-four

1.5-litre, inline-four

Output (hp) (torque)

100 hp / 98 lb-ft

120 hp / 112 lb-ft

100 hp / 103 lb-ft

Drive system

Front-wheel

Front-wheel

Front-wheel

Transmission

Five-speed manual

Five-speed manual

Five-speed manual

Curb weight (kg)

1,046

1,151

1,403

Fuel economy

(litres/100 km)

6.8 city

5.6 highway

6.8 city

5.1 highway

6.9 city

5.4 highway

Base price (MSRP)

$13,995

$16,799

$13,905

SOURCE: CAR MANUFACTURERS

Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan are co-hosts of Car/Business, which appears Fridays at 8 p.m. on Business News Network and Saturdays at 2 p.m. on CTV.

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