General Motors Board Decides To Keep European Opel Unit

Last Month General Motors Co. decided to sale their European Opel unit to Canadian auto parts maker Magna International. This month however, General Motors Co. has decided to keep Opel themselves.

This decision was made Tuesday after a long meeting in Detroit; the CEO of General Motors Fritz Henderson reported that General Motors will present its reconstructing plan forOpel to the German government soon. Magna's co-CEO Siegfried Wolf reported that Magna would continue to support both General Motors and Opel through-out the future.

General Motors has had a very tough time through-out this recession. They lost more than $8 billion through-out the past 4 years and have received $50 billion forgovernment aid. They announced the selling Opel in hope that their profit would go up in both Latin America and Asia.

At 54,000 workers and sells in cars such as Vauxhall, Opel, Cadillac and Chevrolet General Motors has the fourth highest auto sales in Europe coming in after VW Group, PSA Group and Ford Motor CO. European sales dropped 6.6 percent through the month of December and sales of Vauxhall and Opel cars have dropped even further coming in at 11.4 percent.

While General Motors had to file for bankruptcy earlier this year, Opel was kept out of the filing. Sixty-five percent of Opel was under the care of a trust while the other 35 percent was withheld by General Motors.

General Motors was not the only company having many problems during this recession. Several auto industries went into bankruptcy and were kept open due togovernment aid. Numerous companies ended up selling out some of their money making cars while others had to discontinue some famous cars. Now auto industries are beginning to pick up but they are still not doing so hot because American's just do not have the money to buy cars.

During this summer, the "Cash for Clunkers" program was a huge success among auto industries. American's were able to use their rebates so they could trade in their old gas chugging cars for a new fuel efficient one. All the while this program was great for business, when the program ended so did the business.

Unemployment rates keep rising which means more people are becoming jobless and less able to afford their mortgage let alone a new car. It is like a domino effect and it all starts with unemployment, once unemployment is figured out and American's stop losing their jobs and others find jobs, the economy will strengthen thus getting us far way for the outskirts of a recession.

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Moto Gp Grid Girl Show and The historical motogp

Grand Prix motor refers to the top class of motorcycle racing, currently divided into three classes of machine different: 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP (over 990cc). Motors used in MotoGP is made specifically for motor racing, and not sold to the public (street version of the motor for 125 and 250cc classes available). This contrasts with the various production categories of racing, such as World Superbike, that feature modified versions of motorcycles available for general.

Road Racing World Championship was first organized by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) in 1949. At that traditionally have been held several races at each event for different classes of motors, based on engine capacity, and classes for sidecars (Motor bersespan). Existing classes when it is 50cc, 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, and 500cc for single-seater racing motorcycles, and 350cc and 500cc sidecars for motorcycles. Entering the 1950s and throughout the 1960s, motorcycle engines, four did not dominate the entire class. In the late 1960s, the motor engined two did not begin to master the small classes. In the 1970s, motorcycle engines, two did not really get rid of 4 stroke engines. In 1979, Honda tried to restore the engine 4 stroke the top class by lowering the motor NR500, but this project failed, and in 1983 Honda even winning with a 500cc bike not his second. In 1983, 350cc class finally abolished. 50cc class was replaced by the year 1984 80cC class, but class often dominated by the Spaniard and the Italian was finally abolished in 1990.

Class sidecars are also excluded from the world championships in the 1990s, leaving the 125cc, 250cc, and 500cc classes.

GP 500, the premier class of Grand Prix motor racing, has changed dramatically in recent years 2002. From the mid-1970s until 2001 the top class of GP racing limited four-cylinder and engine capacity of 500cc, both types of engines 4 stroke or 2 stroke. As a result, which can survive engine is 2-strokes, produces power and greater acceleration. In 2002 for the first time, manufacturers are allowed to enlarge the total capacity of a special machine for 4 stroke engine to a maximum of 990cc, and gave freedom to choose the number of cylinders used between three to six with a certain weight limit. With the motor bolehkannya 4 990cc no, the 500 GP class renamed to MotoGP. After the year 2003 does not exist anymore two machines that do not fall in the MotoGP class. For 125cc and 250cc classes in particular still using two machines do not.

Race for the MotoGP class is currently held as many as 17 series in 15 different countries (Spain held the third race weekend). Used in the title race every weekend with several stages.

Friday free practice at the title and the first official practice, and then carried out practice Saturday both official and QTT, where the drivers trying to make the best time to record determine their starting position. Own race was held on Sunday, although there was a series of Saturday is held in the Netherlands and Qatar. Grid (row starting position) consists of three drivers per line and usually every racing series was followed by about 20 drivers. Racing held for about 45 minutes and the driver raced along the specified number of rounds, without entry to the pit change tires or refuel.

Fuel Efficiency In The 2010 Ford Ranger

This year Ford has built their 2010 pickup trucks with flexibility, versatility and value and that includes excellent fuel economy, especially with the Ford Ranger. The fuel efficiency in the 2010 Ford Ranger is not only better than ever, but it also gives you options. As a Small light weight in the pick updepartment, customers can choose between the ''?compact pick-up truck''? sized efficient I-4 engine for maximum fuel efficiency or the larger and more powerful V-6 engine for maximum payload capacity.

The Ranger's EPA-estimated fuel economy rating for the rear wheel drive 5-speed manual transmission is 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway for the 2.3 liter, 143 horsepower I-4 engine available for the XL and XLT models. The automatic transmission performance delivers 19 mpg inthe city and 24 mpg on the highway. Now that is something that the consumer can get excited about.

The 4.0 liter, 207 horsepower V6 engine with rear wheel drive and 5-speed manual transmission available on the XLT and standard on the Sport models has an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 16 mpg inthe city and 21 mpg on the highway while boasting a large towing capacity of 5,760 pounds. The estimated ratings for this engine with an automatic transmission and four wheel drive are 14 mpg inthe city and 18 mpg on the highway.

All in all, the 2010 Ford Ranger power performance demonstrates competitive horsepower numbers that could be higher when compared to other manufacturers' models, but offers an excellent fuel economy in comparison to competitors, especially for the models utilizing the 2.3 liter I-4 engine.

Racing History Of Motogp

 Road Racing World Championship was first organized by the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) in 1949. At the time it has traditionally been on hold several races at each event for different classes of motors, based on engine capacity, and classes for sidecars (motorcycles bersespan). Existing classes when it is 50cc, 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, and 500cc single-seater racing for motorcycles, and 350cc and 500cc sidecars for motorcycles. Entering the 1950s and throughout the 1960s, motorcycle engines, four did not dominate the entire class. In the late 1960s, the motorcycle-engined two did not begin to master the small classes. In the 1970s, motorcycle engines, two did not really get rid of 4 stroke engines. In 1979, Honda tried to restore the engine 4 stroke by lowering the top class of motor NR500, but this project failed, and in 1983, even Honda was winning with his motorcycle 500cc 2 stroke. In 1983, finally abolished 350cc class. 50cc class was replaced by 80cC class in 1984, but classes are often dominated by a rider from Spain and Italy was finally abolished in 1990. Class sidecars are also excluded from the world championships in the 1990s, leaving the 125cc, 250cc, and 500cc classes.

GP 500, the premier class of Grand Prix motor racing, has changed dramatically in 2002. From the mid-1970s until 2001 the top class of GP racing and limited four-cylinder 500cc engine capacity, both types of engines 4 stroke or 2 stroke. As a result, are able to survive is the engine two-strokes, produces power and greater acceleration. In the year 2002 until 2006 for the first time, manufacturers are allowed to enlarge the total capacity of a special machine to machine can not be a maximum of four 990cc, and 800cc in the season turned into 2007.pabrikan also given the freedom to choose the number of cylinders used between three to six with a weight limit particular. With the motor bolehkannya cc 4 stroke was large, the 500 GP class renamed to MotoGP. After the year 2003 there was no second machine that did not go down in the MotoGP class. For 125cc and 250cc classes in particular are still not using two machines.

Race for the MotoGP class is currently held as many as 17 series in 15 different countries (Spain held the third race weekend). Used in the title race every weekend with several stages. Friday free practice at the title and the first official practice, later on Saturday performed the second official practice and QTT, where the drivers trying to make the record the best time to determine their starting position. Own race was held on Sunday, although there was a series that was held Saturday is in the Netherlands and Qatar. Grid (row starting position) consists of three drivers per line and usually every racing series, followed by about 20 drivers. Racing held for about 45 minutes and drivers throughout the race specified number of rounds, without admission pit to change tires or refuel. Racing will be repeated in case of a fatal accident in the early races. The composition of the grid is not changed according to qualifying results. The drivers may enter the pit, if only to replace the motor because of rain during the race.

MotoGP Racing success is inseparable from the organizations involved within a few organizations who are members of the commission, among others FIM Grand Prix, Drona, IRTA and MSMA.

FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme), is the highest body in the world who care about motorcycles. FIM was established in 1904 was not only taking care of motor racing, but also became superintendent of production motorcycles are sold en masse, particularly about the safety and feasibility. In the ordinary motor racing, FIM is the agency in charge of and responsible about the regulatory and technical implementation of the race, also on the status, extent, and the criteria of a motor racing championship.

Drona is the organization administering the MotoGP race, or in other words, Drona is the promoter of the MotoGP championship. Drona is responsible for the quality of care events and also sponsors the event.

IRTA (International Road Racing Team Association), members of this organization consists of teams who follow the MotoGP race. This organization serves to channel the aspirations of the team and the drivers involved. With this organization the drivers can provide input and determine the rights and interests, including the contract value, safety and feasibility of the circuit.

MSMA (Motorcycle Sport Manufacturer Association), an organization composed in MotoGP from the manufacturer, motor manufacturers who follow the MotoGP championship, such as Honda, Yamaha, Ducati, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and other manufacturers. The function of this organization, among others, to decide the technical regulations on the regulation of the motor along with other organizations involved in the commission Grand Prix.


Each of the regulations concerning each class is formed by the FIM race as an organization that authorities do it. FIM forming and issuing new regulations that are considered in accordance with the development race. At the beginning of the new MotoGP era in 2002, not 500cc motorcycle-engined 2 and 4 can not be allowed to be used in the 990cc race. Ultimate power from the motor-engine 4 stroke motorcycle engine that outperformed the two did not get rid of the whole machinery of the two no competition, and the next racing season there is no second motor was used.

In the year 2007, FIM will impose new regulations that the MotoGP bikes will be limited to 800cc 4 stroke. Reasons suggested the reduction of engine cylinder capacity is to increase the security of drivers, given the energy and peak velocity generated MotoGP machines has increased dramatically since 2002. MotoGP current speed record is 347.4 km / h printed by Loris Capirossi on a Ducati motorcycle circuit with Catalunya, Barcelona in 2004. As a comparison, the current F1 speed record is 369.9 km / h printed by Antonio Pizonia with BMW cars, the Monza circuit in 2004.

The decision to restrict the choice of engine capacity to 800cc (than with other methods of power restrictions, such as reducing the number of gear transmission is allowed) by the observers Honda MotoGP is very profitable. Honda uses a five-cylinder engine, and only need to reduce one cylinder to fix their machines to suit the new regulations, while other manufacturers have to redesign all of their machines. Restricted to 800cc also led to controversy that seems to present the motor used in the Superbike championship to be the fastest in the 1000cc motor racing circuits around the world.

Machines used in the 125cc class is limited as much as a single cylinder and with a minimum weight of 80 kilograms, while the 250cc class is limited to two silnder with minimum weight 100 pounds.

Motors for the MotoGP class is allowed to use the machine with the number of cylinders between three to six cylinders, and there are variations in the weight restrictions depending on the number of cylinders used. This is due to an engine with more cylinders, power output is also greater, and weight limits are increased. In 2006, the machines used in MotoGP is a four-and five-cylinder engine. Honda uses a five-cylinder, while the Yamaha, Ducati, Kawasaki, and Suzuki used four cylinder.

Motors are used in motor Grandprix made not only for racing only, but also as a venue for power struggles among manufacturers and technological advances. As a result all the MotoGP machines made by using very expensive materials and light such as titanium, and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. Motors are also using technology that is not available for public consumption, for example, is a sophisticated electronic devices including telemetry, engine management systems, traction control, carbon disc brakes, and modern engine technology adopted from the F1 car engine technology.

If the motors used in the MotoGP class only raced at world championship level, motors used in the 125cc and 250cc classes are relatively more affordable. The price of a more or less the same 125cc motorcycle with a car. These motors are often used in a national motor racing championships around the world.

One of several key challenges faced by drivers and engineers MotoGP MotoGP bike is how to channel the incredible power of the engine - more than 240 dk (179 kW), through the contact points of two tires and the asphalt surface with a circuit width is only about the human arm. As a comparison, F1 cars generate more than 950 dk (700 kW) but with four tires, so have the point of contact with the asphalt surface ten times wider than the MotoGP bike.

Engine Specifications

# Configuration: 4-cylinder v (Grade GP), 2-cylinder (class 250 cc and 125 cc).
# Capacity: 800 cc (Grade GP), 250 cc (250 cc class), 125 cc (125 cc class).
# Valve: 16-valve (GP), 8-valve (250 cc, 125 cc).
Job # valve: DOHC, four-valves per cylinder (GP), two-valves per cylinder (250 cc, 125 cc).
# Fuel: Without lead (no fuel control), 100 octane.
# Supply of fuel: fuel injection.
# Aspiration: Aspiration of normal.
# Strength: Kira - about 250 or 225 dk.
# Lubrication: Wet.
# Maximum / minimum engine speed: 17500-18000 rotations per minute.
# Cooling: Single water pump.

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History Of Ducaty Company

Well definitely surprised? Just read the Origins if this Ducati. Which Ducati Superbike ruled in the arena and the Almost undermined the dominance of Japanese manufacturers in MoptoGP, it Used to Be a manufacturer of electronics. Ducati is a Family Owned company supplying a radio transmitter. More precisely, it's 1926 in Bologna, Italy.
But the long struggle was destroyed by the Cruelty of the Second World War in 1944. Two years later Pls Milan Fair, Ducati Brother (the founder) tried to move on to another product. One of the associates, ie Cucciolo's introduces miniature engines for Motorcycles.

In 1952 the Ducati family other saw opportunities in the automotive industry. Just Rush to design a capacity Of 175 cc Cruiser Motorcycles with automatic transmissions.

The success brought Cruiser 175 cc engine to the market opening new opportunities for product delivery. A year later Ducati dared to make a motor with a capacity of 1998 cc of fuel-efficient and power. And that was the Forerunner to the development of motor capacity of 125 cc engine.

Later in the year 1954 an engineer named Fabio Taglioni join and bring the latest construction machinery. He Called it Taglioni design. It is said that this was the Forerunner to the construction of The Desmo Which have large energy.

Now, two years after his dream exhaled, really Taglioni realize by creating four-stroke race Tourist Tourist kitchen gravity bobot 174 and 174 special. Even directly made any type of sports. Add splashy, kitchen runway is capable of penetrating 135km / h. That figures are plotted as the fastest bike in its time,

In fact, in 1958 donated Taglioni desmodromic system for Triumph. Development began in 1955.
But the funny thing is, even the Ducati racing debut with a two-stroke engines with a capacity of 250 cc in 1960. Mike Hailwood at That Time Can be allocated to develop a racing engine manifold two-step, and repeatedly to reach the podium. After that, even leave the arena Racing Ducati.

Original manufacturer's new 1972 Bologna, Italy Fell back on the rink four-stroke class. On 23 April 1972, Taglioni desmodromic spawned a new weapon 750 cc twin cylinder.

Finally, Claudio and Gianfranco Castiglioni take over a part of the Cagiva Group. Until now Involved in two motorcycle racing arena. Namely Superbike and MotoGP.

Folding car like carpet

William Lark, inventor Hiriko Citycar, posing beside the car electric vehicle creations during a presentation in Berlin, Germany, last Thursday (27 / 5). Cars by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is now being produced in the province of �lava and the Basque country, Spain.

Car for two people was deliberately developed to a dense urban environment. Because, Hiriko can be folded. So, the owner or user does not have to bother to find a place to park.

The plan, folding car will be produced in 2012. Before the sold and marketed to the public, the car will be tested once in five big cities in world. That is indeed the right solutions.

History Of Train Locomotive

The train is the transportation of vehicles with the power of motion, either walking alone or bundled with other vehicles, which will be or are moving on rails. The train is a means of mass transportation that generally consists of a locomotive (vehicle with a power walk on his own motion) and a series of cart or carriage (coupled with other vehicles). Circuit train or car is relatively broad size so it can accommodate a passenger or goods on a large scale. Because of its nature as an effective mass transport, some countries try to use as a maximum as the main mode of transportation both inland transportation within the city, intercity, and interstate.


The same history as the history of railway transportation is generally beginning with the discovery of the wheel. Originally known as horse-drawn carriage which consists of only one train (circuit), then made the carriage which attracts more than one circuit and running at a certain point which is made of iron (rails) and is called gauge. This is used especially in mining areas where there are lorries which is bundled and drawn by horse power.

When James Watt discovered the steam engine, Nicolas Cugnot making three-wheeled vehicles fueled steam. People refer to the vehicle as an iron horse. Then Richard Trevithick made locomotive engine coupled with the carriage and use it on the show in front of the public. George Stephenson, who won the race to improve racing locomotive locomotive and used in Liverpool-Manchester line. At that time steam locomotive that used constructed grasshopper. Completion for the improvements made to obtain a more effective steam locomotive, a big powerful, and able to train more attractive.

The discovery of electricity by Michael Faraday made several discoveries that followed the discovery of electric equipment electric motors. Electric motor is then used to create a trolley which is the origin of electric railways. Then Rudolf Diesel diesel trains create a more powerful and more efficient than steam locomotives. Along with the development of electric and magnetic technology is more advanced, made magnetic trains that have speeds above the normal train speeds. Japan in the 1960s Super Express Train operates Shinkanzen with the Tokyo-Osaka route that eventually developed that covers all of Japan. Then the French operate trains with names similar to the TGV.

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Kicherer foil-wraps Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, gives it 620 HP

Kicherer SLS AMG Black Edition

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is an attractive and classy high-performance aspirational vehicle. Naturally, the tuner parade will seek to make improvements, regardless of necessity. In lieu of a works AMG Black Series, Kicherer has elected to create its own "Black Edition."

The neo-Gullwing is wrapped in matte black foil and gets blacked-out badging and grillework, a lip spoiler, and tweaked rear bumper details. Oh, and let's not forget the black wheels that look as if they came off the rack at your local tire store. Awful. Still, we're sure the valets at the Mall of the Emirates will be ecstatic.

Under the skin, Kircherer re-flashes the Benz's ECU, then adds a new exhaust system and adjustable suspension. Power output is supposedly elevated to a brawny 620 horses. We'll take that extra muscle and leave the tediously predictable appearance mods to others. Kicherer's website doesn't have any pricing info posted yet (as if you care, anyway). It does have techno music, though. Fist pumps all around.

[Source: WCF via Carscoop]

Lamborghini builds 10,000th Gallardo

10,000 Lamborghini Gallardo

Italophiles, take note: Lamborghini has announced it's built the 10,000th Gallardo. Naturally, the supercar manufacturer is pleased with this performance, pointing out that the now ubiquitous Gallardo is officially the most successful model Lamborghini has ever created. Says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.:

The Lamborghini brand is extreme, uncompromising and Italian, and the Lamborghini Gallardo has played an exemplary role in defining and delivering our brand reputation into our worldwide markets. Today Lamborghini is represented in 45 countries by over 120 dealers, with the strength and presence of the Gallardo product playing a significant role in the growth and recognition of our brand.

We feel obligated to point out that such success in the marketplace is something of a double-edged sword for Lamborghini. One reason exotic machines from manufacturers like Lamborghini have been so revered in the past is due to their rarity and exclusivity. One the flip side, small-scale automakers simply cannot continue to compete on a global scale without runaway success stories like the Gallardo.

That said, feel free to click on past the break as Lamborghini recounts the history of its Gallardo and to find out where lucky number 10,000 is headed.

[Source: Lamborghini]

Lexus recalls HS250h over risk of excessive fuel leakage

2010 Lexus HS250h

Back in the 1970s, the Ford Pinto was the focus of many headlines due to a fuel tank issue which caused excessive amounts of gasoline to leak during a rear-end collision. Now, three decades later, Lexus is having a similar problem with its HS250h hybrid, and has filed a report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a voluntary recall of these vehicles. Up to 17,000 of the luxury hybrids are affected.

In the case of the HS, excessive fuel leakage occurred during rear-end collisions at speeds of 50 miles per hour. We don't need to remind you about the dangers of excessive fuel spillage, but let's just say that the end result can be very, very bad.

As of this writing, Lexus has not advised NHTSA about what steps will be taken to fix the defective HS models.

[Source: Lexus]

First Drive: 2011 Mazda2 puts fun before frugality

2011 Mazda2

Mazda says there's a little bit of Miata in everything it does. While it's easy to chalk that up as marketing frippery, when the automaker launched the Little Roadster That Could back in 1989, it proved that great things can come from a machine developed to be simple, reliable and driver-focused. Even now, none of Mazda's wares offer class-leading fuel economy or practicality, but they've proven to be some of the best drivers in their segments. And as enthusiasts, it's easy to exchange a bit of functionality for a larger helping of fun.

Now, Mazda hopes to achieve this same sort of positioning within the B-car segment � a class that's grown substantially in America and is projected to double in size within the next few years. The 2011 Mazda2 comes to town right on the heels of its sister car, the Ford Fiesta, but as we found out after a lengthy drive through the city of Montr�al and the countryside of Canada's Qu�bec province, it's a wholly different machine. And while the Fiesta is sure to provide some serious competition for the 2, there are plenty of other well-to-do B cars in the U.S. that are ready to be sized up against the minuscule Mazda.

If you only look at the stats, you wouldn't think Mazda has positioned the 2 to be anything overly special. Not only is it the least powerful car in its segment, but it doesn't offer some of the clever technology or unique packaging to make it stand out from its kin. But Mazda is immensely proud of the new 2, and though we looked on with skeptical faces, the people in charge simply told us that the little hatch's story is best told on the road. So let's get to it.

Like the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda2 isn't a new car � it's just new to us (or U.S., as it were). The 2011 model is the mid-cycle refresh of a car that's been immensely popular overseas, so much so that it won the World Car of the Year award in 2008. In reshaping the 2's design, Mazda wanted to break away from what it calls the "mini-minivans" of the world � cars like the Honda Fit that have tall greenhouses and expansive windshields. Instead, the automaker opted for a more coupe-like design (its description, not ours) with muscular front fender arches and a pronounced shoulder at the rear. Mazda's corporate face is nicely integrated on the 2, and we're glad it's not as overdone as the maw on the larger 3. The 2's face is extremely similar to that on the current MX-5 (ahem), but it still reminds us of shoving orange wedges into our mouth during our elementary school lunchtime.

Simple design cues like the swooping beltline, raked rear hatch and short overhangs drive home the point that its main purpose is to provide driver enjoyment before anything else. The 2 shares the Fiesta's 98.0-inch wheelbase, but the overall length is only 155.5 inches � 4.6 inches shorter than the five-door from Ford, and while this reduction in length hurts the 2's overall cargo capacity, it makes for a crisp, chic design.

While we're on the topic, we asked Dave Coleman, Mazda's product development engineer, exactly how much of the 2 is shared with the Fiesta. Obviously, the platform is the same, and while there are many interchangeable parts found on both cars, Coleman tells us that only three parts are exactly identical, although he wouldn't share exactly what they are. Truth be told, we were expecting the 2 to be more closely tied to its Ford brethren, and if we're honest, it only improves Mazda's business case for the car. This simply isn't another rebadge job.

Mazda's offering its diminutive hatch in two flavors � Sport and Touring � and in total, there are only four different configurations: one engine, two trims, two transmissions, no individual options (though there will be a raft of dealer-installed accessories for those who want to stand out). Starting at a base price of $13,980 (including $750 for destination and delivery), Sport models ride on 15-inch steel wheels wrapped in 185/55 Yokohama Avid tires, while the Touring model swaps the steelies for a handsome set of eight-spoke alloys, still measuring 15 inches in diameter. The Touring rings in at $15,435, and a fully decked-out 2 will set you back a cool $16,985 when all is said and done. That isn't too bad, and positions the 2 nicely below the larger Mazda3 sedan and hatch, a car which has an average transaction price of $19,364, according to Mazda's number crunchers.

Inside, the 2's cabin is a toast to simplicity and intuitiveness. Granted, the design is a bit bland, and we can easily see how a smattering of aluminum accents here and there would spruce things up. Still, the interior is a big step away from what you'll find in the Fiesta, and though the Ford's cockpit is more comfortable and comes packing more tech-rich amenities, that extra kit comes at a price. Notice the (cough, cough) MX-5-spec steering wheel, the console-mounted shifter (with a very Miata-like stubby shift knob on manual models), and easy-to-read gauge cluster � things you'd expect in a car that isn't trying to impress you with bells and whistles.

Mazda's focus on keeping cost down does leave us with some quaffs about overall refinement, however. Some of the dash plastics feel cheap and clunky, and those front seats are severely lacking not only support, but overall comfort. The driver's seat is adjustable in six different ways, which allows for a relatively good seating position, but Mazda's omission of a telescopic steering wheel deserves a demerit, especially for short-legged drivers.

Where the 2's squat dimensions really take their toll, however, is cargo capacity. Even with the rear seats folded flat (well, almost flat), there's only 27.8 cubic feet of space. A Honda Fit can schlep 29.5 more cubic feet of haulables (here's to you, Magic Seats), and even the Nissan Versa and Suzuki SX4 are capable of carrying more goods. Could you fit a bike or a full load of groceries in the back of the 2? Of course. But if capaciousness is your thing, best to look elsewhere.

Keep in mind, however, functionality isn't the Mazda2's forte. Where the deal really gets sweet is from behind the wheel. Under the hood is a 1.5-liter inline-four, and while output is only rated at 100 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque, don't let the meager numbers lead you to believe the four-pot isn't a total workhorse. When we drove the Fiesta earlier this year, we noted that the hatch could definitely benefit from an additional 10 or 15 horsepower, especially in the low end of each gear. But the Mazda, which is down by 20 ponies compared to the Ford, feels quicker and is more willing to � please forgive us � Zoom-Zoom when mated to either transmission. Chalk one up for Mazda's engineering team.

Speaking of transmissions, you may be a bit curious about Mazda's choice to offer a four-speed automatic rather than the five- or six-cogged auto-boxes becoming standard practice across the automotive landscape. Mazda knows that not offering a six-speed automatic will hurt the 2 in terms of fuel economy (not to mention marketing), but the engineers are confident that using a four-speed with taller ratios and fewer instances of gear hunting will keep the car feeling spirited and more enthusiastic on the road.

We drove both transmissions, and while we definitely prefer the manual with its nicely executed shifter and easy to modulate if somewhat vague clutch, the four-speed slushbox isn't as ancient-feeling or out of place as you might think. After all, when you're only dealing with 100 horsepower, its best to keep the engine revving in the heart of the powerband, and having fewer gears allows this to happen with ease. As we mentioned, fuel economy takes the biggest loss here, as auto-equipped 2s only muster up 27 miles per gallon in the city and a modest � more the class � 33 mpg on the highway. The five-speed manual models don't improve those figures by much, offering 29/35 mpg. In a time when 40 mpg is becoming the new standard for small cars, this is sure to hurt the 2's appeal to consumers shopping across the segment. But as Mazda told us, the real attractiveness shows itself during the test drive.

Like the majority of B-segment cars, the Mazda2's suspension employs MacPherson struts up front and a torsion-beam axle out back. Our drive route through the Qu�bec countryside offered up a smattering of both smooth and broken pavement stretches, and the 2 never felt crashy, nor delivered high levels of harshness over the rough stuff. You'll bounce around more in a Honda Fit Sport, and even the Fiesta's suspension feels somewhat stiffer in terms of damping. While engineering the new 2, Mazda was committed to saving as much weight as possible, and managed to cut out a total of 220 pounds versus the previous model sold overseas. Sport models with the manual 'box only tip the scales at 2,309 pounds, which is seriously waif-like in this day and age. This weight reduction not only makes the 100-hp mill feel more powerful when blasting down highways and back roads, but it gives the car a feeling of nimbleness and agility through the bends. A fair amount of body roll is present, but it's better than what you'll get in a Yaris or Versa. A lot better, in fact. Most small cars in this segment are designed to be on their best behavior at lower, city-cruising speeds, but the 2 begs to be driven enthusiastically.

What impressed the most was how the electric power steering matched the feeling of lightness, and Mazda dialed in a lot of driver feedback � a good thing, since a lot of electric racks can feel overboosted, especially at initial turn-in. This isn't Mazda's first crack at EPAS, though � the RX-8 uses a similar system, and we have very little in the way of complaints when it comes time to steer that rotary rocket.

In terms of everyday drivability, the 2 is a charming little whip. The powertrain isn't nearly as buzzy as some of the four-bangers under the hoods of its competition, and even though Mazda's main focus was reducing overall weight, this doesn't mean sound deadening was put on the backburner. The cabin is seriously quiet at speed with minimal wind, engine or tire noise flooding the cabin. It's easily up to the task of long-distance trips, but we might still err on the side of the Fiesta for long hauls, if only for its more supportive seats.

Naturally, we couldn't help but ask about the possibility of a Mazdaspeed2 making its way into production, and while Mazda has teased the idea in concept form, don't hold your breath for the real thing. Sure, the engineers would love to build one, but they're worried that the consumer base just wouldn't be large enough to support it and Mazda thinks there's a possibility that 'Speed3 sales could take a hit. Doubtful, but disappointing nonetheless.

Mazda is hoping to move 20,000 2s annually in the United States, marketing it with the tagline "Zoom-Zoom. Concentrated." The biggest trick will be driving home the fact that the 2 is a driver's car first, and a good all-rounder second. If any brand is going to do it, Mazda has the best chance. After all, unlike the Fiesta, the 2 doesn't need to prove to the world that its parent is capable of making great small cars (take a bow, Mazda3). No, you can't get navigation, ambient lighting, satellite radio or many of the features becoming more important to shoppers, but if you really, truly need these extras, there's a whole world of aftermarket equipment out there. We'd love to own a Fit when it comes time for an Ikea run, but for everyday driving, Mazda's offering is just a bit sweeter. Functionality is nice, but enthusiasts want something better poised to handle the main task at hand � driving.