If the 2013 Mazda2 reminds you of the Ford Fiesta, there's a good reason: As part of Mazda's technology partnership with Ford, the Mazda2 and the Fiesta are built on the same platform. Under the hood of the front-wheel drive Mazda2 is a diminutive 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces a meager 100 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, but a four-speed automatic is available. The Mazda2's fuel economy -- 29 mpg city and 35 mpg highway -- is below average for modern subcompacts.
The Mazda2's interior is spartan. All the proper dials and required controls are there, but it lacks any sort of design or embellishment. The front seats are comfortable, and there's plenty of legroom in front. But rear seats are cramped, and only comfortably accommodate smaller adults. Cargo space disappoints with only 13.3 cubic feet of storage, though this increases to 27.8 cubic feet with the split rear seats are folded down. Even so, it's less room than most competitors have.
While Mazda has built its reputation on fun-to-drive vehicles, the Mazda2 misses the mark in some ways. The small four-cylinder engine lacks the power needed for quick acceleration, but the manual transmission and notably sharp handling deliver a more entertaining driving experience than many subcompacts on the market today. On balance, it's fun enough for an entry-level economy car.
The Mazda2 Sport is equipped with a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 100 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. In addition, Mazda equips the Sport with: split folding rear seats; 15-inch steel wheels; a tilt steering wheel; a four-speaker audio system with a CD player; air conditioning; keyless entry; and an axilliary input. Options are limited to an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a center console with an armrest.
Safety features of the Mazda 2 include: antilock brakes, front and side-curtain airbags, and stability and traction control.
The Touring contains the same standard features as the Sport, plus: 15-inch alloy wheels; chrome exhaust tips; a trip computer; a rear spoiler; cruise control; upgraded seats; and a six-speaker audio system with controls on a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Options are the same as the Sport's: an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a center console with an armrest.
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Quick and fun driving experience, well designed cabin, but limited cargo space
A variety of trim levels and options, including a turbocharged engine, but interior materials leave something to be desired
Stylish exterior with plenty of features and options, quick engine, but rides roughly
Attractive package with a well designed engine and interior, but fuel economy is on the low end for a sub-compact hatchback