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#27

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $14,720 - $17,050
Invoice: $14,535 - $16,834
MPG: 29 City / 35 Hwy
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Mazda Mazda2 Performance

Reviewers agree that the 2014 Mazda Mazda2’s low horsepower rating means it’s slower than rival cars, but they say that its light weight, sharp steering and responsive brakes make it fun to drive. The five-speed manual transmission makes good use of the engine’s power, they say, though some note that the available automatic transmission seems outdated compared to those found in other subcompact cars.

  • "From a driving-dynamics standpoint, the Mazda 2 delivers. Once you get up to speed, this subcompact is just about as much fun to drive as its larger 3 and 6 counterparts." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Like the Fiesta, the Mazda 2 features a short wheelbase, a basic but responsive suspension design and quick steering. Thanks to its diminutive size and weight, the Mazda 2 doesn't need a lot of engine power to make it fun to drive." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Do you have a sister who's always having more fun than you? The Ford Fiesta does. Its Mazda2 sibling shares some of the subcompact's DNA but is much livelier on the road." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "While its 100 horsepower won't make the 2013 Mazda2 hatchback the quickest car in its class, its well-tuned suspension and direct power-assisted steering deliver on the ‘Zoom-Zoom’ promise of this 2,300-pound car." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Mazda2 comes with a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 100 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic transmission is optional. The Mazda2 gets an EPA-estimated 28/34 mpg city/highway when equipped with the automatic transmission. Those ratings place the Mazda2 near the middle of the pack.  

Though the Mazda2 may not be the fastest car in the class, it’s rather fun to drive, test drivers note. They say the standard five-speed manual transmission makes the best use of the engine’s power, though a few report that the clutch can be a little tricky to use when starting from a stop. The available four-speed automatic feels harsh during acceleration and is less refined than those in rival cars, many of which offer transmissions with more gears, reviewers say.  

  • "With just 100 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque from its 1.5-liter four-cylinder, the Mazda2 isn’t going to be setting any acceleration records, but a slick-shifting five-speed manual transmission makes the most of the little engine. Less impressive is the optional four-speed automatic, which is down a cog or two competitors to most competitor’s gearboxes. It’s a big part of the Mazda2’s so-so 28/34 city/highway mpg rating, although even the manual is rated at a mediocre 29/35 mpg." -- Left Lane News
  • "And while some rivals including the Chevy Sonic and Kia Rio 5-Door may offer more horsepower and more modern automatic transmissions, they don't have the same fun-to-drive feel of the light and lithe 2013 Mazda2." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "The outdated four-speed automatic feels rough under acceleration, with somewhat erratic shifting and less fuel efficiency than the manual. The manual takes some adjusting, though, with a high pedal action that feels a little vague when first getting underway." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • “Though not fast by any measure, the 2's throttle action and response is remarkably linear. The 4-speed automatic transmission seems like a throwback in this day of 6-, 7-, and even 8-speed autos, but it's an ideal match for the small 4-cylinder engine. It provides smooth upshifts and prompt downshifts." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The Fiesta's 120-hp, 1.6-liter engine is often pokey, and its dual-clutch automatic transmission was crabby when I tested it recently. The Mazda2, on the other hand, felt animated, channeling the fun-to-drive spirit of its larger sibling, the Mazda3." -- Cars.com (2013)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say the Mazda2 handles nimbly, and they are thoroughly impressed with the steering, which they call accurate and responsive. The 2014 Mazda2 is one of the most fun-to-drive hatchbacks available, reviewers note, with one even likening it to one of our highest-ranked affordable sports cars, the Mazda Miata. Reviewers add that the Mazda2’s brakes are strong and have good pedal feel.

  • "Thanks to its tidy dimensions and low mass, along with a well-tuned suspension and crisp steering, the Mazda2 possesses much of the fun-to-drive spirit of Mazda’s MX-5 Miata roadster - it has an uncanny ability to make the daily commute more interesting." -- Left Lane News
  • "The Mazda2 is agile and maneuverable, staying flat when flung through curvy highway ramps. Around town, its petite frame and tight turning circle make parking a breeze. Its ride is solid, too, staying composed over most bumps." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "On the other hand, the Mazda 2's light curb weight -- just 2,300 pounds -- reduces the burden on the free-revving engine. This, coupled with steering that feels firm and communicative -- rare traits among electric-assist systems in this segment -- make the 2013 Mazda 2 feel quick on its feet." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Body lean in fast turns is well controlled, and the brakes provide top-notch stopping control." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/14/14

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