2014 Mazda Mazda2

With a playful character and nimble handling, the Mazda2 subcompact hatchback is a top choice for those who prioritize driving enjoyment over all else. Though not without faults â€" chief among them middling fuel economy and limited space - the Mazda2 is a strong enough package to merit consideration from more mainstream buyers, too.

Measuring just 155.2 inches from nose to tail and tipping the scales at only 2,300 lbs, the Mazda2 is relatively small and light even by the standards of the diminutive subcompact segment. 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 Mazdaâ€tms MX-5 Miata roadster â€" it has an uncanny ability to make the daily commute more interesting.

With just 100 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque from its 1.5-liter four-cylinder, the Mazda2 isnâ€tmt 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 competitorâ€tms gearboxes. Itâ€tms a big part of the Mazda2â€tms so-so 28/34 city/highway mpg rating, although even the manual is rated at a mediocre 29/35 mpg.

Simplicity is the order of the day inside, where user-friendly, logically-placed controls dot the dashboard and frills are few and far in between. Modern options found on many rivals, like a navigation system and app-based infotainment setup, are noticeably absent. Head- and legroom is limited for rear seat passengers, and, while trunk space is respectable, it canâ€tmt touch better-packaged rivals like the cavernous Honda Fit.

Trim-Level Breakdown
This compact car is available in two trim levels - the entry-level Sport and top-grade Touring.

Standard features on the Sport include air conditioning, power windows and door locks, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with four speakers, audio auxiliary jack, tilt steering wheel, remote keyless entry system, rear window wiper/washer, 60/40 split fold-down rear seats and 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps.

Upgrading to the Touring trim level will add red seat piping, upgraded cloth seats, 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, a rear roof spoiler, a chrome exhaust tip, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls and a six-speaker CD/MP3 system.

Available accessories include a rear bumper guard, wheel locks (Touring models only), all-weather floor mats, cargo net, center console with armrest and auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, Homelink and orange backlit buttons.

Occupant Safety
The Mazda2 comes standard with dual front, front-side and full-length side curtains in addition to traction and stability control systems and ABS.

Key Competitors
The Mazda2 squares off against rivals such as the Honda Fit, the Ford Fiesta, the Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback and the Hyundai Accent Hatchback. Although all of those rides offer better fuel economy and more space than the little Mazda, not one is more fun to drive.