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Mazda brought the Mazda2 out at the bottom of its lineup, a small car hovering around the $15K price point designed to appeal to Americans' increasing interest in economical vehicles.
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Although it shares a platform with the Ford Fiesta, the two cars look nothing alike. Mazda's current design language is evident in the Mazda2, such as in the front-end grin.
A variable valve timed 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Mazda2. It produces 100 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque.
Although compact, we found the cabin reasonably roomy. Adults can even sit comfortably in the rear seats.
To cut costs, Mazda uses drum brakes at the rear. Disc brakes are used in front.
The Mazda2 exhibits similar handling characteristics to the Ford Fiesta, with sprightly cornering and good damping.
The rear seats fold down, maximizing cargo space.
The cabin looks good, but hard plastics dominate the dashboard. Mazda offers no cabin tech options with the car.
Even though standard cabin tech is limited to the radio, Mazda loads up the steering wheel with buttons in this Touring trim level car.
The Mazda2 Touring features a trip computer, but we found that the average fuel economy shown was much higher than our real tank average.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard with the Mazda2, with a four-speed automatic optional. We recommend the manual.
Extensive audio controls dot the left spoke of the steering wheel.
The standard stereo reads MP3 CDs and has an auxiliary input. There is no iPod integration or satellite radio.