2013 Mazda2 review

2013 Mazda2
Photo courtesy of Mazda Canada

Size doesn’t matter — especially when it comes to the smallest vehicle in Mazda’s lineup: the 2013 Mazda2. The tiny fuel-sipping subcompact won’t wow you with special features or exceptional looks, but you’ll swear you were driving a go-kart that can seat five people comfortably.

Aesthetics

Mazda2 is actually a handsome vehicle when compared to some of its subcompact competitors, possessing Mazda’s smiley-faced bumper trademark and other subtle styling cues inherited from the rest of the manufacturer’s lineup.

The car is only available as a four-door in a GX (base) and GS trim level, and there are not a lot of options you can add. In fact, the only add-on is a convenience package for the GX that offers keyless entry, air conditioning, paint and some other non-essentials. We tested the regular GX model with a four-speed automatic transmission in Spirited Green (think Kermit the frog or Keroppi). The most memorable detail in the interior were the fabric seats finished in a colourful crisscrossing striped pattern, reminiscent of an early 90s Volkswagen GTI. Everything else in the cabin was dark and plasticy, which is what you would expect from a car that starts at $14,450 MSRP. It’s surprisingly roomy inside although over 6-feet tall occupants in the back may find headroom a bit of an issue. Fold the rear seats down, and you could easily fit a bicycle or a couple of snowboards in the back — an impressive feat for a car with an overall length of 3,950 mm.

2013 Mazda2 Interior
Photo courtesy of Mazda Canada

Performance

The Mazda2 handles wonderfully, thanks in part to its short wheelbase and light weight. The vehicle’s turn-in is crisp and the car responds quickly when you toss it into a corner. Passing cars on the highway may be a bit of a challenge given the 1.5 L four-cylinder engine, making 100-horsepower and 98 foot-pounds of torque. Stomp on the gas pedal and the car eagerly goes into the overdrive gear making a lot of noise without actually moving that quickly, but it gets the job done. If you avoid driving pedal-to-the metal all the time, Mazda says you should get 7.1 L/100 km in the city and 5.8 on the highway for the automatic model, and 6.8 L/100 km city and 5.6 highway with a manual transmission. The instrument cluster display also has a handy gauge that tells you how many estimated kilometres of driving you have left before you need a fill up.

2013 Mazda2 rear
Photo courtesy of Mazda Canada

If you’re looking for an economical car in every sense of the word that still is fun to drive then Mazda2 is worth a look. It’s a good choice for students, first car-buyers or individuals interested in adding a second commuter car to the family stable. I’d opt for the five-speed for a little extra pep and fuel savings, though.

Notable features (as tested)

Price: MSRP $14,450 MSRP GX (five-speed manual transmission), $15,600 (four-speed automatic)

Engine: 1.5 L four-cylinder engine producing 100 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 98 ft-lb torque at 4,000 rpm

Drivetrain: front engine/front wheel drive

Seats: Five Fuel Efficiency: 6.8 L/100 km city and 5.6 highway (manual), 7.1 L/100 km city and 5.8 highway (automatic)

Curb weight: 1,043-kilograms (manual), 1,067 kg (automatic)

Safety: Traction and stability control, ABS brakes, crushable brake and gas pedal assembly, dual front, side and curtain airbags

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