Full 2013 Mazda Mazda2 Review
What's New for 2013
For 2013, the Mazda 2 adds a USB connection to its audio system.
The 2013 Mazda 2 is closely related to the impressive Ford Fiesta, a legacy of a Mazda-Ford platform-sharing partnership. And that's not a bad thing. 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.
But the cute hatchback carries some sacrifices as well. It's not particularly spacious; a Honda Fit can carry twice as much gear thanks to better interior packaging. The Mazda 2's rear seats are cramped and not an ideal space for adults on longer drives, and its fuel economy falls midpack. And the Mazda 2 offers limited convenience and tech features that are quickly becoming standard on rival models.
The Mazda 2 charms with its eager driving feel and no-frills personality, but overall we think there are better choices for a subcompact. The 2013 Fiesta is the most direct competitor, offering a similar fun-to-drive experience with a nicer interior and more available features. The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic offers more room, an equally engaging drive and an available turbocharged model, while the 2013 Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio can't be beat for total value.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Mazda 2 hatchback is available in two trim levels -- Sport and Touring. The Sport comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, power accessories, keyless entry, a tilt steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and USB/auxiliary input jacks.
Upgrading to the Touring trim gets you 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear roof spoiler, chrome exhaust tips, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, a trip computer, cruise control, upgraded cloth seats with red piping and a six-speaker audio system.
Factory options for either trim level include an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a center console with an armrest.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2013 Mazda 2 uses a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that makes 100 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. A standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels.
In Edmunds performance testing, the five-speed Mazda 2 accelerated to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds -- slower than most other cars in this class. The automatic slows things down further, having only four gears to work with instead of six like many competitors.
The EPA estimates that the Mazda 2 returns 29 mpg city/35 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined with the manual transmission. The automatic returns 28/34/30 mpg. Both are a little below average for the class.
Standard safety features for the 2013 Mazda 2 include antilock brakes (discs in front, drums in rear), front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and stability and traction control. In Edmunds brake testing, the 2 came to a stop from 60 mph in 129 feet, one of the longer distances in its class.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Mazda 2 interior is a study in cost-control minimalism, but it does the job. What the design lacks in flourish, it makes up for with honesty and utility, right down to subtle orange display lighting and simple audio and climate controls. The front seats are comfortable and offer enough room for taller adults, though most will wish for a telescoping steering wheel -- a notable omission. The flat and cramped rear seats, however, are a disappointment.
Cargo capacity is 13.3 cubic feet with the rear seats in place, which is small for a hatchback. With those 60/40-split seats folded (they don't fold completely flat), capacity increases to 27.8 cubes. That's also rather stingy, as an Accent holds 47.5 cubic feet while a Fit boasts 57.3 cubes.
Even for an economy car, the Mazda 2's 100-hp four-cylinder is weak by today's standards. The hatchback makes the most of it, though, at least with the manual transmission. 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.
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.