Full 2014 Mazda Mazda2 Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Mazda 2 is essentially unchanged from last year.
A small, four-door hatchback, the Mazda 2 is in dire need of an update. It hasn't received any major improvements or upgrades since its introduction for 2011. Meanwhile, most of its subcompact car competitors have upped the ante in this segment, which continues to grow in size and diversity.
For starters, the 2014 Mazda 2 falls short in fuel economy. Just about any of its rivals is going to save you more at the pump. Nor is this diminutive Mazda going to wow you with features. Granted, subcompact cars have traditionally been pretty spartan, but the reality is that you can get a lot more for your money these days. Finally, the 2 isn't all that roomy, as the rear seats are cramped and cargo space is also pretty mediocre.
To its credit, the Mazda 2 still features an easy-to-park size, and thanks to its responsive suspension and engaging steering, it's enjoyable to drive in a no-frills sort of way. But for shoppers wanting to stretch their money as far as possible, there are better choices for a small four-door hatchback or sedan. The 2014 Ford Fiesta is the Mazda's most direct competitor, and it offers a choice of two body styles, multiple engine options (including a feisty turbocharged engine on the ST version), a similar fun-to-drive experience, a nicer interior and more available features. The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic offers more room, an equally engaging personality and a turbo engine of its own, while the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio can't be beat for total value.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Mazda 2 hatchback is available in two trim levels: Sport and Touring. The Sport comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry, a tilt steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and 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 Bluetooth connectivity, an aftermarket navigation system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a center console with an armrest.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 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 9.9 seconds -- slightly slower than most other cars in this class. Having only four gears to work with instead of six as in many competitors, the automatic slows things down considerably to 10.7 seconds to 60 mph.
The EPA estimates that the Mazda 2 returns 32 mpg combined (29 city/35 highway) with the manual transmission, while the automatic rates 30 mpg combined (28 city/34 highway). Both are a little below average for the class.
Standard safety features for the 2014 Mazda 2 include antilock brakes (discs in front, drums in rear), front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and stability and traction control.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Mazda 2 received the highest possible rating (out of four) of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal offset and roof strength tests. In the side impact test, it scored a second-highest "Acceptable." In that agency's small-overlap frontal offset test, the 2 scored a second-lowest "Marginal" rating. The 2's seat/head restraint design was rated "Acceptable" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
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 2014 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 (not available at all) and a center armrest (optional). The flat and cramped rear seats, however, are a disappointment, and lack a center head restraint as well.
Cargo capacity is 13.3 cubic feet with the rear seats in place, which is small for a hatchback. With the 60/40-split rear seats folded (and they don't fold completely flat), capacity increases to 27.8 cubes. That's also rather stingy, as a Hyundai Accent has up to 47.5 cubic feet of space.
Even for an economy car, the Mazda 2's 100-hp four-cylinder is weak. The hatchback makes the most of the available power, 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 requires some acclimation of its own, though, with a high clutch pedal action that feels a little vague when you're first getting underway.
On the other hand, the Mazda 2's light curb weight (just 2,300 pounds) reduces the burden on the engine. This, coupled with precise, communicative steering and responsive handling, makes the 2014 Mazda 2 feel quick and nimble on its feet.