2013 MAZDA2 Heels on Wheels Review


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2013 Mazda2


HEELS ON WHEELS: 2013 MAZDA2 REVIEW

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE 2013 MAZDA2 VEHICLE
The spirited five-passenger Mazda2 subcompact boasts surprising space, athletic styling and great gas mileage at a reasonable price. Performance-wise, it’s nimble and planted with a lot more kick than what you’d expect from a 100-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

I drove a 2013 Mazda Mazda2 with the standard 100-horsepower 1.5-liter Dual Overhead Cam four-cylinder engine with Variable Value Timing and a five-speed manual transmission. Available in two trims – Sport and Touring – my Touring test drive came with the following standard equipment: leather steering wheel with mounted controls; upgraded cloth upholstery; USB and auxiliary input jacks; a six-speaker audio system; trip computer; fifteen-inch wheels; and a roof spoiler. Optional upgrades included a $170 armrest, $295 compass and auto-dim mirror with HomeLink, and an $80 rear bumper guard. Total vehicle cost came to $16,605.

The frugal set will want to study such main competitors as the Hyundai Accent and Chevrolet Spark. And if there is a little wiggle room in your budget – especially for those craving more tech or connectivity goodies – subcompact shoppers should take a look at Ford Fiesta and the Kia Rio5.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: The Mazda2 has seen a lot of competition crop up, causing the design to not come off as snazzy and fresh as it did a couple years ago with the kudos now granted to trendier shapes like the sporty Hyundai Veloster and the micro-crossover Nissan Juke. Front driver and passenger leg space is where the Mazda2 excels along with a straightforward dash design. The modest trim approach does lack basic needs like heated side mirrors and now-commonplace bonuses like Bluetooth – the latter posed as a payable option whereas many competitors give this connectivity item for free.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2013 Mazda2 ratings of “Good” in moderate overlap front test results and roof strength, but “Acceptable” in side impact. It is not yet rated by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability control, traction control system, LATCH safety seat system for children, and an advanced airbag system.

Cost Issues: Starting price for the 2013 Mazda2 is a modest $14,720, keeping its top-of-the-line Touring trim well below $17k. For a bit more at $17,200, you can get the Ford Fiesta Titanium trim with leather-trimmed upholstery, heated front seats, ambient lighting, and XM Radio. Better yet, a Chevrolet Spark with everything in my Mazda2 Touring trim plus heated leatherette front seats, seven-inch color touch-screen, Bluetooth, and Chevy’s connectivity MyLink system with access to Pandora and Stitcher will set you back to just $15,045.

Activity & Performance Ability: The Mazda2 to its credit does possess a strong sense of sportiness and overall grip on the pavement backed by responsive braking. Yet it’s too tiny and unassuming against the competition, which has grown sexier and more complex as found in the Rio5’s gasoline direct-injection 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 138 horsepower mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. An electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission is also available on the Mazda2, but it only showcases its aging profile rather than its ability to modernize.

The Green Concern: The Mazda2 will keep its promise of a fuel consumption that delivers 29-city and 35-highway for a combined 32-miles-per-gallon.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
A tad outplayed by the competition in drivetrain technology and interior comforts, the 2013 Mazda2 does still shine for serving up a sportier subcompact response while holding onto a decent price and desirable fuel economy results.

2013 Katrina Ramser

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