Reviews

2014 Mazda 2 Walk Around

Styling of the Mazda2 is fresh, and eye-catching in a cute sort of way. We do not like the grinning toothless grille, which may be on the way out, judging by newer Mazda models.

Mazda2 presents a soft wedge shape with trimmed corners, a sweet hatchback slope, and a slippery 0.31 coefficient of drag. The side view is sporty and sculptured, with body-colored door handles and a laid-back windshield. The halogen headlamp units flow from the gentle bulge of the front fenders. A wide upswept character line climbs back and up from the front wheel wells.

The hood, fenders, headlamps, bumper, air intakes and 15-inch wheels are all well done, adding character. Touring models have a jaunty little spoiler and foglamps.

Interior

Seats are comfortable and supportive, with a rugged and sporty fabric, adding red piping on the Touring model. The three-spoke steering wheel works well, with a meaty rim that makes the Mazda2 feel almost like a sports car, and a padded hub. We think it might look better without all that aluminum-like plastic trim on the wide spokes, but no big deal. It tilts for adjustment, and the driver's seat raises and lowers, so almost anyone can find a good position behind the wheel.

Aluminum-colored plastic Mazda calls silver garnish adorns vents, armrests, shift knob and gate, where it looks good in sparing doses.

The shifter, whether manual or automatic, rises from just below the instrument panel where the center console would be if there was one. There's a console with storage tray and cupholders that goes between the seats, with an optional leather-padded armrest that we found nice to have. It's no stretch at all to shift gears. The 5-speed stick is easy to reach and fun to use.

The dashboard flows in a continuous line and curves away from occupants, making the cabin feel wide. Certainly there's lots of elbow room. Mazda engineers worked carefully on the position and cross-sectional shape of the A-pillars, which, along with a low beltline, enable clear forward visibility and also help the car feel roomy.

The cluster of three gauges in front of the driver's eyes is shaded by an eave, with the speedometer in center, smaller tachometer on the left, and the rest in one gauge on the right. In the center of the dashboard there's a large round binnacle with sound system information, a CD slot, and three dials for the climate control. A USB port for the audio system is included. The Touring model has audio controls on the steering wheel, but they're easy to reach on the dash panel of the Sport.

Rear-seat legroom is slim compared to other cars in its class; only the Ford Fiesta has less. Cargo capacity is 13.3 cubic feet behind the 60/40 split folding second seat, and 27.8 cubic feet with the second seat folded flat.

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