2013 Mazda Mazda2 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Mazda Mazda2 was new.


Performance: 8.2

Though many reviewers say the 2013 Mazda2 is a thrill to drive thanks to its responsive handling, the automotive press agrees that its engine is significantly underpowered compared with its classmates. The automotive press also wishes the automatic transmission had more than four gears, but thinks that it’s smooth overall.

  • "And while some rivals including the Chevy Sonic and Kia Rio 5-Door may offer more horsepower and more modern automatic transmissions, they don't have the same fun-to-drive feel of the light and lithe 2013 Mazda2." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "All the stuff that makes you stop, go and turn is really well-tuned. The car feels like a unified machine, ready to zip wherever you want it to in the city." -- Cars.com (2011)
  • Less weight gives the Mazda 2 agile responses and makes it entertaining to drive, but doesn't offset the meager output of the car's engine and doesn't translate into anything more than competitive fuel economy." -- Edmunds (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Mazda2 is only available with a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 100 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. With the optional four-speed automatic transmission, the Mazda2 averages 28/34 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. Those fuel economy figures aren’t bad, but some competitors like the Ford Fiesta and Nissan Versa can average up to 40 mpg on the highway.

With just 100 horsepower, reviewers say it’s no surprise that the 2013 Mazda2 struggles when passing slower cars and driving uphill. They add that the Mazda2 is significantly underpowered compared with its rivals. Of the available transmissions, automotive writers favor the manual. They say it shifts smoothly, but some reviewers think its clutch is vague. Test drivers agree that the automatic is outdated for the class because it offers four speeds rather than six, but they still say it’s smooth and responds when a shift is needed.

  • "... when tasked with rapid overtaking of slower traffic or quick sprints up steep hills, the Mazda2 reminds you that its main strength is overall fun and not brute power." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 100-hp output from the 1.5-liter four-cylinder is weak by today's standards, even for an economy car." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • The manual's shifter throws are a touch long, and the clutch is vague, making it sometimes difficult to launch the car smoothly from a stop. The automatic, despite having just 4 speeds, provides smooth shifts and prompt response." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "The five-speed manual transmission was smooth without being anemic, and it engaged quickly enough that my left leg didn't get an unintended workout in traffic." -- The Los Angeles Times (2011)
  • We drove both transmissions, and while we definitely prefer the manual with its nicely executed shifter and easy to modulate if somewhat vague clutch, the four-speed slushbox isn't as ancient-feeling or out of place as you might think." -- Autoblog (2011)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers are thoroughly impressed with the 2013 Mazda2’s steering, which they call accurate and responsive. They say it makes the Mazda2 one of the most fun-to-drive hatchbacks available. Reviewers add that the Mazda2’s braking abilities are also good, with strong stopping power and good pedal feel.

  • "While its 100 horsepower won't make the 2013 Mazda2 hatchback the quickest car in its class, its well-tuned suspension and direct power-assisted steering deliver on the ‘Zoom-Zoom’ promise of this 2,300-pound car." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The brakes deliver short, controlled stops." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "More impressive is the spot-on steering and chassis setup, which are quick to react to your inputs with a ride that won't beat on you. It's all very entertaining." -- AutoWeek (2011)
  • "Instead of a mushy pedal, it gave me the right amount of feedback to judge how hard I needed to press the pedal to stop. There isn't a lot of effort required, mind you, but the brakes are easy to get a feel for. It cornered well, too, even in the tight confines of Chicago." -- Cars.com (2011)

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