The EPA gas-mileage ratings are right on the money for most cars, but our experience indicates that the 2012 Mazda2 may exceed its rated numbers in real-world use--which makes it a little greener than expected.
According to the EPA, the Mazda2 gets 27 mpg city, 34 mpg highway when it's fitted with the four-speed automatic. Opt for the five-speed manual--which is probably more "zoom-zoom," to be honest--and those numbers go up to 29 city, 35 highway. For the latter, that's a combined 32-mpg rating. But our road tests indicated that the number may be closer to 35 mpg, even if you drive it energetically and flog it around.
Why so thrifty? The Mazda2 is light--very light. In fact, it weighs less than the current Miata two-seater, tipping the scales at a slender 2,300 pounds. Mazda calls the process it used the "gram strategy," meaning it shaved weight wherever and whenever possible, from every component. That saves raw materials, and it reduces the amount of fuel that needs to be burned to move it all around.