Now several years old, the lines of the subcompact 2012 Mazda2 are simple, neat, and coherent. The sculpted front and rear ends lead to lines that flow graciously around a wide, sloping greenhouse to define the middle of the car. Even a modest version of Mazda's notorious death-rictus grin in the front end doesn't spoil this neatly defined small car.
The Mazda2 looks stable, solid, and sporty because the eye sees a car that looks lower and wider than it really is. We find its lines more pleasing than the Ford Fiesta with which it shares its basic structure; to our eyes, the Fiesta's abruptly truncated rear end and bulging headlights produce some odd looks from many angles.
Visually, only a few differences separate the base Sport from the high-level Touring package. The most notable are the alloy wheels on the high-end model; the painted metal wheels with plastic wheel covers on the entry model harken back to an early day of econobox cheap. Inside, the Touring adds red piping on the seat upholstery, and there's also a spoiler on the tailgate.