Research

2014 Mazda MAZDA2 Performance

8.0
On Performance

If it sounds as though the 2014 Mazda 2 is underpowered, with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine putting out just 100 horsepower and 98 lb-ft of torque, let's say it's not the single fastest subcompact on the market. But if you're willing to rev the engine above 3000 rpm--its peak power and torque comes fairly far up the rev range for a modern small-car engine--you can have a great deal of driving fun. This car may be the perfect example of the notion that it's more fun to drive an underpowered car hard than a powerful car gently.

Make sure you get the five-speed manual gearbox, though, and be prepared to use it to keep the car moving expeditiously as the engine revs. While Mazda offers an optional four-speed automatic transmission, its ratios are widely spaced and tends to shift far too early to keep the car hustling along. It also lacks any kind of manual-shift mode.

The 2014 Mazda 2 is almost a five-door sports car, with good roadholding making it fun to drive despite only 100 hp

But it's the roadholding and sporty driving character of the Mazda 2 that will make any driver forget that the car is actually a somewhat tall five-door hatchback. It drives lower and wider than it is, and the suspension tuning and chassis overall are superbly balanced. The handling is firm, but well-damped, and the feel from the electric power steering is as good as anyone's. There's an element of hot-hatch-in-civilian-clothes to the littlest Mazda, and we'd wager a skilled driver could catch a lot of base MINI Cooper owners unaware.

The compact dimensions and nimble handling make the Mazda 2 useful for nipping around crowded city streets too. There's lots of grip despite the narrow 195/50 tires, and it's at its best at lower speeds, before the engine starts to run out of power when you reach highway velocity. Gear-shifting is natural in cities, but you'll find yourself doing it a lot at highway speeds to keep up with traffic when the engine can't quite cope with hills or sudden acceleration. That's when the engine gets noisy too.

Research Other Topics

7.0
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
8.0
Expert Rating
Performance
8.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
6.0
Expert Rating
Safety
7.0
Expert Rating
Features
6.0
Expert Rating
Fuel Economy
8.0
Expert Rating
Looking for other models of the Mazda MAZDA2?
Read reviews & get prices
Compare the 2014 Mazda MAZDA2 against the competition
Compare All Cars