This car might be built on a great, fun-to-drive platform, but that wasn't exactly obvious during my first evening with the 2, as our test car was equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission. "Slow" doesn't begin to describe its straight-line performance.

I had high hopes that a stick shift would transform the 2 into a vehicle that properly belongs in Mazda's "zoom-zoom" lineup, and after I spent some time in our five-speed test car I was not disappointed. Gotta get the stick -- no question about it.

Phil brings up some great points about how Mazda and Ford are differing their approaches to marketing the 2 and the Fiesta, respectively. My take is that the Fiesta, in addition to offering better technology, looks a lot better and also comes across as much cooler, which is an important consideration in the subcompact segment.

Inside, the 2 is packaged well, and I was able to sit behind myself fairly comfortably (it must be noted that I'm only five-foot-six, however). I liked the Touring trim level's interior fabric, which sports a cross-stitched pattern that reminds me of the Honda CR-Z's upholstery.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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