We've had two versions of the Mazda2 in the office recently, one with an automatic transmission and one with a manual. I drove only the latter. I was impressed by the cabin, which isn't exactly bursting with fabulousness but is far from cheap. The design is pleasing and there are three cupholders alone in the center console between the front seats, plus room for cell phones and other miscellany. These sorts of features are very important to buyers in this category.

I have no complaints about the modest powertrain, as it will meet most people's needs just fine. But I did come away from my brief drive wishing that the little Mazda had sharper suspension tuning. It's just a little too soft for my tastes.

Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor

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