EXTERIOR

That Mazda2 is small, but it still manages to pack in a huge style punch. The rounded hatch, coupled with a rear spoiler and cat-eyelike headlights are totally likable. I'm not really sure I'd take a full-grown adult seriously in this car, however. It's just too cute. It seems much more appropriate, both in style and price point, for a teen driver or a young adult just out of college.

One thing that does impress me about the Mazda2 is how it manages to squeeze in four full-size car doors Ц plus a fifth if you count the hatch Ц into such a little design. This car is vaguely reminiscent in size to my own Volvo C30, and every time I approach the Mazda2 I'm still a tad bit surprised there are rear doors. That makes it doable in a pinch for families with school-age kids, who have short legs.

The small size, low step-in height and placement of the car doors makes this cutie easy for little ones to open the door, climb in and close the door independently.

The Mazda2 has a 100-hp, 1.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine that takes regular gas. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. With the optional four-speed automatic, it gets 27/33 mpg.

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