• Jun 25, 2010
In case you missed it, we just published our First Drive of the brand-new Mazda2 today. If your attention spans is anything like ours, allow us to remind you that we've also driven the Ford Fiesta once or twice. Since both cars are built atop the same platform and will be competing for your hard-earned bucks in short order, the natural question is: Which one would you choose?

If you don't have time to read both of our drives, here's a quick glance at some of the more salient details:

2011 Ford Fiesta 2011 Mazda2
Base Price $13,995 (four-door sedan), $15,795 (hatchback) $13,980 (hatchback)
Engine 120 horsepower, 112 pound-feet of torque 100 horsepower, 98 pound-feet of torque
Transmission Five-speed manual, Six-speed dual-clutch auto Five-speed manual, Four-speed auto
Base Weight 2,537 pounds 2,309 pounds
Efficiency 29/40 (auto), 28/37 (manual) 27/33 (auto), 29/35 (manual)

Naturally, there's more to the equation than the tale of the tape. For instance, if you're in the market for an automatic transmission, the six-speed dual-clutch gearbox in the Fiesta seems to be a much more attractive option than the old-school four-speed automatic in the Mazda. Also, the Fiesta can store more cargo and has more comfortable seats.

It would seem that the scales are tipping in the Blue Oval's favor. Consider too that the Fiesta is available as both a sedan and a hatchback while the Mazda2 is a hatchback only. Add in an available navigation system, leather interior, SYNC infotainment system and heated seats – none of which are available on the Mazda – and we've got a slam-dunk win for the Ford. Right?

Perhaps not. Our man Steven Ewing, the only member of the team to have driven both U.S.-spec models, tells us that the Mazda2 is notably more fun to drive than the Fiesta. Plus, he claims the 2 looks better in its specific shade of green, if that kind of thing is important to you. So, is the promise of an added dose of driving enjoyment worth the significant loss in comfort, convenience and economy? That's up to you to decide.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 78 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I voted for the Mazda, but I can under stand being in the minority. In both cars, I would definitely go for the manual and the hatch, and I have no need for a nav. system, so that negates those Fiesta advantages for me. I like that fact that it is lighter and purported to be more fun to drive by someone who should know. These are after all, the type of car that you can have fun with on your daily commute. I've been liking the Fiesta's appearance better in the past, but in these pics, the Mazda comes off as the cleaner design, fat lip notwithstanding.

      That I'm a very happy MAZDA3 5-door owner probably can't be ignored either. Still, a good test drive of each could easily break things in either direction. And then there is the Fit...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would have liked to have seen the Fiat 500 added to the mix to see how it wold fare against these two titans.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Fiat 500 is about half the size of these two cars, in other words, it's in different segment.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Fiat 500 is 139.6 inches long while the Mazda2 is 152.9 inches and the new Ford Fiesta is 173.6 inches long. The Fiat is closer to the Mazda2 in length than the Ford Fiesta is to the Mazda 2?
      • 4 Years Ago
      from the CBS Business Network (NOT the automakers) ... quote,

      "The Mazda2 and the Ford Fiesta share very, very few identical parts — exactly four, including wheel bearings and a couple of suspension components, according to Dave Coleman, Mazda2 product development engineer.

      But the partners shared costs in the development stage, when basic decisions are made about the precise size and shape of the car - so-called “mounting points,” from which thousands of details followed. The end result is that the Mazda2 isn’t going to be confused with the Ford Fiesta, even though they’re related.

      Their styling is quite different. They also have different engines. The Mazda2, especially with a manual transmission, has a sporty feel in keeping with Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom” brand image. The Fiesta is peppy enough, but it’s also utilitarian, especially in hatchback form."
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll take the meaner looking one, the one that's smiling look like a punk.
      surrealchemist
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dual clutch automatic is a plus.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hopefully Ford will bring out a sport model with ecoboost 1.6L & 6 Speed manual
      That would be a lot of fun and still provide good economy.
      Given the choice between the current base models launching now I would give the Ford an edge due to better noise supression and better economy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Would like to have seen the results if a "Neither" option were added to the poll...
      • 4 Years Ago
      engines are getting weaker and weaker for the sake of mpg.

      bring back the 65 hp engines while you're at it.
      I don't think many would mind driving that...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I vote for the Fiesta.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You have your efficiency stats backwards.

      And boy do those cars look like a badge job in those pics.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, first thing I thought when I saw them was: wow they are identical.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why does no one mind "badge engineering" when it's VW/Golf, Jetta, Beetle - Audi/A3 or Toureg, Cheyenne, A7? Are European car manufacturers just immune from these accusations? It's done constantly all over the world but only American cars are ever accused of this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Badge engineering?" Good grief. There isn't a single shared panel between these cars, inside or out.

        That said, they look a lot more distinct from one another in person than in similarly-composed press shots in a near-identical colour.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Read the review on Autoblog to find out that this is not badge engineering....

        BTW, Mazda 2 is one year older than Fiesta....
      • 4 Years Ago
      I believe the fuel economy numbers are mixed up. Right?
      • 4 Years Ago
      ugh... badge engineering lives on.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Yeah, they moved all kinds of lines 2 inches in different directions so they didn't take the same window glass, but that doesn't make them actually completely distinct. You could swap the driver's doors on those cars and they would fit, even if the feature lines are different."

        @spin cycle,
        I've seen both cars, the doors are completely different, The Fiesta also has front quarter windows that cut into the front window frames where the side mirrors would normally be mounted (Mazda 2), instead the Fiesta has door mounted side mirrors.

        Here are larger photos, please compare:
        Fiesta: http://photo.netcarshow.com/Ford-Fiesta_2011_photo_09.jpg
        Mazda 2: http://photo.netcarshow.com/Mazda-2_2011_photo_05.jpg

        @savagemike
        I agree, I've seen both, they don't share any body panels, they only share the basic platform.

        About the extra length, the USDM Fiesta hatchback is 4.6 inches longer than the Mazda 2, but in its original European form, the Fiesta has the same 155.5 in length as the Mazda 2. The extra 4.6 inches of length goes to the federalized bumpers (In low-speed collisions, headlights, tail lights, hood, other body
        panels and cooling system should not be damaged.), I guess the lights of the euro model sit too close to the edge of the shorter bumpers bumpers.

        • 4 Years Ago
        savagemike:
        Yeah, Ford/Mazda say it isn't so. But they have reason to say that. Use your eyes. They are not even close to completely distinct. Yeah, they moved all kinds of lines 2 inches in different directions so they didn't take the same window glass, but that doesn't make them actually completely distinct. You could swap the driver's doors on those cars and they would fit, even if the feature lines are different.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I did some scaling in the GIMP (awful program) to get them to match and here's what found. I'm not sure the doors would fit, the sheet metal lines at the front and back have been moved slightly. But, they are exactly the same size, the door handles are perhaps slightly moved, the B-pillar is unmoved, the roofline is exactly the same. The feature line of the Mazda lines up with the dent below the line on the Fiesta, the mirrors are at the same spot despite the different mountings. The ride height is the same, and the difference in the length is all in the bumper caps (mostly the front one). The filler appears to be slightly moved, about 1".

        It's tough to find evidence they aren't a badge job.

        I'll do a better job with Photoshop at home tonight and try to post it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        probably, yes... but not here.

        It is not too surprising these cars are similar, since both are 5 door hatches on the same platform. Hell.. they even are both painted green here.
        But they completely distinct vehicles otherwise.
        This is not 'badge engineering'.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dunno Savage, those doors look pretty damn identical, especially the glass
        • 4 Years Ago
        guys, these are B-segment hatchbacks. just how different do you expect them to look?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Here ya go.

        Note how the front of the Mazda2 hangs so far forward it is off the pic.

        But it's tough to say the cars differ in any meaningful way.

        The fuel filler is not moved it turns out, and the door handles move a bit. Most importantly, the rear window angle is changed. Otherwise, they are near identical. However, if you moved a door from one to the other the edges of it would collide, even though the mounting mounts and latch points are surely identical.

        I changed the color of the Mazda2 a bit so you can see it better.

        http://yfrog.com/9hbetteroverlaypostj
        • 4 Years Ago
        @spin cycle.

        Yes.. they are quite similar. Though I doubt very much those doors would bolt up.
        In any event, I have a good friend who could be mistaken for me from any verbal all-points-bulletin to be sure.
        But we still are not identical twins.

        These vehicles have different bodies, interiors, componentry and drive trains.
        Hell - one is like 5 inches shorter than the other.

        The two most similar things about them are that they share a platform and that I have no urge to buy either one.

        This is not badge engineering.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I would call it platform engineering.

        The thing that made badge engineering suck was 3 versions of the same car from GM. All the exact same size/weight, all with same engines/transmissions. All sucking up resources for marketing etc. Essentially 3 different badges on the same car from the same company.

        Here Ford and Mazda are effectively different companies, not the same company diluting it's efforts. The are a fair amount of mechanical/sheet metal differences as well. Mazda is nearly 10% lighter in weight, has lost several inches in length and has completely different drive trains.

        I like the Ford because it is less Smiley and hopefully quieter with all that extra Mass. Mazda has nothing to stand out. Needs Sky-G engine for better performance and fuel economy.

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