With gas prices on a never ending upward spiral, buyers are looking more and more to subcompact vehicles since for their fuel efficient nature. Within the past few years, automakers have been stepping up their efforts in this class and building models that can appease a specific taste. For example, if you’re looking for a great handling subcompact car that won’t break the bank, the 2013 Mazda2 deserves a look.

The current Mazda2 has been in production since 2007 for Europe, Japan, and Australia. It only made the trip to the U.S. in 2011 and brought some much needed excitement to the class. To start, the Mazda2 has the goofy happy face treatment that has adorned many Mazdas for the past few years. There is also a lower lip on the front fascia and a set of swept-back headlights. Other exterior items to take note are the fifteen-inch alloy wheels, rear spoilers, and the wild colors on offer for the 2. Inside the Mazda2, its a different story. Simple and minimalism are the key words when describing the Mazda2’s interior, but it does come with Bluetooth, IPod connectivity, and air conditioning.

Powering the 2013 Mazda2 is a 1.5L DOHC four-cylinder engine producing 100 horsepower and 98 pound-feet of torque. That might seem like a joke since competitors are producing on average of 120 to 130 horsepower, the Mazda2 counters with a curb weight ranging from 2,306 lbs for the base model to 2,359 lbs for a fully loaded model. Transmission choices are either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. EPA rates the 2013 Mazda2 at,

  • Manual: 29 City/35 Highway/32 Combined
  • Automatic: 28 City/34 Highway/30 Combined

The 2013 Mazda2 starts at $14,720 for the base Sport model and rises up to $16,210 for the Touring model. Competitors for the Mazda2 include the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, and Toyota Yaris.