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Ford Fiesta vs. Mazda2: price and features comparison

Within the next few months the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 will finally arrive as U.S. dealers. The two are closely related under the skin, and are the lastest entries into the B-car subcompact class that was rejuvenated a few years ago by the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris. Which appears to the better buy?

2011 Ford FiestaPrice comparisons using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool of similarly loaded cars find that the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 are closely priced. A loaded Mazda2 Touring is a significant $1,880 less sticker-to-sticker 2011 Mazda2compared to a similarly loaded Fiesta SES, but adjusting for the Fiesta’s additional features nearly eliminates this advantage, reducing it to about $200. Compare a Mazda2 Sport with a Fiesta SE hatch, both with manual transmissions and no options, and the Mazda lists for $1,065 less, but adjusting for remaining feature differences cuts the gap to about $300.

So, the Mazda2 generally lists for less, but the Ford Fiesta has a higher level of content.

These feature adjustments don’t include styling, power, and fuel economy. I haven’t been able to drive either car yet, but I have had the chance to sit in both of them. To my eye, the Ford is more attractive and has a more upscale look and feel. The Mazda is powered by a 100-horsepower 1.5-liter, the Ford by a 119-horsepower 1.6. The manual transmission in both cases is a five-speed. Opt for the automatic, and the Mazda gives you four conventional gears. Ford instead offers a six-speed automated manual, a much better choice for anyone who cares about driving.

Despite being more powerful, the Ford Fiesta also gets better fuel economy ratings, 30/40 vs. 28/34 (with the optional transmissions).

So, from what I know so far the Mazda2 seems the way to go only for people interested in paying as little as possible. Anyone willing to pay a little more for the Ford will get a car that looks better, has more power, gets better gas mileage, and includes more features.