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on paper it looks like the fiesta is a better car than the mazda 2 but i would pick the 2 over the fiesta. just because it is a more fun car to drive than the fiesta.
 

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Mazda wins every time vs. the Ford version of the same car. Look at the Edge vs. the CX9. They are not even close to being the same car.

2= Fun to drive, solid, quiet, quality.
Fiesta=Sluggish, noisy, rattles, poor Mexican quality. Ick

Like all American named cars, and Toyotas, they over style and over gimmick them as a distraction from the lack of real function and quality.
 

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I own different brands of cars and have had very good luck with my Fords (disclaimer: I do own Ford stock) and I seriously considered the Fiesta. I drove a friends and actually consider the Fiesta interior more upscale. Surprising since the Mazda 3 we own is more upscale than the Focus we also owned. Not to be one-sided, my 2nd car is a Miata.

Reasons I chose the M2:
- The Fiesta might get 40mpg on the new auto-tranny but it has major issues. Check the Fiesta forums. With these problems at such an early stage (few thousand miles) and having seen Ford's lack of response with the CD4E tranny they used in the early Escapes, this was a deal killer for me. I will have to say, the CD4E tranny was a Mazda design used in the mid-90's Mazda 6 which also had issues.
- After reading the forums, the M2 is way underrated on the MPGs by Mazda at 35. I'm getting around 39 and this is with AC full-time. The M2 auto is rated properly.
- So this left it to the 5-speed version of both cars. Hard to find in an M2 and impossible for a Fiesta. So this left me with a MT M2 or an auto Fiesta.
- $15k. Stripped Fiesta auto. Nicely equipped M2 stick. Fiesta would not have power windows, MP3 player and a few other items in addition to being a sedan.
 

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Another reason to choose the 2:
A 6 speed auto is too much for a 100HP 4cylinder. Ford chose to go 6 speed to get buyers to pick the Fiesta over the 2, but even at 120HP, 6 speeds is too many.
A 263HP CX9 can pull all 6 gears just fine, but with so little power in a 2 or Fiesta, the trans will be constantly hunting for the proper gear. So, even if it wasn't a piece of junk, the 6 speed Ford wouldn't work that well.
Mazda really does know what they are doing. They spend more time on logic, function, and good engineering, and less on gimmicks (Ford, Toyota, Honda, GM, Chrysler)
 
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