2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback
2011 Mazda2 GS
2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback (top); 2011 Mazda2 GS. Click image to enlarge

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Article and photos by Greg Wilson

Photo Gallery:
2011 Ford Fiesta
2011 Mazda2

So which should you buy: the Fiesta or the Mazda2? Though they look very similar, there are some basic differences in features and in pricing. The Fiesta is available in two body styles: a four-door sedan and a four-door hatchback while the Mazda2 comes only as a four-door hatchback. Under the hood, the Fiesta has a Ford-built 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with 120 horsepower and estimated fuel economy (L/100 km) of 7.1 city/5.3 highway. The Mazda2 has a Mazda-built 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 100 horsepower and estimated fuel consumption of 6.8 city/5.6 highway (with manual transmissions). Both cars come with a standard five-speed manual transmission, but the Fiesta offers a more sophisticated optional six-speed Powershift automatic transmission ($1,250) while the Mazda2 offers an optional four-speed automatic ($1,100).

The base Mazda2 GX has starting MSRP of $13,995, about $1,700 less than the base Fiesta SE hatchback which has an MSRP of $16,779 less Ford’s “employee discount” of $1,083 = $15,716 (plus taxes). However, the Fiesta comes with more standard equipment, notably air conditioning, remote keyless entry, body-coloured power mirrors, telescoping steering wheel, speed-sensitive radio volume, two extra speakers, capless fuel filler, and rear cargo cover. And according to Ford’s Canadian web site, the base Fiesta SE hatchback comes standard with Sirius satellite radio with a six-month pre-paid subscription.

2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback
2011 Mazda2 GS
2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback (top); 2011 Mazda2 GS. Click image to enlarge

As well, the top Fiesta SES is available with some features that the Mazda2 GS doesn’t offer, such as leather upholstery, 16-inch tires and alloy wheels, power moonroof, pushbutton start, and Sync voice-activated audio and telephone system with USB connector.

The Fiesta is also available with an interesting “Super Fuel economy Package” ($500) for drivers who are seriously concerned about fuel economy. It includes low-rolling resistance T-rated 195/60R-15-inch tires, side air deflectors, air blockers on lower grille, steel spare wheel, and cruise control.

So far, it looks like the Fiesta is a better value. Let’s take a closer look at the pricing:

The 2011 Fiesta SE hatchback has an MSRP of $16,799. Add Freight ($1,350), A/C tax ($100), subtract Ford’s “Employee Pricing Discount” ($1,083), and the total comes to $17,166 (plus taxes).

The 2011 Mazda GX has an MSRP of $13,995. Add optional air conditioning ($1,195), the Convenience Package ($895) which includes many of the standard features in the Fiesta SE (plus a couple of extra things), Freight ($1,395), and A/C tax ($100), and the total comes to $17,580 (plus taxes).

2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback
2011 Mazda2 GS
2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback (top); 2011 Mazda2 GS. Click image to enlarge

The price works out about the same but remember the Mazda2 has 20 less horsepower. Still, if you want an inexpensive vehicle without air conditioning and keyless entry, at least Mazda makes a base car available at a lower price.

The uplevel Fiesta SES Hatchback has an MSRP of $18,899. Add Freight ($1,350), minus Ford’s Employee Pricing Discount ($1,314) and A/C tax ($100), and the total comes to $19,035 (plus taxes).

Mazda’s top Mazda2 GS model has an MSRP of $18,195. Add Freight ($1,395) and A/C tax ($100) and the price comes to $19,690 (plus taxes).

The differences here are clearer: the Fiesta SES offers more for less money: notably standard 16-inch tires and alloy wheels and Sync voice-activated phone and audio system. It’s also available with features not offered from the Mazda factory: optional leather upholstery, “passive” keyless entry and pushbutton ignition, and power moonroof.

2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback
2011 Mazda2 GS
2011 Ford Fiesta SES hatchback (top); 2011 Mazda2 GS. Click image to enlarge

Having said that, Mazda does offer a selection of dealer-installed accessories, including 16-inch alloy wheels ($1,135 – $1,175), heated front seats ($399), Pioneer in-dash multimedia system ($949), upgraded speakers ($449), Satellite radio ($319), navigation ($549), Bluetooth ($389), iPod cable ($69), keyless entry ($349), parking sensors ($495), cargo tray ($274), block heater ($195), roof rack ($525), and bike carrier ($228).

And Mazda’s standard warranty is slightly better than Ford’s: 3 years/80,000 km vs 3 years/60,000 km.

From a pricing standpoint, the Fiesta seems to be a better deal. However, a test drive may reveal personal likes and dislikes that a lower price can’t overcome. Personally, I preferred the exterior and interior appearance of the Mazda2 GS I drove last week.

2011 Ford Fiestas sold in North America are built in Cuautitlan, Mexico and Mazda2s sold here are built in Hiroshima, Japan.

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