By the numbers

Although it has only two doors, the ZX2 is almost exactly the same size as the Escort and Tracer sedans. It's a tad longer, wider and lower, but the distinctions are all within an inch.

Its 11.8-cubic-foot trunk is also a cubic foot smaller than the sedan, but that's still sizable by compact standards.

And like most small cars, the ZX2's split rear seat backs can be flopped forward to make extra space for all that bulky recreational equipment some owners like to haul.

Standard safety features -- dual air bags and side impact protection -- are average.

Consistent with industry trends, antilock b rakes cost extra -- $570 in this case -- on Escorts and Tracers.

I think this important active safety feature should be standard on all cars, but carmakers have found that buyers, given the choice, would rather have a nice sound system than ABS.

While it's not really a safety feature, the Escort and Tracer do have 5 m.p.h. bumpers, which could lower repair bills from minor fender-benders.

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