Yes, this is technically the new Mazda2. No, it isn’t coming to the US.
It’s fun to delve into the forbidden overseas fruit, isn’t it? The Toyota GR Yaris, for example, is a remarkably enticing hot hatch, even if we don’t get it over here in the States. There’s some consolation on that front, as we do seem to be getting a GR Corolla instead. But this isn’t about that — this is about collaboration. This little piece of fruit is the new Mazda2 Hybrid.
Remember a few years ago, when we had a “Toyota Yaris” on the market? That was basically just a rebadged Mazda2, and the only way you could get Mazda’s small hatch in the US if you wanted one, as Mazda didn’t actually sell their version here. Now, folks in the UK are getting it the other way around. It’s a Toyota Yaris, but the Toyota badges have been pried off and replaced with Mazda badges. Brilliant!
It’s a bit odd, to say the least, if you’re a fan of Mazda’s “Kodo” design. Obviously there’s none of that present here, though this is a way for the automaker to get another hybrid model — Toyota is one of the oldest players in that game, after all. If you’re over in the UK, you get a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, mated to a tiny battery and modest electric motor. The total output sits at 114 horsepower, which is actually a bit peppier than even the “more powerful” car we got here in America.
It’s no GR, but…
That sort of power coupled with Toyota’s e-CVT means the 9.7 second 0-62 mph time is hardly surprising. But that’s not what this collaboration’s about, is it? It’s about fuel economy, which is where this car ostensibly shines. Using Toyota’s hybrid system, Mazda can claim to have a 70 mpg (bear in mind, that’s using UK economy standards) and low, low carbon emissions around 90 grams per kilometer.
As a business move, this makes sense. Scrappy Mazda makes some great driver’s cars, but Toyota is a couple decades ahead on hybrid development. Nonetheless, as TFL’s resident fanboy…Yeah, it just feels weird. Then again, so did the Yaris iA, and thanks to Americans’ aversion to small cars, we don’t have to contend with either.
You know what we’re getting instead? That’s right, a rear-wheel drive, straight-six platform — and that should be here fairly soon. We will get Mazda hybrid vehicles over here as well, including the new CX-50 in due time, but keep an eye out for this tiny ‘Mazda’ if you’re over in Europe at some point.
Here’s a throwback to when Mazda’s shoe was on the other foot: