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Coming soon: Mazda2 Hybrid

Mazda2 range gains a new full hybrid option, with a little help from the Toyota Yaris

The updated Mazda2 range includes mild hybrid technology for the first time, this basically expanding the reach of the start-stop system and offering a subtle electric boost to the petrol engine. What it can’t do, however, is power the car on the electric motor alone. That's why Mazda has buddied up with Toyota to create this new standalone hybrid version, the fact it’s based on the Yaris explaining why it looks rather different from the rest of the range.
Hybrid systems like this are expensive for relatively small brands like Mazda to develop alone and, having successfully introduced the technology to the mainstream, Toyota is now sharing it with other brands. We’ve already seen Suzuki benefit with its Swace and Across (respectively rebadged versions of Toyota’s Corolla Touring Sports and RAV4) and now Mazda is doing the same with the Yaris.
Sometimes unkindly referred to as ‘badge engineering’, this kind of platform sharing is not uncommon in the automotive world and a pragmatic solution to the vast cost of engineering new models, while also helping Mazda reduce CO2 emissions across its range. Toyota has form here, the previous GT86 and Subaru BRZ one and the same while the current Supra shares foundations with the BMW Z4.
In the case of the Mazda2 Hybrid it gives the brand a foothold in the increasingly important supermini hybrid sector and an affordable bridge between its regular models and full electric options like its own MX-30. Rivals include the impressive Clio E-Tech Hybrid we enjoyed as a long-term test car and, inevitably, the Yaris on which it is based. Experience of driving that car proves that it is a simple and efficient system capable of shutting off the petrol motor around town and running for respectable distances on electric power alone. It can never match a full plug-in here but means the Mazda2 Hybrid will achieve up to 75mpg and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions. Three trim levels will be available and the five-star NCAP safety rating is an impressive feat for such a small car. Expect more info on pricing and on-sale dates in due course.

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