The all-new 2022 Mazda 2 Hybrid has finally been unveiled, but wait, haven’t we seen a car like this before? That’s because the European Mazda 2 is now a rebadged Toyota Yaris. Mind you, this Yaris is the superior TNGA-based model that Japan and Europe get, which made its debut at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. It’s also the basis of the GR Yaris hot hatch that has won enthusiasts’ hearts. This is in no way related to the ASEAN-specific Yaris in any shape or form.
This rebadge job isn’t surprising to us, however. When Mazda reported its second-quarter 2020 financial report, the company mentioned its upcoming rear-wheel drive (RWD) models, along with the plan that states that Mazda will launch a new hybrid model in Europe based on the Japanese- and European-market Toyota Yaris.
As expected, the design looks largely unchanged from the Japanese and European Yaris. This means that while their Yaris looks sharp and sporty, the absence of any design details that Mazdas are known for, such as its wing-shaped grille and its simple creases, make the all-new Mazda 2 Hybrid stand out from the brand’s model range, for better or worse.
Likewise, the interior has seen no redesign to conform with Mazda’s own aesthetics. The infotainment isn’t the brand’s own Mazda Connect rotary controller-based system, and the interior is unapologetically from Toyota. Catering to Japanese and European tastes, the Yaris on which the Mazda 2 is based is shorter than the previous model. However, since the wheels are pushed out into the car’s corners, passengers now have more interior room while handling has now been made more sporty.
The Mazda 2 Hybrid is powered by, unsurprisingly, Toyota’s own gasoline-electric hybrid system that produces a combined 114 horsepower and 169 Nm of torque. Zero to 100 kph happens in 9.7 seconds, while its fuel economy is claimed to be from 25 to 26.3 km/l under the WLTP cycle.
So why is the next-generation Mazda 2 based on the Toyota Yaris? We reported back in 2020 that automakers in the Old Continent must comply with the European Union’s stricter CO2 emissions regulations. The ruling states that by 2021, with phase-in from 2020, the average CO2 fleet-wide emissions of a car manufacturer should be no more than 95 g/km. Mazda only has one fully electric vehicle (EV), the MX-30, while its other models only have mild-hybrid electrification, which is not enough to bring down Mazda’s fleet-wide average CO2 emissions.
This isn’t the first time that the two companies have rebadged each other’s cars, however. Shall we remind you that Toyota rebadged the Mazda 2 sedan in North America and sold it as the Yaris from 2016 to 2020? Yep, in case you’re not aware, that actually happened, and it’s basically the same thing that’s happening for Mazda in Europe this year.