London - No your eyes are not deceiving you, what you see here is a new-generation Mazda2 hybrid model and it’s essentially a rebadged version of the European market Toyota Yaris.
At this stage, the new model appears to be for Europe only and hopefully it will stay that way as it would be sad to see the Mazda brand lose its uniqueness. But why a rebadged Toyota? With strict new emission rules coming into effect for Europe in 2023, and no self-charging hybrids in its current range, Mazda needed to make a plan, and fast, and so it turned to long-time partner Toyota.
Apart from the Mazda badging, the new Mazda2 hybrid appears identical to the hybrid version of the Toyota Yaris hatchback, which is now only sold in SA in its hardcore GR form.
Under the bonnet is a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder normally aspirated petrol engine that teams up with an electric motor to produce a system output of 86kW. But the most impressive figure is its fuel consumption, listed at 3.8 litres per 100km on the WLTP cycle, and claimed emissions amount to between 87 and 93 g/km depending on what wheels are fitted.
This is the first self-charging hybrid that Mazda has ever sold. At start-up, the vehicle runs in EV mode automatically, and in normal driving conditions the power split is adjusted between the petrol engine and electric motor.
In certain European markets, the new Toyota-based Mazda will sell alongside the current Mazda-designed 2 hatchback.
Incidentally this is not the first time that Toyota and Mazda have swapped identities in this segment. Until recently, the Mexican-built Mazda2 sedan was sold in North America as the Toyota Yaris iA. The two Japanese carmakers have also teamed up to build new SUVs in the US, starting with the recently revealed Mazda CX-50.