Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



Driven: 2024 Mazda2 Hybrid. Image by Mazda.

Driven: 2024 Mazda2 Hybrid
Can Mazdaís like-a-Yaris-but-not-a-Yaris hybrid hatchback take the fight to the, erm, Yaris?

   



<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> Mazda reviews

2024 Mazda2 Hybrid

4 4 4 4 4

It might seem odd to start a review of a Mazda by talking about Toyota, but all will soon become clear. You see, Toyota has been getting into a lot of joint ventures recently Ė think Z4/Supra, Solterra/bZ4X and Corolla/Swace Ė and this is the latest. You see, while the Mazda before you might have a Mazda badge and a Mazda grille, itís really a Toyota Yaris with a new front bumper, and even that is the product of a recent facelift. So can the new, updated and still confusingly named Mazda2 Hybrid, which is being sold alongside the existing Mazda2 (note the lack of ĎHybridí suffix), beat its twin brother at its own game?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Exclusive Line (Homura pictured)
Price: Mazda2 Hybrid from £24,135 (£26,270 as tested)
Engine: 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol with electric motor
Transmission: e-CVT, front-wheel drive
Power: 116hp
Torque: 120Nm
Emissions: 92g/km
Economy: 70.6mpg
0-62mph: 9.7 seconds
Top speed: 109mph
Boot space: 286-935 litres

Styling

When Mazda first announced the Yaris-based Mazda2 Hybrid, the styling was, shall we say, somewhat lazy. Only the badges were changed, so it looked exactly like a Yaris, right down to the font on the Hybrid badge and every inch of the bodywork. Now, though, Mazda has finally put in a bit more effort. There's a new, more Mazda-shaped grille and the badge has moved slightly, while the tail has been redesigned to remove the black plastic across the tailgate and leave a more conventional two-light design. The majority of the metalwork is still Yaris-esque, but the changes go down as improvements as far as we're concerned, and this is a fractionally more attractive car than the Toyota from whence it came.

Interior

Like the external design, the interior has changed little compared with the Yaris. The dashboard design is identical and the mouldings are all the same, as is the steering wheel design, the touchscreen and the instrument display. In fact, the only thing that has really changed is the badge.

But there's nothing too problematic about that, because the Yaris' cabin is smart enough, even if it isn't what you'd call premium. Some of the plastics feel a bit hard and scratchy, and the same is true in the Mazda, but everything feels solidly attached to its neighbour and all the switchgear feels robust.

And though tech hasn't always been a strong suit for either Toyota or Mazda, the Mazda2 Hybrid's touchscreen is competent enough. The menus and screens are fairly sharp and easy on the eye, and the processor works quickly and efficiently, so it's difficult to complain. In truth, though, most customers will simply plug in their phones and use the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone integration tech, which operates pretty smartly.

Practicality

Though the Yaris is unquestionably popular, it is far from the most practical car in its class, and that trait has, predictably, been passed on to the Mazda2 Hybrid. Of course, the hybrid system is partly to blame, robbing the car of a little boot space to leave 286 litres of carrying capacity up to the parcel shelf. That space is reasonable for most uses, but it looks a little cramped alongside similarly sized cars such as the VW Polo, with its 351-litre load space. Unfortunately, the Mazda doesn't claw much back with its rear cabin space, which is equally cramped, with just about enough room for kids or small adults to get comfortable, but insufficient legroom for most grown-ups.

Performance

Unlike the Toyota Yaris, which is available with a choice of two hybrid systems (although both are based on the same combination of 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor), the Mazda2 Hybrid only gets the one option. And, predictably, it's the less powerful one. No matter which version you get, the Mazda's powertrain produces 116hp, and while that is less than you get from a high-end Yaris, it's still perfectly adequate.

Official figures show the Mazda will get from 0-62mph in a perfectly acceptable 9.7 seconds, which is more than enough to keep pace with traffic. And though harder acceleration requires a noisy strain on the engine, the punch available for overtaking is perfectly sufficient.

Perhaps more importantly, though, the electric motor drives the wheels for more of the time than you might expect, particularly at urban speeds or when load on the powertrain is light. That means the Mazda2 Hybrid is economical, returning more than 70mpg on the official economy test. Whether you'll manage that in the real world is another matter, but you'll still be getting well over 50mpg and possibly more than 60mpg unless you really rag it.

Ride & Handling

Predictably, the Mazda2 Hybrid drives just like the Yaris, and that's very good news indeed, because the little Toyota is surprisingly good fun. It has this stability and chuckability that allows you to throw it into corners with something bordering on reckless abandon, and it just gobbles it up. The steering isn't especially feelsome, but it is predictable and there's plenty of grip, so the little Mazda just clings on right the way through the bend.

There is a little bit of body roll, but it's reasonably well controlled, and though the price you pay for that is a slightly firm ride, the Mazda2 Hybrid is no worse than most cars in this class, which tend to suffer for their stubby wheelbases. Anyway, the Mazda will thud into potholes a bit, but it's hardly intolerable, and it's comfortable enough on a long journey. Maybe it could do with a tad more soundproofing to dial out the road noise a little, but that's barely an issue on a long drive, let alone a short one.

Value

Mazda2 Hybrid prices start at £24,135, which makes it about £1,500 more expensive than the cheapest Yaris. And you get similar standard equipment, with alloy wheels, electric windows and a reversing camera all thrown in, as well as automatic lights and wipers. Climate control is standard too, although the Toyota comes with larger alloys as standard.

Whatever, you probably donít need much more than the basic Mazda2 Hybrid Centre-Line provides, but our mid-range Exclusive-Line car provided some goodies anyway, including some safety tech and keyless entry, all for an extra £1,000 or so, which isnít bad value. Itís worth considering Toyotaís impressive warranty arrangement, though, which sees the standard warranty extended by a year every time you service the car at a main dealer Ė at least until the car reaches 10 years old or 100,000 miles. That might tip the scales for some customers.

Verdict

If we're honest, starting this missive by asking whether the Mazda2 can compete with the Yaris was a bit daft, really, because this is exactly the same in most ways. However, it does come with slightly different (and, we think, improved) styling, as well as the Mazda badge. In all other ways, it's a Yaris, and there's nothing wrong with that, because it's such a well sorted little car. Basically, choosing between the two will come down to whether you prefer your local Mazda or Toyota dealer.



James Fossdyke - 10 Jun 2024



  www.mazda.co.uk    - Mazda road tests
- Mazda news
- 2 images

2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.

2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.2024 Mazda2 Hybrid Homura. Image by Mazda.








 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2024 ©