This is probably not a unique case in the history of the automobile, but it is rare. In the past, some manufacturers have combined two models of different generations in their ranges, so they bear the same name. But the case of Mazda is also very special: the new Mazda2 that joins the range has no ambition to replace the existing Mazda2, which remains in the catalog and even just benefited from some technical innovations! Both are completely different, so they complement each other and bear the same name … Or almost: we have to call the newcomer Mazda2 hybrid. Just when the Mazda2 we already knew wins a slight hybridization! This is a business logic that is enough to lose the customer. So, should we prefer the Mazda2 to the Mazda2? We contrasted the two models to find out.
The novelty, officially called the Mazda2 Hybrid, was born from a partnership with Toyota. This is not new since, for several years, the Mazda2 has been sold in North America under the name Toyota Yaris. This time, the opposite is true: the newcomer is none other than a renamed Toyota Yaris. Modifications are minimal, as only the logos and alloy wheels are specific. The stylists did not bother to change the shields, the colors of the body or even the hybrid badge placed on the tailgate. Toyota is accustomed to this, as it supplies Suzuki with the Swace and the Across, the Corolla family and the plug-in hybrid RAV4, respectively. As for Mazda, in the past it has marketed a 121 strictly identical to the Ford Fiesta, except for the logos. Manufactured in the same Valenciennes factory as its twin, which won the coveted Car of the Year trophy in 2021, the Mazda2 Hybrid is an industrial curiosity, as it becomes the first “made in France” model of the Mark. Like the 2011 Daihatsu Charade, it’s also a renamed Toyota Yaris. As such, the game of bonneteau is not new among Japanese manufacturers in the segment of urban cars.
Two Mazda2s that have nothing in common
Opposite, then, the Mazda2, the “real”, remains in the catalog. Launched in 2015, it was redesigned, mainly on the front, in 2020. At that time, the chrome surround of the grille came to emphasize the headlights, as in the high-end models. By 2022, there are only new colors in the catalog and a revised grid mesh. Original, this city car adopts a long hood and taut lines, typical of the Hiroshima manufacturer. Only from the back, where it looks a little narrow and tall, this beautiful car admits a bit of its age. It should be noted that Mazda multiplies the special editions and that the choice of paintings, of good quality, especially highlights the lines.
It’s not just the exterior that makes the Mazda2 sleek. The dashboard is adorned with a gray-blue skai band that gives a little joy to the furniture with clean and elegant lines. Care for style and finish is evident. This contrasts with many newer models, which save materials for multiplying screens. It is true that the Mazda2 is more modest in size than the last city cars so far, and the countertop stays true to traditional needles. But the brand has been concerned about adding Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless compatibility, far from being widespread in the category. Wheel control is rare in a city car, imposed by the strange choice of having a touch screen … only when stopped. You have to go through the buttons and the wheel when you drive. But in general, the ergonomics are very satisfactory and only the GPS that supports its antiquity.