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Mazda 2 Hybrid review

2022 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3.4 out of 53.4
” Mazda's frugal hybrid is a Yaris in (hardly any) disguise “

At a glance

Price new £24,010 - £29,075
Used prices £13,927 - £23,254
Road tax cost £180
Insurance group 13 - 15
Get an insurance quote with Mustard logo
Fuel economy 67.3 - 74.3 mpg
Miles per pound 9.9 - 10.9
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types

Hybrid

Pros & cons

PROS
  • Impressive economy and low CO2
  • Clever hybrid powertrain works well
  • Feels well built, tough and durable
CONS
  • Toyota’s donor Yaris Hybrid is cheaper
  • Avoid the headroom-robbing glass roof
  • Not the most exciting car on sale today

Written by Tim Pollard Published: 22 March 2024 Updated: 22 March 2024

Overview

The Mazda 2 Hybrid is an unusual beast: on paper, it presents as a simple petrol-electric version of the Mazda 2 supermini we have known for years. However, if you line up the two small hatchbacks side-by-side, you’ll quickly observe they look entirely different. For good reason. Not a single body part is the same and they are in fact manufactured by different companies. 

You see, the hybrid Mazda is an almost-identical version of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid and is built by Toyota at its supermini factory in France. It’s not really a Mazda at all. Not that this is a bad thing: arch-rival Toyota invented the hybrid genre with 1997’s Prius and remains a class-leader in petrol-electric powertrain technology.

There aren’t that many small hybrid cars to rival hybrid versions of the 2 or Yaris. Rival Japanese manufacturer Honda – another hybrid pioneer – offers a Jazz Hybrid and there’s also the Renault Clio E-Tech in the supermini sector.

Why pick one? Small hybrids are an effective way to reduce fuel consumption and cut carbon emissions, potentially saving motorists money at the pumps and in their annual tax bills. Read on for our detailed Mazda 2 Hybrid review to see if you should choose one.

What’s it like inside?

‘Badge engineering’ is industry parlance for cloned cars like these and the accountants strive to make sure as little is changed as possible, to bolster the car manufacturers’ bottom line. So it should come as no surprise that the Mazda 2 Hybrid interior feels remarkably like the Yaris donor car’s cabin.

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Mazda 2 Hybrid interior
Mazda 2 Hybrid interior: functional but flair-free

Hardly anything is different in here and if we blindfolded you, covered the badge on the steering wheel and sat you in both cars, you’d struggle to differentiate between the two. This is not necessarily a bad thing: the Yaris is a well engineered and robust small car, and so the Mazda version feels on-trend for a small urban runabout. 

There’s little in the way of design flair and we doubt anyone will rave about the interior, but we can’t deny it’s solidly built and fit for purpose. The choice of materials and plastics used feel robust, if a little lacking in the soft-touch quality with which we have come to associate class leaders like Volkswagen’s cabins. We appreciated some of the more straightforward controls, such as simple chunky switches for heated seats on higher-spec models – it’s a refreshing change in this over-complicated age when many manufacturers are stuffing too many features into touchscreens.

Bootspace measures a reasonable 286 litres and you can flop the rear bench forwards to extend that to 935 litres if you load up to the roof. The load bay is a sensible square shape well suited for life as a town runabout or small-family duty. Note that the battery and hybrid equipment precludes any space beneath the boot floor for a spare wheel.

Mazda 2 Hybrid engines

Only one engine is available: it’s a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine married to an electric motor assisting the front wheels. This is not a plug-in hybrid that can be charged up at home overnight; rather, clever electronics are constantly shuffling the power supply between petrol and electric, automatically delivering the best combination of efficiency and power, depending on the user need, and recharging the battery by harvesting energy wasted during deceleration.

It’s a smart technical solution of which the driver will be oblivious. You simply hop in, press the start button, select D for Drive on the automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) and drive away. You can select a digital display showing which energy source is being used, but the transitions all happen seamlessly behind the scenes.

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Mazda 2 Hybrid uses a Toyota 1.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain
Mazda 2 Hybrid uses a Toyota 1.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain

Only one power output is offered (unlike Toyota, whose Yaris Hybrid is available with a more powerful version). The petrol motor is rated at 92hp and the electric motor at 59kW. The combined performance totals 116hp and Mazda quotes a 0-62mph time of 9.7sec.

This car is really more about economy than performance, however, and here it excels. The official fuel consumption stands at a laudable 67-74mpg, making it a very frugal car – and these figures are within reach, rather than being a lab-tested unobtainable dream. CO2 emissions are commensurately low, at just 87-98g/km, depending on which spec and trim you order. Stick with the smallest wheels if you want the most efficient figures.

What’s it like to drive?

The Mazda 2 Hybrid drives well for a car of this ilk. The powertrain is well tuned and the clever hybrid tech works seamlessly in the background, constantly juggling petrol and electric power. Mazda claims that the car will drive in electric-only mode for up to 80% of the time around town and our mixed test route including urban and country roads saw us drive in e-mode for 42% of the time. Impressive stuff.

This is proof that hybrids are a useful stepping-stone technology to full electric cars, and we applaud the small Mazda’s green credentials for that reason. Switchable driving modes let you set up the car for different conditions – pick from Normal, Sport and Eco – but most drivers should default to Normal where the car manages everything for you. 

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Mazda 2 Hybrid, dynamic, rear three quarters
Mazda 2 review: one of the most economical small cars around

This is not a car to drive fast or hard: the CVT gearbox sends the petrol engine’s revs soaring if you mash the accelerator and things can get a little thrashy if driven like this. Flick to a more relaxed driving style, and everything calms down nicely.

At a relaxed gait, the hybrid Mazda 2 is a calming place to be. We have only tested higher-spec cars riding on the largest 17-inch alloy wheels, but even then the ride quality was reasonably cosseting. We will update this review once we have driven it on more pock-marked UK roads.

What models and trims are available?

There is no choice of engines or powertrains on the 2024 Mazda 2 Hybrid, meaning the buyer’s only choice is how well equipped you want your car to be. Pick from four trim levels: Centre Line, Exclusive Line, Homura and Homura Plus grades (Brits are denied the cheapest Prime Line model sold on the Continent). 

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Mazda 2 Hybrid, front three quarters
Very different from the regular Mazda 2: the hybrid sports a totally separate design

Standard equipment on all models includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a new colour touchscreen of varying size. Step up to Exclusive spec for auto-folding mirrors, blindspot monitoring and front and rear parking sensors, while Homura grade brings digital instruments, a handy rear-view camera to help with parking and adaptive cruise control.

Only the range-topping Homura Plus comes with integrated satellite navigation (all other models rely on your smartphone’s mapping), a head-up display beaming speed on to the windscreen, wireless phone charging and a panoramic glass roof. This is a double-edged sword: the full-length sunroof bathes the cabin in light (good!), but it significantly reduces rear headroom (boo hiss!).

What else should I know?

We are pleased that the Mazda 2 Hybrid exists. Small hybrids are few and far between, and collaborating with Toyota means that little Mazda – a relative minnow on the world stage – can afford to offer a petrol-electric supermini to customers in addition to its own Mazda 2 petrol cars.

Just pay close attention to the pricing. At time of writing, the Mazda 2 Hybrid costs around £1500 more than the Yaris donor car, so we’d advise checking closely on the deals being offered and whose version you prefer. The good news is that the Mazda undercuts the Honda Jazz Hybrid by some margin.

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New five-point grille distinguishes 2024 Mazda 2 Hybrid better from its Yaris donor
New five-point grille distinguishes 2024 Mazda 2 Hybrid better from its Yaris donor

Is it different enough from the Toyota? The 2024 facelift brought more differentiation in the shape of a modestly reprofiled front grille and bumper (above) to give it a more Mazda-y face. At the rear, the only difference is a new body-coloured panel between the rear lights. Not much has changed, really, but at least it now looks a little bit more different to the first-gen collab launched in 2022.

Mazda is confident that the time is right to launch a small hybrid, as buyers increasingly look to reduce their bills and do their bit for the environment. Last year the petrol-electric model made up less than a third of Mazda 2 sales in the UK – and it predicts that in 2024 the hybrid will grow its share to achieve near parity with the petrol-only models. On this evidence, we can see why.

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