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In-depth reviews

Mazda2 Hybrid review – an economical but unoriginal hybrid supermini

“The Mazda2 Hybrid is an undeniably good car, but the Toyota Yaris on which it’s based makes a better case for itself”

Carbuyer Rating

3.8 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • More economical than the Toyota Yaris
  • More individual design than before
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • Short warranty
  • Expensive
  • Lacks boot space

Verdict – is the Mazda2 Hybrid a good car?

The Mazda2 Hybrid is a great car in isolation, but – and this will become a running theme, albeit an unavoidable one – consider it alongside the Toyota Yaris on which it’s based, and it simply fails to present any worthwhile reason why you should buy it instead. Some may prefer its new look, that’s more in keeping with the rest of Mazda’s range, but its warranty falls short of Toyota’s, and it’s a little more expensive, too. Still, if you don’t want an EV and find a good deal, it could be worth consideration.

Mazda2 Hybrid models, specs and alternatives

The Mazda2 Hybrid is the brand’s smallest electrified car, and is not to be confused with the standard Mazda2 supermini. While the conventional petrol-engined Mazda2 has been around for quite some time, it’s based on completely different underpinnings. The Mazda2 Hybrid we’re reviewing here is based on the Toyota Yaris, as part of an agreement between the brands.

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In fact, when the Mazda2 Hybrid went on sale in 2021, its design was almost identical to that of the Toyota Yaris, albeit with the badges swapped over for Mazda ones. A facelift in 2023 has at least brought a little more individuality to the Mazda2 Hybrid, featuring a grille more in line with other Mazda models, and rear lights that are split by a body-coloured centre-piece, rather than the long continuous light bar that spans the entire Yaris’ width.

Unfortunately, while a similarly-timed facelift to the Toyota Yaris introduced an extra, higher-powered version of its hybrid system, the Mazda2 Hybrid is still offered solely with the older system which uses a 1.5-litre petrol three-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor for a combined 114bhp. This is also quite a bit less than the 192bhp of the forthcoming MG3 Hybrid.

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The Mazda2 comes offered in a choice of four trim levels, starting with Centre-Line, moving up through Exclusive-Line, Homura and up to top-spec Homura Plus. Happily, all cars are quite well equipped, with entry-level models getting 15-inch alloy wheels, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, climate control and a reversing camera.

Trim levels

Power options

  • Centre-Line
  • Exclusive-Line
  • Homura
  • Homura Plus
  • 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol hybrid (114bhp)

MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions

“The Mazda2 Hybrid’s focus is on cheap motoring, and it’s actually marginally more efficient than a Yaris”

The whole idea of the Mazda2 Hybrid is to offer a supermini option that’s cheap to run, and its hybrid system does a great job of delivering on that front. In fact, the Mazda2 Hybrid is actually marginally more efficient than the Toyota Yaris on which it’s based, achieving up to 74.3mpg compared to the Yaris’ 70.6mpg maximum.

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The Mazda2 Hybrid’s 1.5-litre engine is very efficient, and because it’s a self-charging hybrid, there’s no need to plug in the battery to charge – electricity is put back into as you drive around. The benefit is that the electric motor can power the car at lower speeds around town, where a conventional petrol would be less efficient. The Mazda2 Hybrid does have an ‘EV’ mode, should you want to drive around on electricity alone, but this is limited to just 0.6 miles and up to speeds of 31mph, so don’t expect to do any substantial journeys using this setting, you’ll need a plug-in hybrid or EV for that.

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Low CO2 emissions mean the Mazda2 Hybrid will be fairly cheap to purchase as a company car, sitting in a relatively low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) band. However, the zero tailpipe-emissions credentials of fully-electric rivals such as the Vauxhall Corsa Electric or Peugeot E-208 mean they’re even more compelling as company cars.

Model 

Fuel economy

CO2 emissions

Mazda2 Hybrid 1.5-litre (114bhp)

74.3mpg

98-87g/km

What will the Mazda2 Hybrid cost to insure?

The Mazda2 Hybrid sits in groups 14 and 15 out of 50. While this isn’t particularly high in the grand scheme of things, some more conventional superminis are cheaper to insure. The Toyota Yaris itself sits in groups 13 and 14, and hybrid versions of the Renault Clio start from group 15, but the Honda Jazz sits in groups 21 and 22. 

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If you go for a non-hybrid supermini, insurance can get cheaper, with petrol-powered Clios in groups 10 to 11, the Skoda Fabia sitting in a very low group four, and the Volkswagen Polo in rock-bottom group one. Interestingly, however, the non-hybrid Mazda2 costs more to insure than the Mazda2 Hybrid, spanning groups 14 to 22.

Engines, drive & performance

“The Mazda2 Hybrid isn’t particularly engaging to drive, but handles well. Ride quality could be better”

Predictably, given the Mazda2 Hybrid is a rebadged Toyota Yaris, it drives very similarly to that car. That’s no bad thing, though – it’s primarily designed with efficiency in mind, of course, but even on twistier, faster roads it doesn’t feel too out of its depth. All models come with a CVT automatic gearbox, and this means the Mazda2 Hybrid is very easy to drive, but the caveat is that it’s not particularly engaging, so keen drivers would be better off looking elsewhere.

Is the Mazda2 Hybrid good to drive in town?

The Mazda2 Hybrid is at its best driving around town, where the smooth power delivery of its electric motors at lower speeds gets a chance to shine – it is, after all, what it was designed to do. Stop-start traffic isn’t an issue for the Mazda2 Hybrid because all cars come with an automatic gearbox. The Mazda2 Hybrid’s small dimensions mean it’s easy to manoeuvre around town, too.

Is the Mazda2 Hybrid good to drive on long journeys?

Motorway driving is one of the weakest areas for the Mazda2 Hybrid, because at motorway speeds the petrol engine is forced to kick in most of the time, and can sound a little strained. The CVT gearbox sends revs sky-high under acceleration, which can be a little unpleasant when overtaking. It’s definitely capable if you need to take it on a motorway, but just be aware that refinement can take a hit here.

Is the Mazda2 Hybrid good to drive on B-roads?

While the Mazda2 Hybrid may not be the most engaging car to drive, it’s very composed on a B-road, and can dive confidently in and out of corners, thanks to a fairly firm suspension setup. The downside to this, however, is that ride quality could be a little better – if Mazda softened up the suspension somewhat the 2 Hybrid would be a better all-rounder, but it at least equates to a responsive feel around twisty roads.

Hybrid model

The Mazda2 Hybrid uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to an electric motor. The combustion engine itself accounts for 91bhp of the system’s power, and combined with the electric motor, the Mazda2 Hybrid produces 114bhp – that’s reasonable for a car of this size, but don’t expect exciting performance levels.

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The Mazda2 Hybrid’s regenerative braking system works well, harvesting energy that would otherwise be lost by applying the brakes, and putting it back into the battery. This ensures it is able to run on electricity as much as possible, and at low speeds the electric motor keeps things feeling peppy and fairly responsive.

It’s a shame the Mazda2 Hybrid isn’t offered with the latest 128bhp hybrid system offered on higher-spec models of the Toyota Yaris, as it’s even more responsive around town and a little more refined on the motorway, too. The sole 114bhp hybrid system offered here is no doubt very good, but when the system switches from electric power to the combustion engine under hard acceleration, the transition isn’t quite as seamless.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Mazda2 Hybrid

114bhp

9.7 seconds

109mph

Interior & comfort

“The Mazda2 Hybrid feels well put-together and well-equipped, but its interior lacks flair”

The Mazda2 Hybrid’s interior isn’t the last word in luxury or quality, but it does feel built to stand the test of time. There are a few examples of cheaper plastics around the cabin, and the design itself is a little unremarkable. We think the interior could be improved with a few splashes of colour to give it more pizzazz, but on the whole, it feels mature for a car of this size and is by no means the worst in its class.

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Despite its diminutive size, the Mazda2 Hybrid does feel airy to sit in, which is helped by the low window line that lets in a lot of light. Top-spec models even get a huge panoramic roof, which makes the car feel even brighter.

Is the Mazda2 Hybrid’s infotainment and navigation system easy to use?

The Mazda2 Hybrid uses the same infotainment system as offered in the Toyota Yaris, which is no bad thing. It’s easy to use, responsive and looks the part, while wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto means you have alternatives if you’re not a fan of Mazda’s software. All but top-spec Homura Plus models get a nine-inch display as standard, while that car gets an upgraded 10.5-inch system with sat nav and voice recognition. For most buyers, the smaller screen will suit perfectly fine.

Is the Mazda2 Hybrid well equipped?

Although the Mazda2 Hybrid is quite expensive for a supermini, it does at least get plenty as standard in entry-level guise. The entry-level Centre-Line model does come with smaller 15-inch alloys compared to the equivalent Toyota Yaris which gets 16-inch items, but aside from that they have a lot in common. As standard, Mazda2 Hybrids get kit like a reversing camera, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers, as well as the nine-inch display mentioned above with wireless smartphone connectivity, which is about everything most buyers would want or need. The problem is, the entry-level Yaris Icon gets a similar kit list and costs £1,500 less than the Mazda2.

What options should you choose for the Mazda2 Hybrid?

There aren’t many options for the Mazda2 Hybrid, but you can specify upgraded scuff plates, a boot liner to keep the boot clean from dirt, upgraded floor mats, a bike rack or tow bar. If you’re not a fan of the standard 15-inch alloy wheels on Centre-Line models, these can be upgraded to 16-inch units, but at just over £1,100, you’d be better off just springing for the next trim up, Exclusive-Line, which comes with a few more goodies as well as 16-inch wheels, and costs around £1,250 more.

Key features

Centre-Line

  • 15-inch alloy wheels
  • Nine-inch infotainment system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Electrically-adjustable, heated door mirrors
  • Automatic high beam
  • Halogen headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED rear lights
  • Reversing camera
  • Analogue speedometer with hybrid system indicator
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear selector
  • DAB radio
  • Bluetooth
  • Driver attention alert
  • Lane centring and departure alert
  • Pre-collision warning and emergency steering assist
  • Road-sign recognition

Exclusive-Line

(Centre-Line plus…)

  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Auto power-folding door mirrors
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Push button start/stop
  • Blind-spot monitoring system
  • Keyless entry

Homura

(Exclusive-Line plus…)

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • LED headlights
  • LED front fog lights
  • Privacy glass
  • Seven-inch digital gauge cluster
  • Black fabric and faux leather upholstery
  • Sports seats
  • Black roof lining
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Dual-zone air conditioning
  • Ambient lighting
  • Rear cross-traffic alert with auto braking

Homura Plus

(Homura plus…)

  • Panoramic roof
  • 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster
  • Upgraded six-speaker audio system
  • 10.5-inch infotainment screen
  • Sat nav
  • Voice recognition
  • Head-up display

Practicality & boot space

“Practicality is a low point for the Mazda2 Hybrid, and rivals offer more boot space”

Given the Mazda2 Hybrid’s small size and the space taken up by its hybrid system, practicality is one of its weak points. Rear passenger space is just about adequate for two small adults or children, at least, thanks to the fact that the Yaris on which it’s based has a 50mm-longer wheelbase than its predecessor. That said, it’s not so well suited to longer trips, where passengers might start to feel a little claustrophobic. If you want a supermini with more space and storage solutions, you’d be better off with the Honda Jazz.

Size comparison

Model 

Length

Width

Height

Mazda2 Hybrid

3,940mm

1,745mm

1,500mm

Toyota Yaris

3,940mm

1,745mm

1,500mm

Honda Jazz

4,089mm

1,694mm

1,526mm

Renault Clio

4,053mm

1,798mm

1,440mm

Does the Mazda2 Hybrid have a big boot?

Quite simply, no, the Mazda2 Hybrid does not have a big boot, which is the main reason practicality is a letdown. There’s just 286 litres of capacity on offer (935 litres with the seats folded down), mostly due to the car’s hybrid system taking up space, but even compared to hybrid rivals it’s behind. The Renault Clio E-Tech’s boot is 15 litres larger, while the Honda Jazz offers 18 litres more, but has some other nifty storage solutions to make it a more usable alternative overall. If practicality is a priority with a car this size, though, a conventional petrol model might be better, such as the Skoda Fabia, which boasts a large 380-litre boot.

Boot space comparison

Model 

Boot space

Mazda2

286 litres

Renault Clio E-Tech

301 litres

Honda Jazz

304 litres

Skoda Fabia

380 litres

Is the Mazda2 Hybrid a good tow car?

The Mazda2 Hybrid is capable of towing up to a very limited 450kg, which equates to a very small bike trailer or trailer to carry rubbish to the tip. Although it can be bought with an optional tow hook, we wouldn’t recommend buying the Mazda2 Hybrid for the sole purpose of towing.

Reliability & safety

“Toyota’s famous reliability should extend to the Mazda2 Hybrid, but it’s a shame it doesn’t get the same warranty”

The Mazda2 Hybrid may be sold by Mazda, but it’s effectively a rebadged Toyota Yaris using most of the same parts, aside from some cosmetic changes. The Mazda2 Hybrid itself sells in much smaller numbers, so it’s more useful to look at the more widely available data on the Yaris. The Yaris came in 36th place out of the top 75 cars in the 2023 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, with respondents most pleased with its fuel economy and running costs.

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Toyota has long been known for its reliability and hybrid technology, so we’d have few concerns on this front – a very low 15% of Toyota respondents in the 2023 Driver Power survey reported an issue with their car in the first year of ownership, and overall that brand came in 12th place. Mazda actually placed higher overall in seventh place in terms of customer satisfaction, so perhaps the combination of Toyota reliability and the Mazda ownership experience is a match made in heaven.

How safe is the Mazda2 Hybrid?

Though the Mazda2 Hybrid specifically hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, the Toyota Yaris has, and achieved the maximum five-star rating in 2020. That’s thanks to the sheer amount of safety tech included as standard, which is also the case for the Mazda2 Hybrid, with features such as lane-keep assist, emergency steering assist – to swerve you into another lane (if it’s safe to do so) in the event of a potential collision. There’s also a pedestrian detection system to scan the road ahead, and hit the brakes if someone steps out in front of you.

What are the Mazda2 Hybrid service intervals?

Mazda recommends servicing your Mazda2 Hybrid every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. It offers service plans costing £21.18 per month to help spread the cost of servicing.

What is the warranty on the Mazda2 Hybrid?

Unfortunately, one area where the Mazda2 Hybrid falls behind its Yaris sibling is when it comes to the warranty. While Toyota offers an attractive 10-year warranty, so long as all servicing is carried out by official Toyota dealers, Mazda’s is less impressive, lasting for up to three years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. That’s a pretty industry-standard warranty, but when considering the Mazda2 Hybrid up against what’s offered for the near-identical Toyota Yaris, it feels considerably lacking.

Should you buy a Mazda2 Hybrid?

The Mazda2 Hybrid is a very likeable car thanks to its fantastic fuel efficiency, a generous list of standard kit, and sure-footed – if a little unengaging – driving experience. The problem really comes down to the fact that the Toyota Yaris already offers all that and more, with Toyota’s confidence-inspiring 10-year warranty and a little more choice in the form of a more-powerful 128bhp option that improves on the 114bhp model’s (the sole engine offered in the Mazda2 Hybrid) weak point: motorway driving.

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There are definitely some benefits to the Mazda2 Hybrid, especially since it got a facelift. The revisions have given it a more individual look compared to the Yaris, to fit in with the rest of Mazda’s handsome lineup, so some may choose the Mazda2 Hybrid based on that fact alone. As far as we’re concerned, though, the changes don’t constitute enough to warrant buying one over the Yaris, making it hard to recommend the Mazda2 Hybrid.

Mazda2 Hybrid and Yaris comparisons aside, there are other hybrid superminis that make a compelling case for themselves, too – the Renault Clio E-Tech is cheaper than both these cars, often available on competitive PCP deals, and offers a little more practicality and arguably more flair. 

What is the Carbuyer pick of the Mazda2 Hybrid range?

With just the one engine option available for the Mazda2 Hybrid, all that’s left to pick is one of the four trim levels – we’d spring for the Exclusive-Line if it was our money, as just around £1,250 adds some useful kit such as all-round parking sensors and larger, more stylish alloy wheels.

Mazda2 Hybrid alternatives

There weren’t so many hybrid superminis in the past, but modern times see the Mazda2 Hybrid up against a few direct rivals with the fuel-sipping technology, including the closely related Toyota Yaris, and E-Tech versions of the Renault Clio. Arriving later in 2024 will be the hybrid MG3, and with a sub-£19,000 price expected, the Mazda2 Hybrid will have its work cut out to compete. Buyers will no doubt also consider conventional petrol models, with well-established rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo, and practical superminis like the Skoda Fabia, which may be less hi-tech, but cheaper to buy and still economical.

How we tested the Mazda2 Hybrid

We’ve driven the Mazda2 Hybrid in top-spec Homura Plus spec in left-hand drive on European roads in March 2024.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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