Mazda2 vs Mazda2 Hybrid: A Side-by-Side Comparison Review

It’s not often you do a comparison test of a make and model of car against the same make and model of car. In this case, we’re talking about the Mazda2 versus the new Mazda2 hybrid. Except that apart from the ‘Mazda2’ in the name, these cars are completely different. For one thing, the newer car is a hybrid, for another, it’s actually a rebadged Toyota Yaris hybrid!

You might be thinking that Mazda is replacing its ‘2’ with the new Yaris-based version, however, both iterations of the ‘2’ sell side-by-side. Perhaps instead of risking alienating its existing, and rather loyal, customer base, the firm (keen to lower its average CO2 emissions) is hedging its bet with a smart collaboration with Toyota.

The Mazda2 is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol with about 90bhp and 151Nm of torque from 3500rpm mated to a manual transmission. It will accelerate to 62mph in 9.8 seconds and reach 114mph. The combined fuel consumption is 60.1mpg and CO2 emissions are 107g/km. For the Exclusive-Line as tested, the price is £20,365. Prices for the range start from just under £19,000 with a 75bhp power unit, and there is a 115bhp Mild Hybrid version available too.

Meanwhile the full hybrid Yaris-based ‘2’ also has a 1.5-litre petrol engine, but this time it’s a three-cylinder unit mated to an e-CVT automatic, with about 116bhp and 120Nm from 3600-4800rpm. Acceleration from rest to 62mph is in 9.7 seconds, and it will reach 109mph. Combined fuel consumption is 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions drop below the 100 mark at 97g/km.

The car tested was the Homura at £27,280, but prices start at £24,135. If you’re curious, and I’m sure you are, the Toyota Yaris with the same engine is cheaper starting at well under £23k. Well, it did need a little facelift to make it more ‘Mazda’.

Within the Mazda family, the Hybrid does look like the slightly more modern car, with a more inviting and upmarket interior.

On the other hand, the regular Mazda2 is surprisingly nimble for its class, featuring responsive steering and a gearbox that is both fun and engaging, making it ideal for those who enjoy a more ‘hands-on’ driving experience.

The Hybrid variant uses a continuously variable transmission, which, while not as engaging as a manual, offers a smooth and hassle-free drive, especially in city environments. Performance-wise it’s about the same in terms of acceleration, slightly down on top speed, but better on fuel economy and emissions.

Inside, both models offer modern interiors with a functional layout. The regular car provides a straightforward, user-friendly dashboard with a traditional handbrake, while the Hybrid is more contemporary, featuring a digital display and more advanced technological integrations such as automatic climate control and better infotainment.

Space inside is compact, as expected from vehicles in this segment. Rear seating can be tight for taller passengers in both models, although they offer adequate comfort for short to medium journeys. The traditional ‘2’ has fractionally more room. Luggage capacity is nearly identical, with the hybrid offering slightly more space.

Both cars feel contemporary enough and feature essentials like USB ports, though the Hybrid steps up with additional features like a wireless charging pad and multiple driving modes including an EV mode.

Both vehicles provide a pleasing driving experience. The regular car allows for a more tactile engagement with the vehicle, perfect for those who enjoy the involvement of shifting gears and more direct handling dynamics. The Mazda2 Hybrid, while smoother and less involving due to its CVT, offers a quiet, more relaxed ride suitable for city dwellers who prioritise comfort and efficiency over driving thrill, not that it isn’t composed, competent and convincing when being chucked around B-roads – it certainly is.

In conclusion, the choice between the Mazda2 and its hybrid counterpart will largely depend on individual preferences for driving style, budget, and priorities such as environmental impact and fuel efficiency. While the standard Mazda2 appeals to the traditionalist who enjoys a more engaging drive, the Mazda2 Hybrid is ideal for those seeking a blend of modern technology, ease of use, and ecological benefits. Both are fun, reliable, economical and great around town.

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