Mazda 2 Hybrid review

Category: Small car

The 2 Hybrid small car is a regular hybrid that offers a comfy ride and excellent efficiency

Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front right driving
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front right driving
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid rear cornering
  • Dan Jones test driving Mazda 2 Hybrid
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid boot open
  • Mazda 2 Hybrid interior driver display
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front right driving
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front cornering
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front right driving
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid rear right driving
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front badge
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid grille detail
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid headlights detail
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid alloy wheel detail
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid rear lights detail
  • Mazda 2 Hybrid interior dashboard
  • Mazda 2 Hybrid interior back seats
  • Mazda 2 Hybrid infotainment touchscreen
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front right driving
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid rear cornering
  • Dan Jones test driving Mazda 2 Hybrid
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid boot open
  • Mazda 2 Hybrid interior driver display
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front right driving
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front cornering
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front right driving
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid rear right driving
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid front badge
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid grille detail
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid headlights detail
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid alloy wheel detail
  • Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid rear lights detail
  • Mazda 2 Hybrid interior dashboard
  • Mazda 2 Hybrid interior back seats
  • Mazda 2 Hybrid infotainment touchscreen
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Introduction

What Car? says...

In Dungeons and Dragons, the Mimic is a creature that can shape-shift into any object and become nearly indistinguishable from the real thing. Other than the shape-shifting bit, the same could be said of the Mazda 2 Hybrid – it's practically identical to the Toyota Yaris.

True, a recent facelift has made the 2 Hybrid stand out from its cousin a little more, but underneath they're still effectively the same car. Meanwhile, the existing Mazda 2 remains on sale, with its own distinctive look and engines.

That begs the question: why would Mazda have two quite different models with the same name? Well, while the standard 2 can only be had with a mild-hybrid or pure petrol engine, the 2 Hybrid is the result of a partnership with Toyota and is a full hybrid car. It's incredibly efficient and can go short distances on electricity alone, but doesn’t need plugging in.

While that all sounds impressive, it’s hard to ignore the elephant in the room: if the Mazda 2 Hybrid borrows everything that makes the Toyota Yaris great, why not just buy that? And where does it rank among the best small cars – including the Honda Jazz? Let's find out...

Overview

Thanks to its superb efficiency and comfortable ride, the Mazda 2 Hybrid is a solid alternative to the Honda Jazz and other rivals. The thing is though, we think the Toyota Yaris makes more sense, not least because it’ll cost you less (even if you go for our favourite, entry-level version of the 2 Hybrid).

  • Efficient engine
  • Slow depreciation
  • Comfortable ride
  • Expensive to buy outright
  • Not as practical as some rivals
  • Yaris has longer warranty
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Our Pick

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Mazda 2-hybrid 1.5i Hybrid Centre Line 5dr CVT
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Regardless of which trim you go for, the Mazda 2 Hybrid comes with a three-cylinder petrol engine that’s helped out by an electric motor. In total, it creates 114bhp, and while that doesn’t look that impressive on paper, in practice it's pretty nippy. 

You see, the hybrid system provides instant power from the electric motor when you put your foot down, eliminating the delay you can get from a conventional engine or gearbox when setting off from stationary.

It’s quite impressive how quickly it jumps off the line, matching the entry-level Toyota Yaris’s 0-62mph sprint time of 9.7 seconds (although it's slower than the 132bhp Yaris GR Sport). We doubt it’ll leave you wanting when you need a sudden burst of pace.

Like the Yaris, the 2 Hybrid’s power is fed to the front wheels through a CVT automatic gearbox which, while responsive at pretty much any speed, causes the revs to soar and keeps them there until you ease off the accelerator. That can make for a fair amount of noise when you’re climbing a steep hill or getting up to motorway speeds. 

Happily, outside of those situations, the hybrid system means you won’t have to constantly floor the accelerator pedal to make good progress. In fact, you can run on electricity alone for a few miles, boosting efficiency and making for near-silent driving at slower speeds. The 2 Hybrid charges its battery when the engine is running. 

Mazda 2 Hybrid image
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Depending on the trim you go for, you get either 15in, 16in or 17in wheels, but even on the largest wheels, it rides perfectly well. True, it’s on the firmer side of things, but it doesn’t thud over potholes and remains settled over undulations.

It doesn’t jostle you around in your seat as much as the Yaris (which can be had with even larger wheel sizes), but it's still not a patch on the smoothest riding small car, the VW Polo. The Polo will handle better on a twisty road too, especially with the optional sports suspension equipped.

That’s not to say the 2 Hybrid is out of sorts when you want to have fun on a winding road – it's tidy enough with a reasonable amount of grip. It’s just that the Polo and also the Renault Clio have more naturally weighted steering and less body lean through faster corners. 

Driving overview 

Strengths Comfortable ride; easy to drive everyday

Weaknesses Rivals are more fun to drive; CVT gearbox can be noisy

Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

If you’ve sat inside the latest Toyota Yaris, a Mazda 2 Hybrid's interior will give you déjà vu: the only difference is the badge in the centre of the steering wheel.

That’s not such a bad thing. For a start, it means the 2 Hybrid has proper physical buttons, switches and dials for the air-con controls. We much prefer that to the system in most versions of the VW Polo, which requires you to faff about with touch-sensitive buttons or delve into the touchscreen to make simple changes.

Speaking of touchscreens, most versions of the 2 Hybrid come with a 9in touchscreen infotainment system, while the top-spec Homura Plus increases the size to 10.5in. Regardless of which trim you go for, you get DAB radio, Bluetooth and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring – good news because only the top trim comes with built-in sat-nav.

With both screen sizes, you get a high-resolution display that’s easy to read and reacts fairly quickly to your prods. The smaller screen even gets a couple of physical shortcut buttons up the side, making it easier to navigate on the move.

Thanks to the 2 Hybrid's small size and narrow front and rear window pillars, you have good visibility all round and it's easy to place the car where you want it on the road. For more help when parking, all trims come with a rear-view camera, while Exclusive-Line and up also get front and rear parking sensors.

Technology aside, it’s easy to get comfortable in any 2 Hybrid because they all come with plenty of manual adjustment to the driver’s seat and steering wheel. The seats are pretty comfortable on a long drive, but both Homura and Homura Plus add adjustable lumbar support to make it even better. 

It doesn’t feel as special inside as the Honda Jazz, which gets more high-quality feeling materials and hides its hard plastics well. The 2 Hybrid gets a soft-touch dashboard, some really thin fabric on the doors and a lovely steering wheel, but everything else is hard and scratchy.

Interior overview 

Strengths Physical air-con controls; good driving position; good visibility 

Weaknesses Lots of hard plastics

Dan Jones test driving Mazda 2 Hybrid

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Given the size of the Mazda 2 Hybrid, it’ll come as no surprise that it’s not huge on the inside, especially compared to the Honda Jazz. It’ll still be plenty big enough for most though, giving a pair of six-footers enough head and leg room to get comfortable. 

You get a decent amount of storage spaces dotted around, including a cubby in front of the gearstick for your phone, a tray above the decent-sized glovebox and a pair of cupholders. The door bins are rather small though, taking only a large bottle of water.

Space in the rear is sufficient rather than generous, so there’s enough space to fit a couple of your tallest friends back there – although they’d be comfier if they were sitting in the back of a Jazz or VW Polo. The thing is, in a small car like this, we reckon it’ll be fine for occasional use.

Unlike the really versatile Jazz, which gets cinema-style flip-up seat bases for more boot space, the 2 Hybrid’s rear seats don’t really do anything of note, other than splitting 60/40 and folding flat. 

Continuing the trend, boot space also isn’t particularly impressive. Indeed, at 286 litres, it matches the Yaris but is smaller than you’ll find in a Honda Jazz, Renault Clio, Seat Ibiza or VW Polo. 

That said, when we tested the Yaris, we still managed to fit four carry-on suitcases in its boot. Ultimately, that means the 2 Hybrid should easily swallow your weekly shop. 

Practicality overview 

Strengths Enough space for most buyers; decent amount of interior storage spaces

Weaknesses Small boot; rivals have more interior space

Blue Mazda 2 Hybrid boot open

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Despite being based on the Toyota Yaris, the Mazda 2 Hybrid will actually cost you more to buy outright. In fact, apart from the more expensive Honda Jazz, the 2 Hybrid will cost you more than all its small-car rivals. As such, you’ll want to make sure you get the best price by checking our New Car Deals pages

Luckily, it’s predicted to hold its value at about the same rate as the Jazz and should depreciate more slowly than a Yaris or VW Polo. If you’re buying on PCP finance, that can have an effect on how much you’ll pay each month, potentially decreasing your payments.

Even better news is just how efficient the 2 Hybrid promises to be, with official figures quoting a combined figure of just over 74mpg. We doubt you’ll get quite that high in the real world, but considering the Yaris managed 59.9mpg combined and 80mpg around town in our Real MPG testing you shouldn’t be too far off. 

Trim wise, we’d stick to the entry-level Centre-Line trim because it keeps the cost down and gets plenty of standard equipment. That list includes 15in alloy wheels, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing front wipers, air conditioning, a reversing camera and a touchscreen infotainment system.

Exclusive-Line comes with all that, but with 16in alloy wheels instead, plus keyless start and parking sensors. 

The two top trims, Homura and Homura Plus, get 17in wheels, LED headlights, dual-zone air-con, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, front sports seats and wireless phone-charging. The main difference is that Homura Plus also gets a 12.3in digital dashboard, a panoramic glass roof, a head-up display and the bigger infotainment screen.

While Mazda performed fairly well in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey – finishing in 13th place out of the 32 included brands – Toyota did even better, claiming second place.

You also get a more generous 10-year/100,000-mile warranty with the Yaris (if you service it annually at an official dealership) than the 2 Hybrid. Mazda gives you a fairly standard three years or 60,000 miles warranty.

When it comes to safety, the 2 Hybrid scored the full five stars when it was tested by the experts at Euro NCAP. Unsurprisingly, it matched the Yaris’s score exactly, but looking deeper into the scores shows that the Jazz scored slightly better in almost all areas. 

You get plenty of standard safety kit, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assist and a system that monitors driver attention. Stepping up to Exclusive-Line trim adds blind-spot assist, while the two top specs also get rear cross-traffic alert and a system that’ll brake to stop you reversing into something.

Costs overview 

Strengths Lots of standard kit; efficient engine; slow depreciation

Weaknesses More expensive than a Yaris; short warranty compared to Toyota's

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Mazda 2 Hybrid interior driver display

FAQs

  • Yes – under the skin, a Mazda 2 Hybrid is almost identical to the Toyota Yaris.

  • Yes, meaning that you’ll never have to plug it in to get the hybrid perks.

  • Pretty much everything, including styling inside and out, the engine choices, pricing and the equipment you can have on each.

At a glance
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Target Price from £22,693
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RRP price range £24,130 - £29,230
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)1
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)hybrid
MPG range across all versions 74.3 - 74.3
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,006 / £1,219
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £2,012 / £2,438
Available colours