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2022 Mazda 2 Hybrid revealed with a big twist: New Toyota Yaris Hybrid rival proves imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - obviously

The new Mazda2 Hybrid (pictured) is a Toyota Yaris Hybrid by another name.

Mazda has finally revealed the new Mazda2 Hybrid, but the ‘self-charging’ light hatchback might look more than a little familiar.

Yep, the Mazda2 Hybrid is, indeed, a rebadged Toyota Yaris Hybrid. Of course, collaborations between rivalling brands aren’t out of the ordinary these days, but rarely do you see one where badging is as far as the differentiation goes.

For example, Mazda and Isuzu partnered on the latest BT-50 and D-Max utes, and Toyota and Subaru have shared the 86 and BRZ sports cars for two generations, but meaningful efforts have been made to separate both pairs. That’s clearly not the case here.

Which brings us to why the Mazda2 Hybrid is now a reality. In Europe – where it will be sold – Mazda is among the brands needing to reduce their average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per vehicle sold to meet the European Union’s strict 95g/km limit.

But with its only all-electric model being the MX-30 Electric small SUV, and modest mild-hybrid powertrains available in select models ahead of the future rollout of lower-emissions plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), Mazda needed a helping hand in the interim.

Enter Toyota and the Yaris Hybrid, which has been rebadged as a Mazda2 Hybrid for sales in Mazda Europe showrooms. That means it comes with the same 85kW combination of a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol three-cylinder engine with an electric motor, for 87-93g/km.

Funnily enough, in some European markets, including the UK, the Mazda2 Hybrid will be sold alongside the actual Mazda2, saving buyers the hassle of heading down the road to a Toyota dealership to get a Yaris Hybrid instead.

Ironically, Mazda used to the supply the Mazda2 sedan to Toyota in the US, where it was sold as the Scion iA from 2016, later becoming the Yaris iA before being axed in 2020.

As reported, Toyota has also played saviour with Suzuki in Europe, with the Corolla Hybrid wagon and RAV4 PHEV mid-size SUV becoming the Swace and A-Cross respectively – but they were also given different front fascias in the process.