By on May 22, 2013


A report from Just-Auto suggests that the next Mazda2 will “use [a] downsized CX-5 platform”. While this is technically true, the headline is a bit misleading.

The platform used by the Mazda CX-5 is the same platform that underpins the Mazda6 as well as the upcoming Mazda3. Not only will Mazda be using it to underpin the Mazda2, but it looks like all of their future transverse, front-drive cars will adopt it. This is great news for anyone who likes to drive, as every vehicle so far that uses it is a superb car to drive.

This is also good news for Toyota. The next iteration of their Yaris is supposed to be built by Mazda using the Mazda2 platform at the company’s new Mexican factory. The Yaris is a bit of a dull drive to say the least, but if it really is sharing Mazda’s new scalable architecture, that should change things quite dramatically. The ability to amortize the costs of one architecture across multiple product lines should also be a huge help to Mazda. As Japan’s last “independent” auto maker, keeping its costs under control is crucial in an era of consolidation and shaky economic fundamentals.

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19 Comments on “Mazda Expanding Scalable Platform To B Segment; Does That Mean The Next Yaris Won’t Suck?...”

  • avatar

    Good news, glad Toyota is leveraging Mazda’s superior driving dynamics expertise.

    • 0 avatar

      The suspension might still be tuned for that tame Toyota feel…

      Believe it or not, that tame/bland/boring feel an important part of the brand — and my wife is actually a bit disconcerted by driving anything else.

      If they really are mostly badge engineered twins, you’ll be able to put a few hundred dollars worth of Mazda parts on it and make it fun. I see a new low-cost tuner car. :-)

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I think some enthusiasts forget that Toyotas ride soft not from engineering incompetence, but because they are intentionally designed that way for a consumer who expects and prefers it.

        • 0 avatar

          Bland cats for a bland lifestyle.

          Hey, I resemble that remark! :-)

        • 0 avatar

          Exactly, I love reading enthusiasts rags but whenever I see a good car downgraded for riding comfortable over rough pavement I know it will outsell the ‘handling’ winner. I drive hard and I know it but most people see vehicles as transportation and nothing more.

  • avatar

    …the current 2 adroitly outhandles its larger siblings: certainly weight has something to do with that, but i hope mazda can retain its secret sauce when the 2 moves to a shared platform with its less-weildy stablemates…

    …shopping for a suburban utility vehicle this spring, i went into the mazda dealership fully intending to buy a ‘speed 3, but ended up leaving in a 2 for just that reason; daily-driving a lotus has spoiled my expectations…

  • avatar

    It is no guaranty that scaling a great platform produces a great car. (Scaling has limits.) I fully expect the next Mazda2/Yaris to be fun, but that is based more on Mazda’s experience than the fact they are using a proven platform, albeit in a much larger package.

    I haven’t seen anything yet on how different the Mazda2/Yaris will be. I guess the Miata/Alfa partnership may be a model for this one, in which case, the Yaris may have a different drivetrain and numerous other differences. I expect Mazda will put their new tech into the 2, but does anyone know if they will let it be sold as a Toyota? It doesn’t seem they are letting Alfa do it, so I don’t know.

    Also, if Mazda continues their MO, a lot of people will complain about the new cars being underpowered. But I hope these cars get the same level of efficiency as the Japanese Demio (best guess converting from the Japanese std: 40 mpg real-world).

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I’m not concerned about the Yaris, because Toyota is catering to a particular demographic that is only concerned with basic, inexpensive transportation (at which they are undercut by the Nissan Versa anyway). I’m thinking, however, that this modular platform a big deal for The Japanese Company That Deserves To Have A Much Larger Product-Line.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Driving dynamics aren’t the only problem with the Yaris. In fact, I’d say they are the least of them. First address the godawful orangutan driving position, then the completely outclassed powertrain. Then an interior that isn’t vying for cheapest in class. A subcompact needs to be a liveable daily driver first and foremost.

    This coming from a 2007 Yaris owner who saw few of the car’s drawbacks addressed in the redesign. It was a strong B-class entry that has since been blitzed by all of its competition.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    One only need to set the Wayback Machine to the days of the Mazda 6 and Forde Prob (sic) both being built on the same platform at the same factory in Flat Rock, MI. While making fun-to-drive cars out of the thin air seems to be Mazda’s core competence, achieving significant product differentiations on the same assembly line seems to run a close second. Good for you Mazda!

  • avatar

    I’ve driven a CX-5, I’ve driven a Mazda6 (both the last one and the current one), and I’ve driven the current 3 (actually a Mazdaspeed3 to boot). If I had to choose a midsize mainstreamer – but I could choose any one – I think it would take me less than 2 seconds to choose the 6.

    On the other hand I’m wary of co-production of the 2/Yaris. That’s had a very shaky history over here. Matrix/Volt? Prism/Corolla? Colorado-Canyon/IMax? TrailBlazer/Ascender? Frontier/Equator? Caravan-Town & Country/Routan? There’s a recurring history of one manufacturer’s co-commitment being vastly overshadowed by the other and suffering almost no promotion – or in a few cases, both vehicles suffering the same fate.

    • 0 avatar

      But what causes that lack of promotion? The Corolla Matrix (you meant Vibe, not Volt) still exists as does the Corolla (don’t forget Chevy Nova). So does the Colorado/Canyon, and the Frontier, and the Caravan/T&C. It works just fine for the platform-owner. The TrailBlazer is gone because very few companies make cars like that any more, and trying to use Isuzu as an example is probably not helpful.

      Toyota currently makes the Yaris in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and China, in addition to Japan. I’m assuming it’s just North America production that will go to Mexico, and Asian production will stay where it is.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Hopefully this “improved” Yaris’ reliability will not go down to the level of the Mazda 2

  • avatar

    The Mazda 2 drives no differently than the Yaris, and I’ve driven both several times. The interior of the Yaris is also far better, with soft touch surfaces on the dash and the door panels – of which there is ZERO on the Mazda 2.

    The Yaris needs an updated powertrain, but it does not need to be changed as far as handling, ride, and interior quality, especially to lesser Mazda standards.

  • avatar

    So I guess this means that yet another reason to avoid future versions of the Yaris (as if I needed another) will be their tendency to transform into a pile of rust as quickly as a Mazda.

  • avatar

    This pretty much means that every Mazda will be the same car basically, save for the Miata.

    I never really wanted a slight touch of sport with the Yaris, just dependable transportation, humble looks (thats been thrown out recently), reasonable mpg, and a cheap price.

  • avatar

    Whatever Mazda produces in Mexico, wont be Yaris.

    It may (?) replace Yaris in NA… but it wont be Yaris… Yaris is international model that sells about 350-400k a year, and its platform mates probably sell over million together.

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