Will the Aborted Mazda 2 Line Finally Make It Here in Full?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
will the aborted mazda 2 line finally make it here in full

It’s already half here. The Toyota Yaris sedan, formerly the Scion iA, is the rebadged twin of the subcompact Mazda launched in Montreal in 2015. You’ll note that Mazda does not sell a second-generation 2 in North America, making that launch a relatively pointless endeavor for the automaker.

Now that Toyota has gone ahead and killed off the Toyota Yaris hatch (the Yaris that’s actually a Toyota), a space has opened up. Chances are good that the little hatch we didn’t get in 2015 will finally arrive in 2020, bearing another brand’s logo.

This speculation comes by way of Car and Driver, which secured word from Toyota spokesperson Nancy Hubbell that the mystery model arriving for the 2020 model year will indeed be a hatchback. Given Toyota’s subcompact partnership with Mazda, a rebadged 2 seems likely.

As we told you last week, the Toyota Yaris hatch (officially, “Liftback”) was not a strong performer in any sense of the word. Its four-speed automatic was one of the last on the market, and its sales amounted to a narrow sliver of the Yaris’ overall 2018 volume — 27,209 vehicles. The hatch’s sell-down helped drag Yaris volume down 38.7 percent last year, though the sedan model only fell 29.3 percent. Hardly a glowing result.

Like its first-generation predecessor, the Mazda 2 — and vehicles developed from it — are not as dreary to drive as the Yaris hatch. A new 2-based Yaris hatch would likely carry over the powertrain seen in the sedan, meaning a 1.5-liter four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic or manual, and boast similar front end styling. Why bother adding a new vehicle in a shrinking segment? Well, for starters, Toyota is keen on remaining a full-line brand, and the steady collapse of the subcompact segment actually offers an opportunity.

Ford’s Fiesta disappears this year, with Chevrolet’s Sonic likely to follow (it’s already dead in Canada). As automakers abandon the subcompact car segment, Toyota has an opportunity to collect remaining buyers. Once the Fiesta and Sonic fade from the scene, a subcompact buyer’s remaining choices amount to Yaris, Fit, Accent, Rio, and Versa — the latter of which is no one’s idea of a good time.

If Toyota truly plans to fulfill a promise Mazda made four years ago, we’ll know by April. The automaker expects to offer up details at the New York Auto Show.

[Images: Mazda, Toyota]

Join the conversation
2 of 15 comments
  • Conundrum Conundrum on Jan 30, 2019

    They do sell the Mazda2 here. It was given a permanent wave, nail manicure and optional AWD - they call it the CX-3, and sell it for far more money than a straight Mazda2 could ever command. No point in screwing up that gig.

  • Saturnotaku Saturnotaku on Feb 01, 2019

    The EPA website lists fuel economy numbers for a 2019 Mazda 2 with manual and automatic transmission.

  • SilverCoupe I am one of those people whose Venn diagram of interests would include Audis and Formula One.I am not so much into Forums, though. I spend enough time just watching the races.
  • Jeff S Definitely and very soon. Build a hybrid pickup and price it in the Maverick price range. Toyota if they can do this soon could grab the No 1 spot from Maverick.
  • MaintenanceCosts Would be a neat car if restored, and a lot of good parts are there. But also a lot of very challenging obstacles, even just from what we can see from the pictures. It's going to be hard to justify a restoration financially.
  • Jeff S Ford was in a slump during this era and its savior was a few years away from being introduced. The 1986 Taurus and Sable saved Ford from bankruptcy and Ford bet the farm on them. Ford was also helped by the 1985 downsize front wheel drive full sized GM cars. Lincoln in 1987 even spoofed these new full size GM cars in an ad basically showing it was hard to tell the difference between a Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile. This not only helped Lincoln sales but Mercury Grand Marquis and Ford Crown Victoria sales. For GM full size buyers that liked the downsized GM full size 77 to 84 they had the Panther based Lincoln Town Cars, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Ford Crown Victorias that were an alternative to the new GM front wheel drive full size cars that had many issues when they were introduced in 1985 and many of those issues were not resolved for several years. The Marks were losing popularity after the Mark Vs. 1985 was the last year for the rear wheel drive Olds Delta 88 and rear wheel drive Buick Lesabre the rear wheel Caprice and Caprice Classic 3rd generation continued till 1990 when it was redesigned. B Body Buick Estate wagons continued thru 1990 as the Olds Custom Cruiser wagon and both were redesigned. GM held onto a few rear wheel drive full size cars but the Lincoln ad really brought home the similarly looking front wheel drive full size cars. Lincoln's ad was masterful.
  • SCE to AUX Toyota the follower, as usual. It will be 5 years before such a vehicle is available.I can't think of anything innovative from them since the Gen 1 Prius. Even their mythical solid state battery remains vaporware.They look like pre-2009 General Motors. They could fall hard.