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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • 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.

  • Leonard Ostrander We own a 2017 Buick Envision built in China. It has been very reliable and meets our needs perfectly. Of course Henry Ford was a fervent anti-semite and staunch nazi sympathizer so that rules out Ford products.
  • Ravenuer I would not.
  • V8fairy Absolutely no, for the same reasons I would not have bought a German car in the late 1930's, and I am glad to see a number of other posters here share my moral scruples. Like EBFlex I try to avoid Chinese made goods as much as possible. The quality may also be iffy, but that is not my primary concern
  • Tsarcasm No, Japan only. Life costs by Rank:#1 - House (150k+)#2 - Education (30k+)#3 - Automobile (30k+) why waste hard earned money in inferior crap => Korean, Chinese, and American cars are trash. a toyota or honda will last twice as long.
  • Tassos In the 90s we hired a former PhD student and friend of mine, who 'worked' at GM "Research" labs, to come work for us as a 'temp' lecturer and get paid extra. He had no objection from GM, came during the day (around 2 PM), two hours drive round trip, plus the 1.5 hour lecture, twice weekly. (basically he goofed off two entire afternoons out of the five) He told me they gave him a different model new car every month, everything (even gas) paid. Instead of him paying parking, I told him to give me the cars and I drove them for those 90 mins, did my shopping etc. Almost ALL sucked, except the Eldo coupe with the Northstar. That was a nice engine with plenty of power (by 90s standards). One time they gave him the accursed Caddy Catera, which was as fun driving as having sex with a fish, AND to make it worse, the driver's door handle broke and my friend told me GM had to pay an arm and a leg to fix it, needed to replace almost the whole damned door!