The Mazda 2 will soon enter its fourth generation.
The new engine, using Mazda’s Skyactiv-X technology, will join updated versions of the existing 1.5-litre turbo-diesel and 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated and mild-hybrid petrol four-cylinder engines.
The turbo-diesel is likely to remain exclusive to the Japanese market following its discontinuation in Europe.
Mazda has previously used the Skyactiv-X name on a four-cylinder petrol engine available in the Mazda 3 and CX-30, which uses a mixture of compression ignition and spark ignition across its rev band to improve fuel efficiency.
Exterior styling of the next Mazda 2 is expected to be an evolution of the current car’s, though both the wheelbase and overall length will be extended slightly.
Mazda has also reportedly shaved the 2’s kerb weight by around 100kg.
News of an imminent replacement for the Mazda 2 follows a couple of developments that suggested its future wasn’t assured.
A financial presentation from Mazda last year confirmed it would introduce a version of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid in Europe within the next couple of years.
Conversely, the North American Toyota Yaris – a Mazda 2 with unique front-end styling – was discontinued in both the US and Canada last year due to declining sales.
The current generation of Mazda 2 was launched locally in November 2014.
Mazda increased prices of the 2 by up to 30 per cent last year while simultaneously trimming the number of variants and adding more standard equipment.
With it and segment stalwart the Toyota Yaris increasing significantly in price, the MG 3 has been able to continue its meteoric rise and is now the best-selling car in the segment.
Mazda 2 sales are well down from the beginning of the current generation. In 2019, Mazda sold 8198 of the light hatch and sedan but managed to shift 14,511 examples in 2015, its first full year on the market.
Despite this, its share of the segment was essentially unchanged as the segment shrunk both in terms of total sales and the number of vehicles – Australians bought 106,451 cars in the Light under $25,000 segment in 2015 but just 60,810 in 2019.