Posts Tagged ‘mazda2’

What?! Here’s Why the 2016 Mazda2 Won’t Be Sold in the US

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

2016 Mazda2

Get this – the new Mazda2 subcompact that’s gotten so much attention this past year will NOT be sold in the US in 2016. Even though Mazda is manufacturing the new Mazda2 just south of the border in their brand-new factory in Salamanca, Mexico, top US executives apparently “decided it wasn’t a priority,” at least according to an interview between Robert Davis, Senior VP of US Operations, and Automotive News.

Here’s why: it turns out that a Mazda doesn’t have the production capacity in their new plant to make enough Mazda2 hatchbacks for every single market. So, last year when the global office was allocating units of their new subcompact, executives from the US politely bowed out of the conversation. Davis says, “We could have had it, but we would have had a number that didn’t make much sense with 600 dealers and with the marketing it takes to launch a new car.”

In other words, Mazda US would’ve had to either A) only send Mazda2s to a select few of their dealerships, which doesn’t make sense, or B) go through the trouble of marketing a new car on a national level only to have a small number of models available per dealership, which also doesn’t make sense. Plus, Mazda only sold 13.5k units of the 2014 Mazda2 last year, which may be a 14% increase year-over-year, but not enough to make it worth the trouble, especially when Americans are trending towards crossovers.

“I wanted to allocate resources to those products that make us and our dealers considerably more profit than a Mazda2 does,” Davis said. “It’ll always be there if we need it.” Apparently, Davis doesn’t see the US branch of the brand needing a fuel-sipping subcompact anytime soon when the crossover segment is exploding and gas prices remain low.

2016 Scion iA sedan

Fortunately, the awesome new Mazda2 will still make it into the US, but not under the Mazda name. Remember the partnership between Mazda and Toyota? Well, Toyota will adopt the subcompact into their lineup as the new Scion iA sedan for the 2016 model year, which is built on the same platform and manufactured at the same Salamanca plant as the Mazda2.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Mazda Demio (aka. Mazda2)

2014 Mazda Demio

Although you won’t be able to buy the 2016 Mazda2 through any US dealerships, if past trends are any indication, the new car will do just fine in Japan. Anytime you have an extremely popular car, it always finds its way into auction houses, so come back this time next year and you’ll probably be able to get a near-new Mazda2 of your very own.

2014 Mazda Demio rear

In the meantime, this 2014MY is in excellent shape with an overall auction rating of 5, and a near immaculate exterior. This would’ve been the last year that the old pre-SkyActiv Mazda2 was available, but it was still a perfectly good car. Edmunds said the 2014MY was a good buy for its surprisingly sporty handling and simple-to-operate controls, plus an affordable price-tag (made even more so by being up for auction).

Want more details? Get a full translation of the auction sheet below:

2014 Mazda Demio auction sheet

“Interior B, exterior condition A, first registered October 2014, 13S model, FAT, AAC, first time in auction, MazdaSpeed front under skirt and rear roof spoiler and side skirts, rear view reversing camera, original navigation system, ABS, airbag, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, minor interior grime, scratches under bumpers, marks as per map”


Mazda & Toyota to Swap Green Technology, Including FCV

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Toyota-Mazda

As emissions regulations continue to tighten around the world, Toyota and Mazda are considering expanding their current partnership to include the sharing of more fuel-saving technology. Specifically, the new agreement would involve the sharing of Toyota’s fuel-cell technology. In a surprising turn of events, that could mean we will see a Mazda FCV even before we see one from Honda.

The news of this latest “competitive cooperation” in the auto industry comes from Nikkei. We already knew that Mazda was planning to manufacture a Toyota-badged version of their all-new Mazda2 hatch sometime towards the end of this year in exchange for Toyota’s hybrid technology. Now, as emissions regulations tighten up and development of green technology becomes subsequently more expensive, the two automakers are looking to help each other out.

2015 Mazda2

In exchange for Toyotas hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technology, Mazda intends to provide Toyota with the mechanics behind their efficient petrol engine technology – SkyActiv. The result is a win-win arrangement for both automakers:

  • Toyota gets better engines for their own portfolio (which have fallen behind the advancement of their hybrid counterparts, relatively speaking), AND increased proliferation of hydrogen technology.
  • Mazda gets access to the world’s leading FCV technology – development of which they could never do on their own with their limited budget.

Toyota has already made some of their key hydrogen fuel-cell patents available for free to any and all of their competitors. Again, the reasoning is that the more automakers working on fuel-cell vehicles, the quicker the hydrogen refueling infrastructure can grow. As it stands, there are only 12 hydrogen refueling stations in the US.

Meanwhile, Mazda has about one tenth the R&D budget of Toyota, who just announced an $18.1 billion profit for the fiscal year. They’ve spent the past several years focused entirely on fuel-efficient conventional engines, which has left them sorely lacking in the electrification department. The pre-existing technology partnership has helped, but gaining Toyota’s FCV technology would really put them head-and-shoulders above many of their larger competitors.

Although nothing has been put in writing just yet, officials from both automakers have been cited saying that their partnership will only expand with time. In the future, Toyota and Mazda could continue sharing more parts, manufacturing and even commercial vehicles, in addition to green technology. The two automakers have very similar perspectives when it comes to manufacturing and development; they both want to sell simple, clean cars without any real flaws.


Sporty Mazda2 MPS Officially Under Consideration

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Mazda fans all over the world have been begging for a return of the Mazda Performance Series sub-brand, otherwise known as MPS or MAZDASPEED, for ages. However, Mazda has been too busy launching their line of new Skyactiv models to oblige their performance-oriented fans.

Mazda MPS logo

Today, we learned that Mazda has heard the demand, and they’re working on a solution. More specifically, it looks like the new Mazda2 may be the first car to receive the MPS treatment.

First hints of the news originally came at the Mazda2’s international launch from an interview between Australian auto blog CarAdvice and Mazda’s global sales and marketing manager, Yasuhiro Aoyama. He describes that the most likely scenario would be for the Japanese automaker to create a sports variant of their new city car as the model ages into its mid-life cycle.

2015 Mazda2

Aoyama said, “One of the challenges we are currently considering is how to maintain the product competitiveness throughout the lifecycle. Once we introduce one [new] model, [its] competitiveness will gradually deteriorate… So we need to maintain the competitiveness of the vehicles.”

He goes on to say that a sportier version would work for many markets, and that it’s definitely one of the primary options on the table. Another Mazda exec., Kengo Fukushima, ecstatically explained that he would love to have a viable competitor to the Ford Fiesta ST, and that a Mazda2 MPS could be the car to do that. However, he carefully disclaims that there are “no plans yet”.

The other interview we have comes from European auto blog, Autocar, and the Mazda2’s chief engineer, Ayumu Doi. Apparently, Doi was emphatic that the MPS sub-brand was absolutely “not dead”; instead, Mazda is carefully evaluating how they can apply their ‘Fun to drive’ mantra to a more performance-oriented model. Clearly, there are be very high expectations for any new MPS car.

Even with those extremely high expectations in mind, Doi said that Mazda would NOT forsake their Skyactiv technology and principles in favor of bespoke performance parts (like how the new Infiniti Q60 will use Mercedes-sourced engines). Instead, they would focus on chassis improvements and powertrain tuning to manufacture an MPS variant that would feel legitimately sporty without sacrificing the brand’s hard-earned image.

Mazda 2 Sporty Sketch

Either way, we’re thrilled to hear that a Mazda MPS revival is anywhere close to the drawing board. And, that we’re not the only ones wanting sportier Mazda models. As Aoyama said to CarAdvice, “We have similar requests [for MPS models] from many regions… The sportier way should be one of the best ways for Mazda to pick up and continue to raise our revenue level.”


Mazda Shows Off Seven Aftermarket Models Before Tokyo Salon

Posted by Stephen On Sunday, December 21st, 2014

2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata Track Edition

We’ve had a lot of teasers come in over the past few weeks for the 2015 Detroit Motor Show, which is just a few weeks away in early January. However, on the other side of the world will be a not-quite-as-hyped automotive event of a slightly different nature. It’s the 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon – different from the Tokyo Motor Show – where automakers will show off aftermarket tuned versions of their normal lineup. Today, Mazda has given us a preview of seven tuned-up cars they’ll show off next month.

For starters, Mazda plans to show off the recently announced track addition of the 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata (top). This is the car that goes hand-in-hand with last month’s announcement of a new Global Cup that Mazda will begin hosting next year at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California. Mazda hadn’t given us any tech. specs with the initial announcement, so we hope they’ll enlighten us when the car breaks ground next month in Tokyo.

Tuned 2015 Mazda CX-3

Equally as exciting is the tuned up version of the new Mazda CX-3, seen above. You’ll notice that the aftermarket CX-3 rides a little bit lower than the all-new model we saw last month in Los Angeles. As for the kit itself, Mazda has added some really slick black rims, and a rather NISMO-looking bodykit if we do say so ourselves.

Tuned 2015 Mazda Demio Racing Concept

That NISMO-inspired theme continues with the Demio Racing Concept (aka. the Mazda2, above-top) and the hatchback version of the Mazda3 (aka. the Mazda Axela, not shown). Both cars get the minimalistic black, white and red treatment with new sideskirts and spoilers. Just imagine a slightly longer version of the Demio shown here, and that’s exactly what the Mazda3 hatch looks like.

Aftermarket 2015 Mazda 3 Axela Sedan

Things take a more vibrant direction with the sedan version of the Mazda3, shown above. The alloy rims fitted to the aftermarket Axela sedan are much more rugged, and the overall design is stouter than that of the hatchback. It feels somehow fuller, especially with the decals Mazda’s added along the side of the car… Black accents running just above the sideskirts, and a subtler gray streak that perfectly accents the feline body lines of the extra sporty 3.

Tuned 2015 Mazda Atenza

However, that extra sporty, track-ready theme isn’t the only look Mazda will go for at the 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon. The 2015 Mazda Atenza, what we know as the Mazda6, was previewed for us above with a classier and more refined body kit. The exterior is a pearlescent onyx black with sleek and chrome accents, with thin twin-spoke black alloys that blend perfectly into the body.

Tuned 2015 Mazda CX-5

The 2015 Mazda CX-5, which was already getting the refresh treatment for the new year, is also shown for us in that premium-feeling onyx black. What we particularly like about the SUV kit is the grille – notice in the image above how the lines are slightly thicker and more spread out than in any of the other models. That’s a design trick that’s very fitting for the larger car’s figure, and the new alloy rims showcase a similar design style.

2015 Mazda Tokyo Auto Salon

Of course, it’s perfectly possible that Mazda will bring three aftermarket versions of each of the seven models to the Tokyo Salon – one for each fo the color-schemes shown here. One of the preview images, seen above, shows the Demio Racing Concept in all three colors, so if we’re lucky, we’ll see 21 actual Mazdas on stage when doors open next month.


Japanese Car Auction Find – 2012 Mazda Demio Hatchback

Posted by Stephen On Friday, October 24th, 2014

Today we’re commemorating the recent winner of Japan’s Car of the Year with a truly fantastic auction find. You’ll recall that this year’s JCOTY winner was the all-new 2015 Mazda2, otherwise known as the Mazda Demio in the Japanese market where it just went on sale.

2012 Mazda Demio 13-SKYACTIV front

Of course, there won’t be any 2015 Mazda2s up for auction for a few months yet, but we’ve scoured our database to find a suitable alternative. Today’s find is a near-mint condition 2012 Mazda Demio in a fresh, cobalt blue:

There are a few special traits that separate this particular Demio from other models, but before we talk about today’s auction find, you should know how I found it. Once you’re inside the Integrity Exports Japanese car auction database, simply enter the Maker (Mazda) and the Model (Demio) and you’ll be greeted by over 300 hatchbacks that’re up for auction today.

We chose to highlight a 2012 Mazda Demio in the 13-SKYACTIV trim, and there are a few reasons why:

2012 Mazda Demio 13-SKYACTIV rear

First, 2012 puts this model in the latter half of the third-generation’s production, and this model would’ve been manufactured right after a minor facelift for the lineup. It’s as stylish as you can get pre-Kodo.

Second, the 13-SKYACTIV trim was launched in Japan in June of 2011. It introduced Mazda’s highly-acclaimed SkyActiv technology suite to the Demio lineup, including the 1.3L SKYACTIV-G engine, Mazda’s new i-Stop system and a SkyActiv CVT. Together, these technologies helped the Mazda Demio 13-SKYACTIV win 2011-12 Car Technology of the Year in Japan by having the “best balance of pleasing driving and environmental concern.”

If you’re wondering just how good the fuel economy is, this conventional gas-powered hatchback boasts an incredible 25 km/l using Japan’s JC08 test cycle, which equates to roughly 58 mpg. And that’s in front-wheel drive, in case you were wondering.

2012 Mazda Demio 13-SKYACTIV interior

Looking at the interior image above, you’ll see that this model features plush, cross-stitched fabric seats to go along with a well-kept cabin. Amenities include automatic air conditioning, built-in navigation, power windows and mirrors, and a newly redesigned dash for the 2012MY.

As a stylish and fuel-efficient supermini, this is a splendid auction find for anyone wanting a newer car with excellent all-around ratings. The overall vehicle is rated 5 and the interior is graded A, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find a used car anywhere in better condition than this one.

If you’d like to learn more about today’s Japanese car auction find, continue reading below the auction sheet for a full translation:

2012 Mazda Demio 13-SKYACTIV auction sheet

Here is the translation:

“Interior A, first registered July 2012, DBA omissions code, 13 Skyactiv model, AT, AAC, service book, power steering, power windows, original TV and navigation system, airbag, one owner, smart key, digital TV, reversing rearview camera, i-Stop, 4912 km, wheels scratched, minor scratches, other marks as per map”


All-New Mazda2 Claims Japan’s Car of the Year Award

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

2015 Mazda2 Demio

Thanks to the recent Paris Motor Show, we’ve spent the past two weeks talking about all the new Japanese cars we can expect to see over the next couple of years. Today, we’re going to continue in that direction by celebrating the newly announced recipient for the 2014-2015 Japanese Car Of The Year award.

This year’s recipient?

The all-new 2015 Mazda2, otherwise known as the Mazda Demio in the automaker’s home market where the hatchback has already launched.

This is excellent news for rogue Japanese automaker, Mazda. Their newly redesigned supermini hasn’t even hit European or American shores yet, and already it’s winning awards thanks to its simple-but-efficient SkyActiv technology and suave Kodo – Spirit of Motion design language.

Japan’s Car of the Year was decided at the National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation in Tokyo Bay.

Throughout the day, it was looking like the Mercedes C-class would come out on top, but in the final stretch Mazda’s city car managed to pull ahead with 423 points compared to Mercedes’ 404. Both cars came out above the third place BMW i3, which ended the day with 340 votes, and the top three were all head and shoulders above the rest… The fourth place Subaru Levorg had just 124 votes then polls closed.

Here’s how the judging works:

  1. 60 automotive experts and journalists from around Tokyo Bay are given 25 points to vote with.
  2. Each judge must give their first choice 10 points, and no more than 10 points can be allocated to any choice.
  3. The car with the most points at the end of the day wins!

Fun fact: Some quick math will tell you that 600 is the maximum points a car can receive. The closest any car ever came to getting max points was last year when the VW Golf got 504/600.

2015 Mazda2 Demio Interior

For those who don’t remember, this is the second time in three years that one of Mazda’s new SkyActiv cars has won Japan’s prestigious Car of the Year award. In 2012, the Mazda CX-5 won the award over the Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT-86 twins. It was the first-ever car Mazda released with their SkyActiv suite and Kodo design language.

Of course, Mazda knows what they did right to win the award yet again. At the event, Mazda EVP Kiyoshi Fujiwara said, “With the Mazda 2, we have rewritten the rulebook for compact cars. Our new SkyActiv technology, excellent mileage, reasonable pricing and unique design all contributed to our victory today.”

Consider this a reminder to keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming 2015 Mazda2 when it hits North American and European shores early next year.


Demio / Mazda2-Based Hot Hatch is Officially “Under Consideration”

Posted by Stephen On Monday, August 25th, 2014

2015 Mazda2 Demio

For many years now, Mazda fans all over the world have been asking for a performance-oriented hatchback. Before the introduction of the all-new SKYACTIV Mazda2, the Zoom-Zoom automaker’s only reaction to these pleas came in the form of ethereal concepts and show cars that could never realistically make it to production. With the new Mazda2/Demio’s release, however, it seems like things have changed. Mazda is now officially “considering” a Mazda2-based performance model.

If a Mazda hot hatch ever made it to production, it would compete with the likes of the VW Polo GTI, the Fiat 500 Abarth, and the Seat Ibiza Cupra, with a representative saying it would most closely compete with the Ford Fiesta ST. Unfortunately, we have no word on whether or not this theoretical car would ever make it to US shores, even if it did make it to production.

Still, one can dream.

According to an interview between Australian automotive news outlet CarAdvice.com.au and Mazda sales and marketing manager Yasuhiro Aoyama, a sporty Mazda2 could refresh market interest in the now-new model sometime down the road. He elaborated, saying, “One of the challenges we are currently considering is how to maintain the product competitiveness throughout the lifecycle. Once we introduce one model, the competitiveness will gradually deteriorate… So we need to maintain the competitiveness of the vehicles.”

In other words, Mazda knows that their time in the limelight – including all the press about SKYACTIV and Kodo – won’t last forever, and therefore they need a realistic plan to maintain growth. Apparently, offering a mid-cycle performance variant for select models is looking like a good way to do it. For the Mazda2, he said, “A sportier version would work [for some markets]. We are currently considering any kind of potential… And the sportier version is definitely one of the considerations.”

2008 Mazdaspeed2 Concept

In fact, Mazda has already given some thought to what their hot hatch would be called, using a name first seen all the way back in 2008 – the Mazdaspeed2, a 2008 concept of which is pictured above. In other markets, it would be known as the Mazda2 MPS.

Whatever you call it, the new sporty hatchback would likely feature the same compact turbocharged engine that’s currently being developed for the new Mazda MX-5 Miata, which we should see before the end of this year. Additional tweaks would also need to be made to the current Mazda2’s mechanics and chassis, including performance-tuned brakes and a stiffer suspension, along with several aerodynamic modifications.

In the end, it sounds like we definitely won’t get a sporty Mazda2 anytime in the next year or two. But, Mazda has made it clear that they hear the pleas of their fans, and that a Mazda2 MPS is absolutely on the table, even if nothing’s concrete. Either way, the all-new Mazda2 is cool enough to keep any Mazda fan happy for a while, so we’re content sitting on our hands until we hear more.


2016 Demio / Mazda2 Hatchback Officially Revealed w/ Pics

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

We’ve been waiting to see the next-generation Mazda2 since the great-looking Hazumi Concept made its premiere at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. After an unexpected photo leak of the new production subcompact earlier this week, Mazda made the decision to release their full multi-media suite today as production officially began in Japan.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 2016 Mazda2, known in Japan as the Mazda Demio:

2016 Mazda2 Demio

Wow. That’s one slick lookin’ supermini, very reminiscent of the Mazda3 sedan and Mazda’s Kodo design language as a whole. There’s no doubt that this little car, complete with its characteristic shield-style grille and swooping linear body, will be winning some design awards when it finally makes its global launch this fall. Ultimately, though, Mazda’s greatest reward will be driver satisfaction, and they’ve devoted a lot of time and detail into making this car both fun to drive and easy-to-use.

2015 Mazda2 Demio pink

Let’s start with the powertrain. The new Mazda2 will likely be available with two or three different engine options, depending on the market you’re in. The baseline trim will run on a 1.3L SKYACTIV-G petrol engine outputting a conservative 77hp. This engine makes up for its low power with incredible fuel economy; Japan’s highway test cycle rated it at around 70mpg, which is probably ~45mpg by EPA standards. There’ll also be a bigger 1.5L SKYACTIV-G with 99hp which probably will be available in the US, and a 1.5L SKYACTIV-D diesel engine with 104hp which probably won’t.

Of course, the Mazda2’s fuel savings can be attributed to more than just the powertrain… The Skyactiv suite covers the chassis, transmission, aerodynamics and Mazda’s overall engineering principles for a simple but efficient approach to fuel economy.

2015 Demio Mazda2 interior

Looking inside, Mazda has overhauled the interior with a beautiful black and red color-scheme which more than holds up to the aesthetic standard set by the exterior. And it looks just as good in any of the other color-schemes available too; the interior is always tailored to match the exterior color of your specific vehicle. You’ll also find a redesigned driver-focused gauge cluster with a tablet touchscreen positioned on top of the dash, as seen below:

2015 Mazda2 Demio interior

This cool little gadget can be controlled by the dial at the driver’s side, which makes it easy to use on the road. Mazda says, “The [Mazda2] also features a wide range of cutting-edge technologies such as the Mazda Connect next-generation car connectivity system, and a wide range of i-ActivSense advanced safety features that aid the driver in recognizing and responding to hazards.”

As you can see, there’s a lot to look forward to in the 2016 Mazda2 subcompact hatchback. Mazda has stated that the new model will go on sale in Japan by the end of this year, and come to the US sometime during 2015. We’ll get more details about the car prior to its global launch, probably along with some big debut at the Tokyo, LA or Paris Motor Show this fall.


Next-Gen Mazda MX-5 Debut, Possible Mazda RX-7, Mazda2 PHEV

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

July has been a busy month for Mazda, and we’re not even halfway through! We’ve had two big rumors and one piece of official news, so let’s start things off with what we know for sure:

New Mazda MX-5 to Debut September 3

Anniversary Mazda MX-5 Miata

Last week Mazda confirmed that the fourth-generation of their MX-5 Miata Eunos Roadster sports coupe will make its global debut on September 3. The little Japanese roadster will be unveiled simultaneously at three separate events held in the US, Spain and Japan. The US debut will be of particular interest since it will be held in Monterey, California, which also happens to be the location of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any images of the new Mazda MX-5 Miata. What’s pictured above is the Miata’s 25th anniversary edition, first seen at this year’s New York Auto Show. However, it’s unlikely that this car will be the basis for the next-gen model. All we’ve seen is the new model’s chassis, which was also on display in New York. Fortunately, even though we haven’t seen anything from the new Miata, Mazda has given us something to hear:

Is there any sound sweeter? Mazda says that the fourth generation Miata will be “lighter, stronger and with a physical footprint more in tune with its first-generation predecessor than with its heavier, larger current-day cousin.”

Mazda2 RE PHEV Rumor

Our Australian colleagues over at Motoring.com.au reported earlier this week that Mazda “is almost certain to produce a plug-in hybrid version of its third-generation Mazda2.”

Apparently, even though they’ve had a lot of success with hyper-efficient conventional engines, Mazda would like to try their hand at a plug-in hybrid. However, the Mazda2 RE PHEV would only be available in markets with significant government support (aka. tax breaks), and that’s if it ever makes it to production at all. This is because the only way that a hybrid car could reduce more CO2 – both during manufacture and on the road – than Mazda’s current SkyActiv engines is if half of a car’s sales are of the hybrid model.

Revived Mazda RX-7 Sports Car

One final rumor, again from the folks over at Motoring, states that Mazda is considering reviving their RX-7 sports car. The RX-7 Series 1 launched all the way back in 1978, and Mazda sold 811,634 of the two-door coupes from then until the car was axed in 2002.

The defining characteristics of the original Mazda RX-7 were its Wankel rotary engine and its twin-scroll turbocharger. Together, these components enable up to 33% more engine power at higher revolutions than a naturally aspirated engine of the same displacement. Now, Mazda is thinking about bringing the technology back in full force in a new RX-7, which will reportedly output something in the ballpark of 450hp. If the new car does come to fruition, it will likely be built on the RX-8 platform and feature the brand’s new Kodo design language.

Unfortunately, Motoring estimates that we won’t see the new RX-7 until May of 2017. So, we’ve got a while to wait until we’ll know whether this particular rumor is true or false.

 


Does the Hazumi Concept Preview a Premium Mazda2 Variant?

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Mazda Hazumi Concept

Previously, we hinted that Mazda may develop a premium variant of the new Mazda2 hatchback. We already knew they were planning to launch five new cars by March 2016, and this new premium subcompact is allegedly the fifth of those five. The rumor was validated earlier this week when a Japanese magazine called Holiday Auto received anonymous insider confirmation of the luxury Mazda2.

As you continue reading, we’re going to look at what those sources say about this Hazumi-inspired hatch, as well as what you can expect from the car when it eventually hits showroom floors.

The Next-Generation Mazda Verisa

You might not know it, but Mazda already has a premium-ish subcompact in Japan, although it’s extremely outdated. It’s called the Mazda Verisa (pictured below), and it’s remained mostly untouched since its original launch in 2004, the last minor refresh being in 2009. To say that it’s overdue for an update would be an understatement. As it turns out, it’s in for not just an update, but a complete replacement. Apparently the Hazumi Concept (pictured above) previews some of what that replacement will be.

2014 Mazda Verisa

We already knew that the Hazumi Concept from Geneva was intended to herald the next-gen Mazda2. Nothing about that has changed. It’s just that we now know why Mazda chose to unveil this particular concept at a major European motor show – they intend for the Mazda2’s premium variant to contend with European favorites such as the MINI Cooper, Citroen DS3 and the Audi A1.

The new Verisa will take nothing from the current Verisa except its name. It’ll be a completely new model that shares its platform with the Mazda2, although it probably won’t share any sheet metal. Holiday Auto’s inside sources indicated that the new Mazda Verisa would be globally available (unlike the current JDM-only model), and that it’d likely be larger than the outgoing subcompact MPV.

The insider elaborated about the new Verisa, saying, “It’s a luxury compact city car targeting also female users. In Japan, essentially it will be [marketed as] the Verisa’s successor… Furthermore, it is likely to add a hot version similar to Mini’s Cooper S, for which a 2.2L SkyActiv-D will be used.”

Even if you’re not a Mazda enthusiast, surely you can get excited about a Japanese-made hot hatch entering the ring with the best of the best from European automakers. Hopefully the premium Hazumi would make it into the States; it’d be refreshing to have a diesel-powered performance hatchback available.

As you can see, in the end we really don’t know what Mazda plans to bring to the table with their new premium model. However, while the upcoming Mazda2 will likely give up some of the Hazumi Concept’s flair, we hope that the Verisa successor will get a little extra. Either way, current expectations schedule the new Mazda Verisa for a 2015 Geneva Motor Show debut, so we’ll know for sure by this time next year.