• 2016 Mazda2 exterior images officially released
  • The Mazda2's styling largely mirrors the larger Mazda3's look
  • The latest Mazda2 should go on sale early next year

Mazda has officially released several preview images of its upcoming Mazda2 subcompact hatchback. The automaker recently showed the pictures online, a few months ahead of the car's official debut at the Paris Motor Show in October.

On the outside, the Mazda2 looks exactly as you might expect: a lot like a smaller version of the Mazda3. It uses the brand's KODO - Soul of Motion design language, which includes flowing curves, aggressive headlights and a distinctive grille that prominently features the Mazda badge.

In back, differences between the Mazda3 and Mazda2 are clearer. While the Mazda3 has a relatively large cargo area, the Mazda2 seems like it's cut short in back, in keeping with its petite, subcompact dimensions. The rear hatch, however, boasts the same clean lines as the Mazda3 hatchback's tailgate.

Inside, the Mazda2 also takes a lot of cues from its larger Mazda3 stablemate. The steering wheel and gauge cluster, for instance, look like they're lifted right out of the Mazda3, as does the stick-on infotainment system located above the center control stack. There are some differences, including circular air vents and, of course, a smaller overall feel than the larger Mazda3.

Aside from showing off the Mazda2's styling, Mazda has been surprisingly tight-lipped about details regarding its upcoming subcompact hatchback. Powertrain information, for instance, has not yet been announced, though most industry observers expect the Mazda2 to carry the brand's 1.5-liter Skyactiv 4-cylinder. That engine will make around 100 horsepower and offer 111 lb-ft of torque, meaning its specs will be largely similar to the current car.

Speaking of the current car, Mazda's first-generation Mazda2 came out for the 2011 model year. Facing intense competition, sales haven't been especially brisk; Mazda hopes to change with the all-new model. We'll find out if the brand is successful when the 2016 Mazda2 goes on sale early next year.

What it means to you: If the latest Mazda2 is anything like the larger Mazda3 and Mazda6, it'll be a strong contender in the subcompact car segment.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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