Toyota will partner with Mazda to tack on an SUV to its Prius hybrid lineup

Toyota has firmly solidified its expertise in the hybrid vehicle segment, and now the Japanese automaker is looking to trade its technology with other automakers whom have alternate proficiencies.

We’ve seen this teamwork via a partnership with BMW for Toyota’s upcoming Supra and BMW’s Z4, and through the co-developed Scion iA, based on the Mazda2. Now Toyota will team up with Mazda once more for a new project: a hybrid SUV.

If Toyota is the expert when it comes to hybrids, then Mazda is equally dominant regarding lightweight construction and efficient engines. Now that Toyota wants to build a hybrid SUV to round out its range of Prius models, Mazda has a lot to offer, and a lot to gain.

Toyota will reportedly borrow Mazda’s 1.5-liter SkyActiv diesel engine, which will pair with Toyota’s electric motor for a torque-filled, fuel-efficient hybrid setup.

The results will likely take shape as a production version of Toyota’s C-HR Concept that debuted at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. This would complement Toyota’s compact Prius C, standard Prius, and stretched Prius V offerings.

Mazda, on the other hand, would be developing its first electric vehicle, something it desperately needs to help comply with California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) regulations. It’s unclear whether Mazda would slot Toyota’s technology into one of its own crossovers – perhaps the new CX3 – or whether it would also borrow the production C-HR guise.

Toyota may also build just an internal combustion engine version of the C-HR to help it appeal to the European market. Considering the latest Mazda vehicles achieve EPA fuel economy figures that rival some hybrids, Toyota could greatly benefit from such frugal gas and diesel engines.

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