When Toyota recently launched the Corolla hatchback, we were pleased to see that the Japanese auto giant was still willing to give U.S. buyers a chance to own a tidy five door amid the relentless tidal wave of CUV and SUV demand that has already swallowed up other hatchback entries like the Focus and Fiesta. With the Corolla doing well in sales, Toyota has decided to extend the love to the smaller Yaris sedan, and has gifted the Mazda infused subcompact a hatchback variant of its own for 2020.
Unlike the Corolla hatchback, the smaller Yaris is essentially a reskinned Mazda2 hatch that is currently not sold in the United States, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. While the 2’s original foray into the U.S. did not pan out too well, it has still managed to build a solid reputation internationally, especially in regards to its handling behavior. The exterior styling of the Yaris hatch is (like the sedan) a mixture of two worlds with the front fascia being grafted from the fore-mentioned four door. Its hexagonal grille and slick headlights are pure Toyota, while the rear end is where Mazda’s DNA really shows, and it manages to have a subtle sporty flair to it too that should allow it to standout to hatchback buyers. Toyota also draws attention to the “bold cab-forward” design, but this is largely the same familiar script that the Mazda 2 is already known for, albeit with Toyota cues.
When the Yaris hatchback does eventually make its way to dealers, it will only be available in either LE or XLE trim, but both of them will still offer a very nice arsenal of standard equipment. Stylish 16-inch aluminum wheels, body colored mirrors, fog lights, and a handsome chrome exhaust tip are just some of the exterior upgrades that are on tap for the Yaris hatchback. The interior of the Yaris hatchback is still budget focused, but buyers will be rewarded with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, as well as a built in voice recognition feature that allows occupants to navigate to various menus with simple voice commands. A rear backup camera is also standard fare, along with a host of other safety equipment including automatic emergency braking.
Performance for the Yaris hatchback is shared with the rest of the Yaris family, which means the wheezy 1.5 liter four cylinder engine is the sole offering available, With 105 horsepower on tap, it might not be the stoutest engine on the planet, but like our time in the Yaris sedan, look for the hatchback to be an entry that adds a little spark to the daily commute. Unfortunately, it appears that the manual transmission that is offered on the 2 and the Yaris four door will not be offered here, with a six speed automatic being the sole transmission offered for U.S. customers. While this might offend purists, the extremely low take rate for manual transmissions in general does make this decision a very understandable one.
Toyota is also very keen on highlighting the high levels of maneuverability that the Yaris hatchback brings to the table. While the GTI and other hot hatches will not lose too much sleep over this spirited subcompact, we think its 32.2 turning circle is very commendable, and allows the car to make maximum use of its 161 inch length. Look for these compact dimensions to allow the car to excel in tight urban commuting, including narrow parking jobs.
Toyota did not reveal any pricing or availability information for the 2020 Yaris hatchback, but it is confirmed that it will make its appearance at the 2019 New York Auto Show later this month. Hopefully the fore-mentioned information will appear by this point, but we anticipate pricing to largely reflect what is seen on the sedan variant, with base models starting at just under $20,000.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.