Toyota’s new Yaris looks more European than it ever did and that’s a good thing

The new Toyota Yaris is here and it means business. The new Yaris will embrace the carmaker’s TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform derivative known as GA-B. The TNGA is also found underneath the likes of Prius and Corolla, but it’s the first time that Toyota has used it to underpin a sub-compact vehicle. The new platform is also tweaked to support Toyota’s new fourth-generation, three-cylinder hybrid setup. Here’s every detail you want to know on the new Toyota Yaris.

Exterior

  • Looks a lot more European
  • Gaping front grille
  • Heavily-sculpted side profile
  • Longer wheelbase but shorter overall
  • Short rear overhangs hint at agile behavior
  • Wider and lower than the current Yaris
  • LED headlights and taillights
  • C-shaped rear light clusters
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The first thing that strikes the eye is that the new Toyota Yaris looks a lot more European that its predecessors. In fact, look at it from the right angle and you’ll see a lot of styling cues pretty similar to those sported by the Ford Fiesta, as well as some lines and edges borrowed from the C-HR crossover, all wrapped up in a thin foil of aggressiveness - that’s what Toyota calls the “Condensed and Agile” exterior design concept.

In the front, the headlights get completely new LED graphics with each unit alternating the turn indicators with the daytime running lights.

The clusters now stretch towards the car’s sides, basically pointing at the front wheels. Another striking element is the gaping, blacked-out front grille and the hefty-sized air vent-like elements that flank the grille. The hood also gets a more muscular look and extra metal, as the A-pillars have been pulled towards the back, making for a longer hood. The rear end looks almost perky (the steep rear window also amplifies this illusion) but unlike the heavily-creased profile of the car, it displays a clean look dominated by the C-shaped taillights that are integrated in a larger, gloss black element that stretches through the whole width of the rear end.

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Size-wise, the new Toyota Yaris is shorter, lower, yet wider than the model it replaces.

Toyota motivates the decision to shorten the new Yaris through the fact that its compact car customers prefer a vehicle that’s easy to park in the city but at the same time it also has to be agile and deliver both style and practicality. With the introduction of the GA-B platform, the carmaker says it was able to condense the new Yaris’ exterior proportions without sacrificing interior space, comfort, and practicality. That said, let’s do some number crunching, shall we?

Toyota says the GA-B platform allowed it to cut the new Yaris’ length by 5 mm compared to the outgoing model, which stretches to 3,945 millimeters in length. So the new Yaris has a length of 3,940 millimeters. However, wheelbase was increased by a hefty 50 millimeters to 2,560 millimeters, while the current Yaris’ wheelbase measures 2,510 millimeters. Overall height dropped by 40 mm, from 1,510 millimeters as seen on the current model to 1,470 millimeters, while width took a hike from 1,695 millimeters to 1,745 millimeters (that accounts for an increase of 50 millimeters).

Interior

  • Simple design
  • 10-inch color HUD
  • Smaller steering wheel
  • Cloth upholstery
  • TFT display flanked by digital gauges
  • More generous storage spaces
  • Gloss black inserts
  • Wireless smartphone charging pad (optional)
2020 Toyota Yaris
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As far as its cabin is concerned, the new Yaris adopts Toyota’s “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” creed. The driver basically has three sources to get his or her driving-related information, namely the Toyota Touch centrally-mounted screen, the TFT multi-info instrument cluster, and the new 10-inch color head-up display. In all fairness, the new Yaris’s cockpit looks modern and clear-cut, which is a plus as Europeans like their cars stylish - and that applies for superminis as well.

The multi-function steering wheel sports a neat design, it’s also a tad smaller than on the current Yaris and comes wrapped in a black leather-like material.

Gloss black trim elements are a common occurrence around the cabin, but that’s something every compact and sub-compact model that’s on sale in Europe has these days, so it looks like these nice-looking fingerprint magnets are here to stay for a while. The instrument cluster is pretty straightforward, with two digital gauges that flank the TFT display. The driver can get instant info on speed, fuel level, as well as the state of the hybrid powertrain to say the least. What’s more, the new Yaris can be fitted with a wireless smartphone charging pad, a heated steering wheel, and ambient lighting.

2020 Toyota Yaris
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Visually, the dashboard supports the idea of spaciousness and comfort thanks to the thin cross section that also amplifies the concept of width inside the cabin. Toyota also says that it increased the storage spaces inside the Yaris, yet for now, it fails to provide a set of figures to support that. From what we can tell from the official photos, the gear selector will also be wrapped in the same leather-like material just like the steering wheel, while the seat upholstery will be a combination of cloth and another smoother, synthetic-fiber-like material.

2020 Toyota Yaris
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The rear seat is only large enough to accommodate two adults and one small child at most.

There’s no word on cargo space at the moment, but we can tell you that the current Toyota Yaris makes do with a load capacity of 347 liters (up to the roof, 286 liters to the belt line), which can be further extended to 1,119 liters (up to the roof, 768 to the belt line) by folding down the rear seats.

Drivetrain

  • 1.5 Hybrid Dynamic Force system making 115 horsepower
  • Revised 1.0-liter gasoline unit
  • New 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline unit
  • E-Four AWD drive system
  • Choice of two CVT gearboxes and a six-speed manual transmission
  • The 1.5-liter engine has the world’s highest combustion speed
  • No diesel on offer
2020 Toyota Yaris
- image 867019

Toyota is insisting a lot on its hybrid technology that’s slated to go inside the new Yaris Hybrid. The center-piece here is the new 1.5 Hybrid Dynamic Force setup that will move the Yaris Hybrid. Currently in its fourth generation, the setup “has been tested in different cities around Europe such as Rome, Paris, and Darmstadt,” says Toyota, and results have shown that almost 80 percent of the time the cars were driven solely in pure-EV mode.

The new Yaris will get that 1.5 Hybrid Dynamic Force system that, according to Toyota, has been derived from similar setups - namely the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter hybrid powertrains found inside the new Corolla, RAV4, and Camry.

The setup relies on an 1.5-liter, three-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle petrol engine (coming to replace the 1.5-liter four-cylinder ICE) with variable valve-timing tech.

Toyota says its mill has the world’s highest combustion speed, which entails greater torque at low rpm and better fuel efficiency. The three-cylinder unit was also fitted with a balance module that reduces vibration and engine noise alike. It also achieves 40 percent thermal efficiency, which in turn boosts the fuel economy offered by the new Yaris by up to 20 percent.

2020 Toyota Yaris
- image 867035

There’s not much info on the engine in terms of concrete specs and numbers, but Toyota says that in the wake of all the tweaks it performed, the system’s overall power output has been increased by 15 percent. If that’s truly the case, then we’re looking at around 115 horsepower for the new hybrid setup. The outgoing Yaris Hybrid makes 100 horsepower from a four-cylinder 1.5-liter petrol engine that marries to a permanent-magnet synchronous e-motor mounted on the front axle and a CVT gearbox.

2020 Toyota Yaris
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The 1.5-liter gasoline Dynamic Force engine will also be available as it is, with two transmission choices: a Direct-Shift CVT or a six-speed manual. What’s more, the engine range will also include an improved 1.0-liter unit mated to its own “compact and lightweight” CVT.

There’s no word on how much power and torque will these engines churn out, but what we can tell you for sure is that there won’t be a diesel-powered Yaris at all.

Also new is the E-Four drive system, short for Electric Four-Wheel, which will power the all-wheel-drive version of the Yaris coming to join the classic FWD setup.

Pricing

2020 Toyota Yaris
- image 867051

It’s too early for Toyota to release official pricing for the new Yaris, but as usual, we can have a look at the current model. In Germany, the Japanese supermini starts at €13,640, but that’s the base 1.0-liter version. The 1.5-liter model with the six-speed manual starts at €14,640, while the Yaris Hybrid can be had for at least €18,590. If we are to vector in the changes and improvements Toyota has made for the new Yaris, then it’s safe to assume that when it hits the market in 2020, the supermini will start at around €14,000-€15,000, with the Hybrid asking for a €19,000 starting sticker.

Competition

There’s a long list of rivals looking to snap the Yaris’ neck in the every-crowded supermini segment in Europe, so we’ll only address the most significant ones.

Ford Fiesta

2017 Ford Fiesta High Resolution Exterior
- image 697335

The nippy Ford Fiesta is a hoot to drive so it’s no wonder that European urbanites are flocking to buy one. It’s also larger than the Yaris, which translates into more space, and comes fitted with the Blue Oval’s highly acclaimed 1.0-liter EcoBoost mill. Diesel versions are also available, which adds to the appeal of the Fiesta towards the European customer. The Fiesta is available with a 1.1-liter gasoline engine derived into two power outputs - 70 horsepower and 85 horsepower - as well as with the said 1.0-liter EcoBoost powerplant that can be had with 85 horsepower, 100 horsepower, 125 horsepower, and 140 horsepower. Coming to round up the range is a 1.5-liter TDCI diesel unit good for 85 horsepower. In Germany, the Ford Fiesta starts at €10,990.

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Fiesta

Volkswagen Polo

2018 Volkswagen Polo High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 720717

Taking a lot after the larger Golf, Volkswagen’s Polo is another worthy adversary the new Yaris has to do battle against. Mind you, beating the Polo at its game is not easy, since the supermini is one of the most well-rounded models in the segment when it comes to balancing out comfort, space, nifty driving, and efficiency. The Polo can be had in its most basic form with a 1.0-liter gasoline engine good for either 80 horsepower or 95 horsepower mated to a five-speed manual. VW is also offering a 1.0-liter TSI unit that can be twinned with the same five-speed manual but also with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox or a six-speed manual. The TSI mill is available in two output versions: 95 horsepower and 115 horsepower. You can also get the Polo as a diesel, courtesy of a 1.6-liter TDI engine with 95 horsepower on tap. Pricing for the Polo starts at € 14,485 in Germany.

Read our full review on the 2019 Volkswagen Polo

Renault Clio

2019 Renault Clio
- image 818746

The Renault Clio has always been one of the top players in Europe’s supermini segment, a car that puts a hefty price on looks first and foremost. Although not quite zippy as the Fiesta and less posher than the Polo, the French sub-compact still has enough fire inside its belly to attract a lot of European customers. On the powertrain front, Renault is offering the Clio with three powertrain options. Numero uno is a 1.0-liter naturally-aspirated engine tweaked to produce either 65 horsepower or 75 horsepower. Numero dos is a 1.0-liter turbo unit making 99 horsepower or 120 horsepower. The gasoline range is joined by a 1.5-liter diesel engine that delivers 84 horsepower or 114 horsepower, depending on each version you’re looking at. As of 2020, the Clio will also pack a hybrid setup revolving around a 89-horsepower gasoline engine paired to a 40-horsepower e-motor. The cheapest Renault Clio money can buy starts at €12,990.

Read our full review on the 2019 Renault Clio

Final Thoughts

2020 Toyota Yaris
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The Toyota Yaris has been carving its own path in the European market. Toyota has been using the know-how it acquired with the Prius in gifting its models with a hybrid variant, and the Yaris wasn’t overlooked. Keep in mind that the Toyota Yaris was the first supermini to embrace electrification and to this date, it’s rivals are still to receive such a version. Sure, the CVT isn’t exactly milk and honey compared to Renault’s EDC or VW’s crispy-crisp DSG, but the Yaris has been taking a lot of steps forward as far as design and cabin ambiance are concerned. In a way, Toyota had to adapt its funky-looking sub-compact which is now looking more European than ever.

We are yet to climb inside the new Yaris, but we’re willing to bet that there are major changes for the better as far as material quality and design are concerned. Also worth appreciating is Toyota’s decision to give up on diesel engines (which are still quite popular in Europe), thus sacrificing a chunk of profit in the name of better hybrid versions. This, itself, could prove a winning strategy since the general trend nowadays leans towards reducing CO2 emissions as well as cutting down running costs in crowded cities. With electric cars still gaining momentum (popularity- and technology-wise), it’s hybrids that offer the best compromise between low running costs, decent performance, and low emissions. In this respect, the new Toyota Yaris looks very promising from where we’re standing.

  • Leave it
    • The side profile is not the prettiest out there
    • Hybrid tech still expensive
    • Not quite as fun to drive as its rivals

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