Toyota picked April Fools’ Day to detail two new Yaris models — but one of them actually was real. The Toyota-built Yaris hatchback, which Toyota said earlier this year would have no 2019 model, will return for 2020 as a Mazda-built version of the Mazda2 subcompact.
The 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan — rebranded from the Yaris iA (and before that the Scion iA under Toyota’s now-defunct youth brand) — already is based on the Mazda2, which Mazda no longer sells in the U.S. under its own name, and this is the sedan with a hatchback instead of a trunk.
The other Yaris introduction was an April Fools’ joke: a Yaris Adventure subcompact pickup truck with a 52.3-inch bed and a whopping 297-pound payload “perfect for hauling coolers to the lake or that third set of golf clubs that just won’t fit in a car trunk (not sure why you’d have three sets of golf clubs, though, as the Yaris Adventure only seats two).” It was billed as “answering a question no one asked.”
These days, you could argue the same for the Yaris hatchback given the sales of cars in general and subcompacts in particular. But it’s for real, and we’ll see it soon at the 2019 New York International Auto Show.
For buyers still looking at subcompacts, the new Yaris is a better-looking hatchback, even with a big Toyota hexagonal grille grafted onto the front of the Mazda design. Like the sedan, it also promises sportier drivability than many subcompacts.
Toyota says the Yaris hatchback will be powered by a 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder mated to a standard six-speed automatic with a driver-selectable Sport mode that sharpens accelerator response. Highway gas mileage is estimated by Toyota at 40 mpg, though the EPA has yet to post ratings as of this writing. The small hatchback (just 161.6 inches long) has a wheelbase 2.4 inches longer than the 2018 model for more interior room. Cargo space behind the rear seat is 15.9 cubic feet.
The base Yaris LE hatchback also has a big-kid list of standard features, but its crash-avoidance technology takes a step backward versus the outgoing Toyota-built Yaris hatchback, which had standard full-speed automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic high beams. Confirmed by Toyota to Cars.com as a limitation of the Mazda platform, the new Yaris hatch has only low-speed automatic braking. The system works only at speeds up to 18 mph on the related Yaris sedan. Still, it’s standard — a rarity among subcompact cars.
As with the sedan, the hatchback also gets a 7-inch touch- and knob-controlled display, six-speaker audio, Bluetooth, two USB ports and satellite radio capability. It also gets Apple CarPlay and (unlike most other current Toyota products) Android Auto, two must-have features still missing in the Yaris sedan. Also standard are 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, keyless access with push-button start, foglights, a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel and sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors.
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The upscale XLE trim level adds black or gray leatherette seats, automatic LED headlights, automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers and leather trim for the steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake handle.
Either trim level can have in-car navigation with a dealer-accessory SD card.
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