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2020 Toyota Yaris Preview

  • Mazda bones
  • Hatchback’s utility
  • Decent standard equipment
  • Not pretty
  • Automatic emergency braking isn’t full-speed
  • No manual transmission
  • The 2020 Toyota Yaris hatchback returns to the lineup. We’re waiting to see if the Yaris sedan makes the cut (we bet it will).
The 2020 Toyota Yaris hatchback returns, this time with desirable Mazda bones and questionable styling.

The 2020 Toyota Yaris hatchback has a secret: It’s really a Mazda 2 hatchback with Toyota badges.

That’s no bad thing, at least if it drives like the Yaris sedan. Both cars were designed by Mazda and are unrelated to the last Yaris hatchback, which was dropped from the automaker’s small car lineup for 2019.

Toyota hasn’t said if the Yaris sedan will change for 2020. Given that the hatchback’s styling marries the square-jawed look of the Yaris sedan with a top-hinged tailgate, it’s safe to guess that any changes will be minor.

The 2020 Yaris hatchback will go on sale in September in LE and XLE trim levels. We’ll update this space once we know more about the sedan and once we’ve driven the hatchback.

All versions of the Yaris hatchback are powered by a 1.5-liter inline-4 rated at 106 horsepower. The Yaris hatch comes only with a 6-speed automatic transmission; last year’s Yaris sedan could be had with a manual, but it’s unclear if that setup will carry over into 2020.

Toyota estimates that the hatchback will be rated at up to 40 mpg on the highway.

In the Yaris sedan, the pint-size inline-4 delivers reasonable power since the car weighs just 2,400 pounds. Toyota hasn’t said how much the Yaris hatch will weigh, but we can’t imagine the tailgate adds much. The Yaris hatch measures 161.6 inches from bumper to bumper, which puts it about 10 inches shorter than the sedan.

Underneath its Toyota styling, the Yaris’ Mazda bones include a MacPherson strut front suspension teamed with a torsion-beam rear axle. We’ve found the sedan to deliver sporty, predictable handling. Its ride is firm without being too stiff, and its reflexes are better composed and more predictable than those of other subcompact cars. The electric power steering system delivers more road feel thanother small cars, and it’s aided by a thick-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel.

Like the sedan, the Yaris hatchback’s wheelbase is about 101 inches long. However, its trunk can swallow about 16 cubic feet of cargo. That’s about three cubes more than the sedan can handle.

The Yaris comes with a low-speed automatic emergency braking system with forward-collision warnings. The IIHS said that last year’s Yaris sedan performed well in crash tests, but its headlights were rated “Poor” and its collision-avoidance tech rated a relatively low “Advanced” rating.

Toyota hasn’t priced the 2020 Yaris, but the base LE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and keyless ignition. A 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible sprouts out of the dashboard. Yaris XLE hatchbacks add synthetic leather upholstery, automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlights, and leather trim on the steering wheel, shift knob, and parking brake lever.

Unlike some rivals, the Yaris hatchback includes two years of scheduled maintenance.



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