The 2020 Toyota Yaris is the Mazda 2 hatchback we never got

If you’re still mourning Mazda 2’s departure from American showrooms, Toyota may have a solution for you in the form of the value-packed, yet well-equipped Yaris Hatchback.

Toyota is bringing the all-new 2020 Yaris Hatchback to the New York Auto Show later this month and today it released details on the little car. Like the Scion iA and the Yaris iA that followed, this new version will be based on the fun and zippy Mazda-2, although this time America will be finally getting a hatch rather than just the sedan. It will be offered in two fixed, “mono-spec” LE and XLE trim packages, which Toyota said will defy expectations of frugal subcompact shoppers. Those shoppers apparently expect a clutch on entry-level cars, because all Yaris hatchbacks will come instead with a six-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment.

You may remember Chrysler’s “cab forward” designs for its sedans in the late 1990s. The Yaris Hatchback flips the script with a “cab-rearward” design that Toyota says gives the little car a squatty, “bulldog-like stance.” Its wheelbase has been stretched 2.4 inches from the outgoing Yaris Liftback, to 103.6 inches, allowing for 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space, although the turning circle is just 32.2 feet. Overall length is a trim 161.6 inches.

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback steering wheel
2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Toyota
2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback rear badge
2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Toyota

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback interior front
2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Toyota
2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback wheels
2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Toyota

A 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter direct-injected inline-four engine provides power and is mated to the aforementioned six-speed automatic gearbox. The transmission’s torque converter locks in all gears for better fuel economy and quicker, more sporting, shifts. If you were hoping for a manual, it’s not happening.

Toyota is pitching the Yaris Hatchback as fun to drive, with attention paid to good handling, no doubt inherited from the Mazda 2. There is even a sport mode that changes shift points and engine mapping, a rarity in this segment.

Standard tech features include compatibility with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth hands-free operation, voice recognition, and two USB ports. A seven-inch touchscreen with a remote commander knob controls the six-speaker infotainment system. Other standard equipment includes push-button start with a smart keyfob, fog lights, variable intermittent wipers, a manually adjustable steering column, and rear camera. The infotainment system includes Sirius XM satellite radio with a free three-month trial subscription, and the hardware for navigation is already installed at the factory, ready for activation with an SD memory card that can be purchased at the dealer.

Safety features include everything you’d expect from a new car, like ABS, stability control, and traction control, but the Yaris also packs six airbags, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, a low-speed pre-collision safety system with audio/visual alerts, braking assistance, and ultimately automatic braking to avoid frontal collisions.

2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback 3/4 rear hatch up
2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Toyota

Keep looking and you’ll find more proof that the Yaris isn’t a bargain-bin buzzbox, as they all come with 16 inch aluminum wheels, chrome exhaust tip, an acoustically insulating windshield, and body-color side mirrors and door handles. The mirrors are heated, power adjustable, and incorporate LED turn signals. The higher XLE trim package includes automatic LED headlights with integrated daytime running lights. Other upgrades included in the XLE package are leatherette seating surfaces, automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and leather trim on the steering wheel, shifter, and parking brake lever.

Pricing and availability will be announced later, perhaps at the New York show when the new Yaris Hatchback is revealed to the public.

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