Toyota has unveiled the first completely new Yaris in almost a decade ahead of its showroom arrival mid-2020.
The new generation Toyota Yaris will be armed with a full suite of advanced safety technology – including an airbag between the front seat occupants, autonomous emergency braking, radar cruise control and speed sign recognition – and available with the option of hybrid power for the first time in Australia.
The 2020 Toyota Yaris will be powered by a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder non-turbo engine matched to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with a mechanical first gear for more natural acceleration. It is unclear if a manual transmission will be offered locally.
The hybrid version will pair a unique variant of the 1.5-litre engine to a small lithium-ion battery pack and a small electric motor to eke out even more miserly fuel savings. Power outputs and fuel economy ratings are yet to be released.
As with all Toyota hybrids currently on sale in Australia, the new Yaris won’t need to be plugged in – its on-board battery pack charges when the car coasts or brakes. It uses that stored energy to initially move away from rest without petrol power before the engine kicks in.
Inside, the new Yaris has a much more upmarket interior. It shares the tablet-style infotainment screen found in the Corolla and other models – and a digital speed display returns after it was dropped with the current generation model released in 2011.
The new Yaris is slightly shorter and lower than its predecessor, but the company claims it is roomier than before thanks to its larger footprint.
Headroom is still generous, the company says, because it has lowered the seating positions.
The sweeping changes mean the Yaris is in line for a significant price rise. The current model range has started from $15,990 drive-away for a manual and $17,490 drive-away with auto for the better part of two years.
While Toyota is yet to confirm pricing, CarAdvice believes the 2020 Yaris will start from closer to $20,000, which would fill the void the Corolla once occupied. The new-generation Corolla has crept up to a starting price of about $27,000 drive-away.
Toyota Australia says the all-new Yaris will deliver “segment-leading safety … as the first car in its segment to incorporate a centre airbag to protect front-seat occupants in the event of a side impact”.
The 2020 Yaris also adopts a pre-collision safety system that goes beyond the current ability to detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
“The latest system can prevent accidents when turning at intersections by detecting oncoming vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing the road,” says the Toyota statement.
“These Toyota-first safety features will be standard on Yaris for Australia, in addition to autonomous emergency braking, all-speed active cruise control, lane-centring and other advanced technologies.”
“Our new Yaris delivers the stylish, ready-to-move design and practicality demanded by people who typically live in congested urban environments,” said Toyota Australia's Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley in a media statement.
“It offers responsive new (engine options) with the lowest possible running costs and class-leading safety while being agile and easy to park in the city as well as comfortable on longer journeys.”
High-intensity LED headlights will be available and a 10-inch heads-up display will be available on flagship models.
In a media statement, chief engineer Yasunori Suezawa said: “We wanted to build a new-generation compact car that goes far beyond customers’ preconceptions”.
“Compact cars are driven by many people, so offering a pleasurable drive was a priority, but it also prompted us to use the Yaris as the starting point of cars with the world's highest level of fuel efficiency and secure safety technology,” he said.