Toyota unveils new Mazda 2-based Yaris hatchback for US

Toyota has launched a new Yaris hatchback, based on the Mazda 2, for the US market at the New York motor show.

The 2020 US Yaris will be built for Toyota by Mazda’s Mexican arm and is mechanically unrelated to the Yaris models sold elsewhere.

The relationship with Mazda’s supermini can be seen in the model’s basic shape, although it has a heavily reworked front fascia featuring the “hunkered-down, bulldog-like stance” that has become integral to Toyota’s global design language. 

Toyota claims that the new Yaris hatchback is designed with urban dwellers in mind and says it has 450 litres of boot space.

As with the 2-based Yaris saloon that was introduced to the US and Canada in 2015, it offers only a 106bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a six-speed automatic gearbox. A new Sport driving mode enhances acceleration response. 

Inside, a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system is fitted as standard, incorporating Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice recognition, satellite radio and sat-nav.

The platform sharing agreement between the two Japanese manufacturers stretches back to 2015, when Mazda began production of restyled variants of the 2: the Toyota Yaris for Mexico and the Scion iA for the US. 

Scion, Toyota’s youth-targeted North American brand, was shelved in 2016, so the new Yaris bears Toyota branding.

In Canada, the 2-based Yaris saloon will remain on sale alongside the Yaris hatchback that’s sold in Europe, rather than the new Mazda-built model.

Toyota and Mazda have worked together on a number of ventures in recent years, including the creation in 2017 of a joint venture company to develop electric cars.