While the new Toyota Yaris has just popped up on Toyota’s Malaysian website, over in America the Japanese carmaker is introducing another, completely unrelated car with the same name. With this, the Yaris moniker can now be found on three hatchbacks that share absolutely nothing with each other.
You see, while the European and Japanese markets soldier on with the third-generation Euro-centric model (which this car replaces in the United States) and the ASEAN market has its Vios-based equivalent, the North American model is based on the Mazda 2. This follows in the footsteps of the existing Yaris Sedan, and it also means that Toyota is replacing an eight-year-old car with one that first made its debut in 2014.
As with its four-door sibling, the Yaris hatch is practically identical to the donor car, with the exception of the radically redesigned front fascia. Here, you’ll find a huge trapezoidal grille, the size of which is exaggerated by the lines that radiate from it, giving the car a rather Predator-like look. The range-topping XLE variant gets automatic LED headlights as standard, and 16-inch alloy wheels are fitted across the range.
The interior is also a direct carryover from the Mazda, right down to the full-width air vent design on the dashboard and the freestanding seven-inch touchscreen. The latter, together with the rotary controller between the front seats, is connected to a version of Mazda’s MZD Connect infotainment system, now with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as standard.
Other standard features include keyless entry, push-button start, fog lights, heated door mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering adjustment, navigation (SD card maps sold separately) and a Low-speed Pre-collision Safety System with autonomous emergency braking. The XLE throws in faux leather upholstery and automatic climate control and wipers.
The engine, as you’d expect, is also lifted straight from the Mazda – a 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated SkyActiv-G petrol engine making 106 hp and 140 Nm of torque. Unfortunately for enthusiasts, the Yaris hatch is only available with the six-speed SkyActiv-Drive automatic transmission.