New US market Toyota Yaris hatchback announced

Toyota has released a hatchback version of the Mazda 2-based Yaris saloon ahead of its debut in New York, but it won't be coming to Europe

Toyota has revealed the first pictures of the new Yaris hatchback it’ll be selling to US customers. The new model, which is little more than a re-badged and re-bumpered version of the Mazda 2 supermini we know so well, will make its official debut at the New York Auto Show later this month but will not be coming to Europe.

Toyota has sold a 4-door version of the Mazda 2 in the US since 2015 when the car launched as the Scion iA but it was rebadged as a Toyota Yaris saloon after the Scion brand met its end. 

From the outside, the new Yaris hatch looks almost identical to the Mazda 2. Differences in the body panels are subtle, stretching to little more than a new front bumper, a wider grille, some fresh headlights and a redesigned ‘shark fin’ aerial. Everything else, including its rear lights, rear bumper, wing mirrors and even alloy wheels, is shared with the Mazda.

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It’s much the same story inside. The Yaris XLE in our pictures shares its whole interior (apart from the steering wheel) with the Mazda 2 GT Sport Nav+, and features the same seven-inch infotainment system, the same leather upholstery and the same switchgear and climate controls.

We suspect the US Yaris will also be powered by a Mazda engine, as Toyota’s launch information details a 113bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol with similar specs to Mazda’s most powerful SkyActiv-G unit. Unlike the Mazda, though, the Toyota’s engine will be mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic, rather than a six-speed manual ‘box.

When the Yaris hatch reaches the US market in 2020, two trim levels will be offered. The basic LE trim comes with fog lamps, a rear-view camera, power-adjustable side mirrors, a range of USB ports, a multifunction steering wheel and a dash-mounted infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The range-topping XLE grade adds leatherette upholstery, climate control, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, automatic LED headlights and leather trim on the steering wheel, gearlever and hand-brake gaiter.

Toyota’s use of Mazda’s bodywork, engines and interior for the new Yaris follows the pair’s recently announced manufacturing joint-venture. In an equally-staked $1.6billion (£1.2million) investment, the two companies will open a new manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama, which will build the new Toyota Corolla and Mazda CX-3.

American pricing for the new Yaris is likely to surface after it’s been officially unveiled at the New York Motor Show later this month. Thus far, all Toyota USA has confirmed is that the new Yaris will be sold with a 36-month/36,000 mile warranty.

What are your thoughts on the new US-market Toyota Yaris? Let us know in the comments section below…

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