A Mazda in disguise.
A few years ago, Mazda backed out of plans to sell the current generation of Mazda 2 hatchback in Canada. Pretty soon though, Canadian Mazda fans will be able to buy a brand new Mazda 2 hatchback with one condition. They have to buy it from a Toyota dealership. With the current Toyota Yaris Hatchback aging out of competitiveness, Toyota needed a new subcompact hatchback fast. Already selling a re-branded version of the Mazda 2 sedan as the Toyota Yaris sedan (nee Yaris iA, nee Scion iA), Toyota simply leveraged that partnership to sell the Mazda 2 hatchback as the new 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback.
On the outside, the 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback wears the Toyota-specific front fascia seen on the Yaris sedan. Otherwise, pretty much everything from the door handles to the wheels is the same as it is on the rest-of-world Mazda 2 hatchback. A chrome exhaust tip and body-colour door handles and side mirrors come standard which isn’t always expected for cars in this size bracket. Overall, the 2020 Yaris Hatchback sports a taut, athletic figure with visual poise unexpected from a subcompact car.
On the inside, shoppers will be pleased to find the 2020 Yaris Hatchback has plenty of standard equipment including heated mirrors, keyless entry with push-button start, a seven-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and a six-speaker audio system. Optional equipment includes heated seats and a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel. The dashboard is dominated by a swath of stitched material and a prominent strip of metal accent trim. Spirited drivers will enjoy the padding where one’s knee might rest against the centre console as well as the informative three-pod gauge cluster with a digital screen.
Power is provided by a 106 horsepower 1.5-litre Mazda Skyactiv four-cylinder engine mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. Interestingly enough, America will only be able to buy the 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback with the automatic transmission.
In our review of the mechanically identical 2016 Toyota Yaris sedan, we called that car “a blast” with Mazda 3-esque handling characteristics and sharp throttle response. We loved the fuel economy and even managed to beat the government’s fuel economy rating even in our cold-weather testing environment. The interior materials felt premium for the segment and we found the interior to be spacious for such a small car.
Overall, the 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback looks to be a win for everybody. Toyota gains a competitive subcompact hatchback design, Mazda fans will finally be able to get a new Mazda 2 hatchback in Canada and subcompact shoppers gain an excellent option in the marketplace. Pricing has not been announced for the 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback nor has precise launch timing, but expect the new Yaris Hatchback to be in showrooms by the end of the year.