Ad closing in a few seconds...

All-new Toyota Yaris set to arrive September 2020

  • Swoopy new styling set to broaden appeal
  • Improved hybrid system set to dominate sales
  • Toyota’s even promising it will be fun to drive

After 20 years and three generations, the all-new Mk4 Toyota Yaris has banished the pseudo-MPV looks of old and ushers in a bolder new style for its lower, more conventional supermini-like stance. But, if you like what you see, be prepared to wait – it’s unlikely to reach a Toyota showroom near you until September 2020.

Why such a long wait? Essentially this is a very early preview of the production model and right now much of the technical detail is scant, but given superminis still account for 20% of all new car sales across Europe, Toyota opted to showcase its new baby early. After all, the soon-to-be-outgoing Mk3 Yaris is already eight years and two facelifts old, yet is still the fourth bestselling supermini in Britain.

Speaking with Toyota’s engineers at the car’s reveal event, one thing is abundantly clear: there’s an excitement about the new Yaris which hints that rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio, SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo, among a multitude of others, might well have a serious contender on their hands. As with all those competitors barring the Fiesta, the Mk4 Yaris will only be available as a five-door.

Hybrid versions expected to be very popular

Toyota’s been building hybrids since 1997, so it’s an old hand at a time other car manufacturers are only just getting their corporate and engineering heads around them, something reflected in the fact that the latest Yaris debuts the Japanese brand’s fourth generation of petrol-electric drive system.

Red 2020 Toyota Yaris rear Hybrid badge and lights

Marketeers refer to the system as self-charging, indicating that it doesn’t need to be plugged in, but catchy titles aside, what matters more is that this is set to be an exceptionally fuel-efficient system, although precise mpg and CO2 emissions figures are still months away from being confirmed.

Essentially, the three-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine, linked to a new electrical motor system and lighter lithium-ion battery pack via a CVT automatic gearbox delivers more than 15% more power than that in the Mk3 Yaris Hybrid, yet promises to be over 20% more efficient.

Not only that, Toyota’s rather bullish suggesting that it will feel ‘more natural’ to drive, by using more electrical energy rather than a high-revving engine during harder periods of acceleration. This isn’t something that Toyota’s hybrid loyalists have particularly complained about, but a more conventional engine note is deemed desirable if customers are going to be persuaded away from other brands.

Set to account for over three-quarters of Mk4 Yaris sales, the Hybrid is claimed to operate in zero-emission electrical mode for around 80% of the time in typical urban journeys and can be driven at speeds of up to 80mph before the engine kicks into life.

Expected to be available from launch, the Hybrid will be sold alongside a more conventional version of the engine without electrical assistance, with a choice of six-speed manual and optional CVT transmissions. They may be joined at a later date by a 1.0-litre derivative paired with a five-speed manual transmission. Performance and efficiency figures for all will be confirmed at a later date.

Sporty Yaris GRMN set to return

Given Toyota’s commitment to the World Rally Championship, and a competition version of the Mk4 Yaris set to make its motorsport debut in 2021, that same year is likely to see a high performance version of the road car become available.

Whether it’s again called Yaris GRMN or GR Yaris remains to be seen, and right now there’s not even the merest official hint at how it will be powered, but we can expect it to be a regular member of the range, rather than a limited edition run-out special. This could lead to it being less expensive, if less raw than the most recent iteration.

Shorter, lower, wider… and more fun, too?

A large part of Toyota’s recent renaissance is down to different permutations of its adaptable underpinnings, known collectively as TNGA. The latest Yaris is supported by the smallest version yet, known internally as GA-B.

Not only will a 50mm narrower Japanese market version of the Yaris be spun off the same architecture, it can also house a compact four-wheel drive system – unlikely for the UK – as well as be tweaked to be suitable for a compact SUV. Watch this space…

2020 Toyota Yaris left-hand drive dashboard

Adopting the GA-B platform not only allows the Mk4 Yaris to be 5mm shorter, 50mm wider and 40mm lower than the Mk3, the wheelbase has grown by 50mm to make the interior more spacious. We’ve not been able to sit inside one yet, but the rear seat looks to have a sensible amount of legroom, although it appears to be rather dark in the back thanks to that rising window line.

This new structure is also around 20kg lighter than the outgoing Yaris in addition to being 35% stiffer, with more of the weight concentrated lower down in the car’s structure. This combination should benefit fuel efficiency, comfort – thanks to softer suspension – and how much fun it is to drive courtesy of better handling dynamics. We’ll know for sure when we drive it next year, but the noises from the engineers is encouraging – even the steering wheel position has been altered to face the driver in a closer, more natural position.

New supermini safety standards promised

Toyota achieved the first Euro NCAP five-star crash-test score for a small hatchback with the Mk2 Yaris back in 2006, but as standards rise to minimise risk of serious injury in the event of an accident, the Mk4 has raised the bar, becoming the first supermini with a central airbag.

This standard-fit additional system deploys from the side of one of the front seats and forms in inflatable curtain between the front occupants, preventing them colliding with each other during an impact. Toyota fully expects a five-star score again as well as setting a new supermini benchmark overall.

Red 2020 Toyota Yaris LED headlamps

LED headlamps and tail lights will be available – likely as standard on higher grade models – as will lane-keeping technology, blindspot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking and a head-up display system.

Expect the interior to be generously appointed with electrical goodies as standard – a large touchscreen dominates the dashboard which we expect will feature both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which will be a welcome relief from Toyota’s own clunky infotainment system.

Two-tone bodywork will be available, as will wheels ranging in size from 15 to 17 inches on the earliest models.

How much will the new Yaris cost?

It’s far too soon to speculate on this given deliveries won’t begin until next autumn, but it’s likely that order books will open at late spring 2020, at which point prices will be announced.

Given that the Yaris will continue to be built in France – the larger Corolla is UK-built – prices will be influenced by how the pound performs depending on whether or not Britain leaves the European Union. Under ordinary circumstances, we’d otherwise suggest a small rise over the outgoing model would be most likely.

Keep this page bookmarked for further news and early driving impressions of the all-new 2020 Toyota Yaris.

Also read:

>> Find out how we rate the current Toyota Yaris with our expert review

>> Need something a little larger? Find out more about the Toyota Corolla

>> How does an electric supermini compare? Read our Renault Zoe review

Red 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback rear three-quarter