The 2020 Toyota Yaris offers big car tech in a small, Mazda-flavored package

Toyota proved small economy cars can be cool when it released the Corolla Hatch in 2018. And yet, the dowdy Yaris lingered on as the opposite of cool. The Japanese firm hopes to change that by rebooting the nameplate for the 2020 model year with help from Mazda.

The 2020 Toyota Yaris is new, yet it’s familiar. It’s a hatchback variant of the Yaris Sedan, which means it’s essentially a Toyota-badged Mazda2, a model sold overseas but not in America. Like its sedan sibling, it wears a distinctive front-end design characterized by a gaping grille flanked by a pair of sharp headlights. When viewed from the side, the sculpted character lines give the Yaris an unusually curvaceous look that betrays its Mazda genes. The Toyota influence grows stronger out back. Is it a Toyazda? a Mazdaris? Either way, the final design is surprisingly cohesive and handsome.

Mazda’s influence on design continues in the cabin. The driver faces a three-spoke steering wheel, and an instrument cluster that’s part analog, part digital. Toyota placed a 7.0-inch touchscreen on top of the dashboard to display an infotainment system that’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay — the company is finally letting the two tech giants into its cars. Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition technology come standard, and navigation is available at an extra cost.

The Yaris seats four passengers, though squeezing a fifth person in the middle of the rear bench is possible for shorter journeys. Trunk space checks in at 15.9 cubic feet.

Power for the Yaris comes from a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 106 horsepower. It spins the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Toyota won’t offer a stick or all-wheel drive due to a lack of demand. Digital Trends praised the Yaris Sedan for being surprisingly agile and fun to drive, so we expect the hatchback model will be equally entertaining. Performance and fuel economy numbers will be released closer to its on-sale date.

Six airbags — including curtain airbags — come standard. Every Yaris also offers a low-speed pre-collision safety system, which detects obstacles in the road, warns the driver if a collision is imminent, and automatically applies the brakes if needed.

While Toyota made the previous Yaris in France, the new model will be manufactured by Mazda in Mexico. Pricing information hasn’t been published yet, but the model should start in the vicinity of $16,500. When it arrives in showrooms, the 2020 Toyota Yaris will compete in a shrinking segment of the market against the Honda Fit and the Kia Rio. Buyers will have two trim levels called LE and XLE, respectively, to choose from.

Cars

2020 Nissan Versa sedan strives to be more than just basic transportation

The 2020 Nissan Versa sedan aims to deliver more style and tech than its forgettable predecessor did. Its restyled exterior borrows the look of the larger Altima sedan. But will the new Versa be more than just a pretty face?
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Cars

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Turbo shows value and performance can go hand in hand

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata goes in a bold new design direction, with LED streaks on its hood and sleeker bodywork all around. It starkly contrasts with the current Sonata's conservative design.
Cars

2020 Ford Escape gets sleeker styling, greener powertrains, more tech

The 2020 Ford Escape gets redesigned for the first time since the 2013 model year. Ford brought back the hybrid powertrain, and is adding a plug-in hybrid option for the first time.
Cars

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.
Cars

Would you buy the Tarok compact pickup truck? Volkswagen wants to know

The Volkswagen Tarok pickup truck concept will make its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The truck first appeared at the 2018 Sao Paulo Auto Show, and VW wants to see what U.S. buyers think of it.
Cars

Sick of civilization? Volkswagen’s Atlas Basecamp concept lets you get away

Volkswagen revealed the Atlas Basecamp concept ahead of its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Built for overlanding, this family-hauler was upgraded jointly by Volkswagen and aftermarket manufacturers.
Cars

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo sheds weight, uses racing tricks to stay sharp

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo isn't dramatically different from the 2019 model, but Nissan made changes where it counts. The updated GT-R Nismo is lighter and offers better aerodynamic performance, according to Nissan.
Cars

Nikola previews $80K NZT off-road EV speedster with 590 horsepower

Nikola Motor is taking reservations for the NZT, a high-performance, all-electric off-highway vehicle (OHV). The $80,000 NZT has 590 horsepower, 775 foot-pounds of torque, and reaches 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

21 charged in Chicago carsharing heist; 100+ cars stolen, many still missing

More than 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles belonging to carsharing service Car2Go were stolen in Chicago. Police are still working to recover all of the cars, which are equipped with GPS, and 21 people have been charged.
Cars

The VR goggles you wear to shoot alien ships is helping Magna design car parts

Canadian automotive supplier Magna has started using virtual reality in its research and development department. The technology helps engineers get a better view of what they're working on, whether it's an interior part or a powertrain.
Cars

Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!