Manufacturers colluding with one another when it comes to releasing new models is nothing new: Subaru and Toyota produced the FR-S and BR-Z, BMW and Toyota produced the new Supra, and Mazda and Toyota produced the new Yaris. Can anyone spot the lowest common denominator in this equation?
New, but not new
The Yaris has been available in the U.S. since 2007 and has been the brand’s subcompact offering as an answer to other popular subcompacts like the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Hyundai Kona. Over the years, the Yaris has undergone a few styling and equipment changes; it even lost, then regained, the sedan body style and then it disappeared for the 2019 model year.
The Toyota Yaris is back for 2020, and a keen eye will notice it’s familiar look. That’s because it’s actually a rebadged Mazda2, which went out of production in 2014. It’s not a bad thing though, as the Yaris was known for affordable efficiency, but never really known for driving fun.
Under the hood of the Yaris lies a Mazda, I mean… Toyota 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque. It won’t blow the doors off anything else on the street, but it will net you 32 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. This car has always been about fuel efficiency, after all.
The 2020 Toyota Yaris is available in sedan or hatchback form. The sedan actually used to be the Scion iA, which then turned into the Toyota iA, but was originally the Mazda2 sedan, once upon a time. History aside, the car is available in a few different trim levels: L, LE, and XLE. To make things easy, they all offer a lot of the bare necessities like power windows, door locks, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, and even a standard 7-inch touchscreen display.
The base sedan L trim offers a lot, and surprisingly, when you opt for the higher LE and XLE trim, you mainly gain leatherette seating surfaces and automatic climate control. A six-speed automatic is standard, and a manual transmission is available on the lower trim levels. Toyota has done a great job when it comes to value packaging and the entry-level Yaris is no exception.
Pricing wise, this is probably the most value-packed subcompact that you can buy for under $20,000. The base sedan L model is priced at $15,650, while the top-trim sedan and hatchback XLE models are priced at $18,750. Other subcompact competitors like the Honda Fit will put you over the $20,000 mark depending on the trim.
Would we recommend it?
Company cross-pollination is nothing new and most of the time, it’s for the benefit of the consumer. This definitely seems to be the case for the new Toyota Yaris as it’s Mazda2 “Zoom-Zoom” underpinnings added the bit of fun that the model always needed.
While cars are getting bigger, faster, and more luxurious nowadays, it’s nice to see that there’s still a car that can provide anyone on a strict budget with the features that they need to get from point A to B comfortably and safely. The Toyota Yaris does just that, and in that case, we would recommend it.