Sedans & Coupes

Why Does This Toyota Vehicle Look So Different From the Others?

The Toyota Yaris has arrived, and it doesn’t look anything like other Toyota vehicles because it’s not a Toyota.

In an attempt to make vehicles as aerodynamic as possible, auto manufacturers are streamlining the look and feel of most models. Large front ends to enhance the safety features, big pillar side doors protecting passengers from rollovers, and a reduction in glass areas for better overall protection.

The Toyota product line embraces these design features to create a consistent look throughout most of their cars. That is, until the latest model showed up, leaving consumers scratching their heads trying to figure out why it looks so drastically different from the standard Toyota vehicle.

The Toyota vehicle that started out as a Mazda2 

There’s a good reason the new Toyota looks strange. The new 2020 Toyota Yaris started out as a Mazda2. This isn’t the first time Toyota has joined together with other automakers to release a new vehicle. The Toyota Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ were basically the same car just released simultaneously by the auto industry giants. The popular Supra was a combined effort between BMW and Toyota. 

The Mazda2 was available in the United States from 2011 to 2014 as a hatchback only. In 2016, it morphed into a sedan version that was branded as the Toyota Scion, which is no longer available.

The 2020 Toyota Yaris

RELATED: How Reliable Is the 2020 Yaris?

The current 2020 Toyota Yaris comes in either a sedan or global version of the Mazda2 hatchback without the typical trunk space. It is still a Mazda vehicle that was built for Toyota to sell in the North American market. The design is distinctively appealing and the car is fun to drive.

Although small, there is adequate room for four passengers with sufficient cargo carrying space and fold-down back seating. Onboard technology is surprisingly good compared to other cars in its class. On the downside, the touchscreen doesn’t work while the car is moving, forcing drivers to use the Mazda rotary dial feature that is located on the center console. This proves to be distracting and something drivers needs to be aware of.

Like most Mazda vehicles, the Insurance Institute for Highway safety gives the Yaris a “good” rating when it comes to crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Yaris sedan with five stars for overall safety involving collisions.

Not a bad deal for frugal buyers

Toyota Yaris drives down a road past a factory setting
2020 Toyota Yaris | Toyota

With a starting price of $15,650 for the base model sedan, the Toyota Yaris is undoubtedly one of the best new cars priced under $20,000.

According to Cars.com, the all-new Toyota Yaris is “not only super frugal, it’s also remarkably fun to drive, with a zippy engine, tight handling, responsive steering, and a stylish interior.”

The 2020 Yaris has an efficient 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that features the naturally aspirated SkyActiv-G design which is unique to Mazda vehicles. The budget-friendly car offers 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque that is paired with a standard six-speed manual transmission. An optional six-speed automatic is also available. The low performance output of the Yaris does make passing on a highway or accelerating onto an on-ramp difficult. That’s not to say that the Toyota Yaris isn’t a reliable vehicle. The Mazda DNA that comes with this model means that the car has responsive steering and offers a steady and stress-free ride. Keep in mind that wind and road noise may prove to be bothersome due to the lack of sound insulation.

Frugal is the name of the game with the Toyota Yaris. The lightweight vehicle provides superior fuel economy getting an EPA-estimated 32 MPG city and 40 MPG highway. This makes it the perfect car for commuting as fuel bills are slashed with the high mileage rating.

Autotrader said the Toyota Yaris “provides a lot more thrills, a lot more frugality, and a lot more warranty than used cars priced about the same.”