2020 Toyota Yaris revealed: price, specs and release date

All-new Toyota Yaris gets hybrid power and improved infotainment tech, yet remains one of the most compact small cars out there. Here's everything else you need to know...

Toyota Yaris Reader Award

Price from £15,000 (est)​​​ |​ On sale Summer 2020

As happens with most big product launches these days, a very specific person was thought up as being the target market for the new Toyota Yaris. That person was Emma. Emma lives in Paris and wants a small car that’s as stylish as the city she lives in. She wants it to be spacious, good to drive, efficient and affordable – all without looking or feeling cheap. Emma wants the world, then, but can Toyota deliver?

Well, with a more aggressive and prominent front grille and bumper, chrome detailing and slim LED headlights, the new Yaris certainly cuts more of a sporty, dominant shape than the outgoing model – something that should help it to stand out against rivals such as the big-selling Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa, as well as the class-leading Volkswagen Polo.

The new Toyota Yaris is one of 12 cars nominated for the 2020 What Car? Reader Award. To see all of the contenders and have your say on which is most exciting, just head over to the voting site.

The fourth-generation Yaris also sits on new underpinnings that are both stiffer and lighter than before, promising improved safety and sharper handling, even though the suspension is softer to help soak up the scars of city streets.

2020 Toyota Yaris rear

Overall length has been reduced compared with the outgoing model, making it the shortest car in its class by some margin, but its front and rear axles are set farther apart than before in an effort to ensure that interior space doesn’t suffer. It’s also significantly wider, with a lower roof.

2020 Toyota Yaris engines

Engine options are limited to two for now: a 1.5-litre petrol and a 1.5-litre three-cylinder hybrid, the latter offering at least 111bhp, compared with the current car’s 98bhp. Where 60% of Yaris buyers currently choose the hybrid model, Toyota expects that to rise to 80% for this new version.

CO2 emissions and fuel economy figures for both engines have yet to be revealed, but Toyota says the hybrid offers improvements of up to 20% compared with today’s car. That’s very promising, because the current Yaris Hybrid returned a whopping 80mpg on urban roads in our True MPG test. As for the Yaris’s bigger brother, the Corolla, that's currently our favourite hybrid of all.

2020 Toyota Yaris rear detail

In addition, Toyota says the Yaris Hybrid can drive on electric power alone for more than 80% of a typical urban journey – a figure helped by the switch to a new battery design that can store more energy than the old one. The hybrid can travel on electric power at speeds of up to 75mph and can cover close to four miles before the petrol engine kicks in. 

Down the line, expect to see a 1.0-litre petrol option added to the range, along with a plug-in hybrid. However, a fully electric version isn’t likely. Gearbox options are a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic. Toyota engineers say the CVT should offer smoother acceleration than today’s unit, which sends the engine revs flaring when you call for extra speed.

2020 Toyota Yaris interior

Inside, there’s a standard 8.0in infotainment touchscreen running an updated version of Toyota’s current software. It’s not the last word in terms of graphics or responsiveness, but it does at least include handy shortcut buttons to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. Below that, there’s another panel with traditional dials for the climate control settings.

Oddment storage is especially good, with a tray running below the infotainment screen, as well as a cubbyhole in front of the gearlever and a space under the centre armrest. There’s also a wireless charging pad for your mobile phone, plus multiple USB connections. 

2020 Toyota Yaris dashboard

You won’t find digital instruments in the new Yaris – Toyota says it isn't convinced that’s what buyers in this market really want – but there is a (most likely optional) 10.0in head-up display that can put directions from the sat-nav, plus information such as your speed, directly in front of your eyes.

Sitting in the driver’s seat – the same design as you’ll find in the Corolla and C-HR small SUV – there’s far more adjustment than before, both in the seat itself and the steering wheel, so whatever your size and shape, you should be able to get comfy easily.

2020 Toyota Yaris practicality and equipment

Things are less impressive in the back, where six-footers will feel cramped – especially when sitting behind someone of equal size. The Volkswagen Polo is far more accommodating in this respect.

Boot space has yet to be confirmed, but it does appear to be at least as big as the current car’s and includes a variable-height floor to negate the large lip at the entrance.

2020 Toyota Yaris boot

In terms of safety technology, every Yaris gets adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and a new centre airbag.

One of the benefits of its new underpinnings is that they can be stretched and adapted into multiple bodystyles. Toyota has hinted that a small SUV based on the Yaris could be among the first of these new models to arrive, and would sit underneath the existing C-HR.

Prices won’t be announced until closer to the Yaris arriving in dealerships, but we’d expect a modest increase on today’s starting price of £12,995. A figure closer to £15,000 seems likely; that would still make the Yaris cheaper than its Fiesta and Polo rivals. 

Don’t think there’s no room for discounting on small cars, either, because our New Car Buying service can net you a saving of up to £1800 on the current Yaris. We can’t yet get you a discount on a car in France, though. Sorry about that, Emma.

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