It seems the in-thing for 2019 is to take a previously bland B-segment product, and massively ramp up the aggression. In the case of the Yaris, the previous model’s Predator face couldn’t save it from being just a bit meh. But now, it looks like the angular CH-R had a baby with the handsome new Corolla, with the offspring taking the best bits of each.
It’s the first car to sit on Toyota’s all-new GA-B platform, and also the first to use the company’s fresh 1.5-litre inline-three electrified powertrain. It’s no ordinary hybrid, either - the motor alone supplies a whopping 79bhp plus 103lb ft of torque. According to Toyota’s real-world tests, the motor and its lithium-ion battery pack will allow the Yaris to complete 80 per cent of the average urban journey without using the internal combustion part of the equation at all.
There will be conventional powertrains too, including a non-hybrid 1.5 and a 1.0-litre inline-three. There should also be some pokier stuff on the way - Toyota is reportedly cooking up more than one hot Yaris. There’ll undoubtedly be someone somewhere in the world right now furiously Photoshopping the new Yaris as a GRMN.
The new Yaris has a “condensed and agile” design concept, intended to “set it apart in a market segment where new cars have typically grown larger with each successive iteration,” Toyota says. So, although it’s wider than the outgoing model and has a wheelbase stretched by 50mm, it’s shorter by 5mm. The roof is 40mm lower, too.
Toyota has made sure the interior is as distraction-free as possible, applying what it calls a “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” ethos. You won’t have to faff about with climate controls on a touchscreen here.
Despite retaining most of the usual tactile controls, the interior is still a nicely minimalist space. A single touchscreen juts out of the dashboard just below eye level, and to ensure you don’t have to look at it too often, there’s a 10-inch colour head-up display.
We’ll have to wait and see how much it’ll cost and what the UK specs will be like, but so far, it’s looking quite promising. Orders will open summer 2020.