The all-new Toyota Yaris - overview

The all-new Toyota Yaris - overview

27.07.2020: First application of new GA-B platform enables style, compactness, practicality, driving enjoyment and safety New fourth- generation hybrid system delivers 11

    First application of new GA-B platform enables style, compactness, practicality, driving enjoyment and safety

    New fourth- generation hybrid system delivers 116 DIN hp, fuel economy of just 3.7 l/100 km and 85 g/km CO2 emissions (WLTP)

    Engineered to be the world’s safest compact car with Advanced Driver Assistance systems (ADAS) installed as standard

    Designed and developed for European customers; built in Valenciennes, France

The all-new, fourth-generation Yaris is a car that meets the demands of urban life, but also provides enjoyment on the open road or highway.

It has been designed to be agile on crowded and confined urban streets, reflected in its compact proportions and class-leading, tight turning circle, while at the same time providing a spacious, comfortable and high-quality interior with equipment specifications that meet all today’s customer priorities for connectivity and seamless access to information.

The key to Toyota meeting its ambitions for the new Yaris is its first application of the Toyota New Global Architecture – TNGA – philosophy to a small car, introducing the modular GA-B platform that will underpin a series of new models. The GA-B platform is central to the Yaris’ improved dynamic performance, giving a lower centre of gravity and much greater body rigidity. It also enabled the designers to create a more distinctive and powerful-looking car with an appealing and individual identity.

The new model uses the latest evolution of Toyota’s fourth-generation hybrid electric powertrain, giving the car better fuel economy, lower emissions and a greatly enhanced capability to operate on its electric power alone, at higher speeds and over longer distances.

In fact, on urban journeys, new Yaris can operate for a significant amount of the time with zero emissions, just like a battery electric vehicle, but with no concerns about recharging.

Reinforcing its reputation as a segment leader in safety, the Toyota Yaris again raises the standard. True to Toyota’s commitment to democratising safety, it benefits from a greater range of Toyota Safety Sense active systems as standard, including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as Lane Trace Assist, Emergency Steering Assist and Intersection Turn Assistance.

The functionality of the Pre-Collision System has been increased so that it can detect pedestrians by day and night and cyclists in daytime driving. New Yaris also offers segment-first Intersection Turn Assistance to recognise collision risks with oncoming traffic and pedestrians when making a turn at an intersection, and is the first Toyota to be equipped with centre airbags. These help prevent driver and passenger colliding with each other in a side impact.

With these provisions and the benefit of significantly increased body rigidity from the GA-B platform, Toyota aims to make the new Yaris the world’s safest small car.


Product development

Yasunori Suezawa is the Chief Engineer of the new Yaris and he has a clear vision of what the car needs to deliver at a time of radical change in the motor industry. He said: “We reconsidered the values required of a compact vehicle as we moved into the next generation. The essentials are fuel economy, safety, spaciousness, usability, and performance. But we must also deliver enjoyable driving to each and every customer – a quality we express in the new Yaris’ theme of ‘ready to go’.”

The development programme brought together skilled people from Toyota’s planning, design, production engineering and manufacturing divisions in a group that became known internally as The Compact Car Company. Its aim was to make ever-better cars and a more exciting new Yaris, a mission founded on the opportunities provided by the new GA-B platform and the fourth-generation hybrid electric powertrain.


Yaris heritage

The Toyota Yaris has an impressive heritage as an innovator. The first-generation model, launched in 1999, was Toyota’s first model to win the European Car of the Year title, and was distinguished by its “big small” character with its remarkably spacious interior.

The second-generation Yaris was the first B-segment model to gain a top five-star rating in Euro NCAP’s safety testing programme, while the third-generation introduced hybrid electric power to the small car market for the first time and made further advances in safety with the standard provision of Toyota Safety Sense advanced driver assistance systems.


Yaris and the European market

In 20 years, the Yaris has become Toyota’s most important model in Europe, steadily increasing both its sales volume and its market share. In 2019 it recorded around 224,000 sales and took 7.6% of the B-segment market, making it Toyota’s best-selling model in the region, accounting for more than 22% of its new car business.

Toyota predicts the B-segment will remain strong part of the market in Europe in the next few years and that Yaris will continue to be one of its principal models, responding to the market’s requirement for cars that have even better fuel economy and lower emissions in order to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

New Yaris also responds to the changing priorities of European small car customers, with rational issues such as cost, practicality, safety and quality being joined more emotional considerations, including style, sportiness, a youthful image and fun-to-drive performance.



The new Yaris is built at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France’s Onnaing plant, near Valenciennes, where €300 million has been invested to enable TNGA vehicle production. The 1.5-litre Hybrid Dynamic Force engine and the hybrid transmission are manufactured by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland.



    Designed for a condensed and agile look and “ready-to-go” character

    Overall length reduced by 5 mm, but longer wheelbase and greater width ensure cabin spaciousness and comfort

    GA-B platform allows for a more engaging, lower-set driving position

    Driver’s cockpit designed around the concept of “eyes on the road, hands on the wheel”

Exterior design

The new Yaris returns to the “big small” concept that inspired the first-generation model but interpreting it anew in a “condensed and agile” look that expresses a sense of the car being full of energy and dynamism and always ready-to-go.

Chief Engineer Yasunori Suezawa explained: “I wanted the styling to capture the stance of an athlete on the starting blocks. You can see this in the rear wings and the car’s new proportions – wider, lower and more compact – giving the impression of condensed power.”

While many B-segment models have been growing progressively longer, the new Yaris is actually shorter than the current model. But although overall length has decreased to less than four metres, the wheelbase has been extended by 50 mm, giving extra cabin space.

The GA-B platform has allowed the overall height to come down by 40 mm, while an increase in the vehicle’s width by 50 mm and an extra 57 mm in the track add to the car’s overall low, wide and powerful stance. The front and rear overhangs have been reduced, too, with 10 mm taken from the front (800 mm) and 45 mm from the rear (580 mm), further accentuating the overall compact dimensions and giving a class-leading turning radius, ideal for negotiating urban streets and parking spaces.

The new platform also gave the designers more freedom to produce an eye-catching, impactful design and emphasise Toyota’s individual design identity compared to its market competitors. The effect of the condensed proportions is amplified by strong character lines down the side of the car, projecting a sense of forward motion. The muscular front and rear wings add to the overall taut, coherent look and, together with the sculpted door panels, express the car’s agility and “ready-to-go” character.

The frontal design is focused on the large grille and central Toyota emblem. The designers have added to the dynamic look by pulling the base of the A-pillar rearwards (which also improves the driver’s forward view) and increasing the bonnet length. The new light units feature LED technology and include turn indicators that alternate with the daytime running lights. The headlights extend towards the front wheels in a strong styling feature that also reduces the perceived length of the front overhang.

The wheels are available in 15, 16 and 17-inch diameter, according to powertrain and model grade.


Interior design and packaging

The interior reflects an overall “less is more” concept. It is a sharply designed space that has the solid, and high sensory quality and spacious feel of a car from a class above.

For the driver’s cockpit, the concept is “eyes on the road, hands on the wheel” with the arrangement of displays and controls organised to ensure the driver can focus on the road and keep informed of key vehicle data with the least distraction, and excellent all-round visibility.

“We worked on two main elements to achieve this,” said Chief Engineer Suezawa. “First we maximised visibility by setting the instrument panel lower and pulling the A-pillar further back. The front seats were also moved outwards, so there is more space between the driver and passenger. Second, we wanted to let the driver take in the flow of information with minimal eye movement, so we are offering a large colour (10-inch) head-up display.”

Details include a larger area of soft-touch padding across the dashboard; soft felt inserts in the door panels; a wider front console; a lower hood for the driver’s instrument binnacle; and a small-diameter, sporty steering wheel.


Compact but spacious

As detailed above, the new GA-B platform allowed for a reduction in the car’s overall length, making it the most compact model in its class, but with an increase in its wheelbase. This has been key to achieving interior packaging that ensures space and comfort for everyone on board, echoing the innovative “big-small” character of the original Yaris 20 years ago.

The new Yaris has more space (an extra 20 mm) between the driver and front passenger, and for a wider front console to be designed.

Similarly, load space is good with the boot measuring 700 mm deep and offering 286 litres of storage.


Driving position

The driver’s greater sense of control and connection with the car is enhanced by their position at the wheel. In the new Yaris three fundamental changes have been made to create a more engaging and comfortable driving position and support the car’s fun-to-drive character.

The seat has been moved 60 mm rearwards (which also contributes to the car’s improved weight balance); the hip point has been lowered by 21 mm to give a more dynamic driving position and ensure good head room within the car’s lower overall height; and the steering wheel has been angled six degrees more vertical. The wheel’s reach adjustment has been extended so that it can be brought 77 mm closer to the driver.

The steering wheel has been made smaller and sportier and has new auxiliary buttons with a greater tactile quality. This makes them instinctive to use without having to look at them – another element in the “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” concept.

Driver distraction is also minimised with a “binocular” arrangement of the meters and TFT multi-information display in the instrument binnacle;the close-at-hand positioning of the eight-inch central touchscreen display, with sharp, high-resolution graphics; and the option of a head-up display.


- Stephan Lesuisse, photos Toyota


27.07.2020 / MaP

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