A large hexagonal grille dominates the front end, but it's still a Mazda2 underneath.
A large hexagonal grille dominates the front end, but it's still a Mazda2 underneath.
Image: Supplied

Toyota has revealed pictures of a boldly styled new Yaris hatchback ahead of its official unveiling at the New York Auto Show from April 19-29.

The Japanese car maker says the latest generation compact hatch “combines sporty fun and premium engineering in an audaciously styled car”. With its massive new hexagonal grille and sharp-eyed headlamps, the car certainly projects a gutsy attitude.

The new Yaris hatch is actually a Mazda2 with a new nose, as with the current US market Yaris sedan which is also a rebadged Mazda2.

The new Yaris hatch was revealed on Toyota USA’s media site, which said the new car will be offered in that country in two trims, LE and XLE.

The cabin has a simple and neat appearance, with an 18cm touchscreen infotainment system that can also be controlled by a rotary controller between the front seats.

Both versions come with a high level of safety including a Low-speed Pre-collision Safety System that scans the road ahead. If it detects a potential crash it first sounds an audio/visual alert, and should the driver not respond it automatically applies the brakes. The car also comes  standard with stability control, ABS brakes and six airbags.

Power comes from Toyota’s familiar 1.5l normally-aspirated VVT-i petrol engine, with outputs of 79kW and 140Nm. It’s paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with no option of a manual.

It isn’t yet known whether this new Yaris is headed for SA.

There are different versions of the Yaris sold around the world. Until early in 2018, Toyota SA offered a European-sourced Yaris on the local market, but due to slow sales replaced it with a larger and differently styled Yaris that is built for the Asian market and assembled in Thailand.

“We will continue with the Thai-sourced model for now as market acceptance has been good,” says Toyota SA spokesman Riaan Esterhuysen. “We may evaluate this new version for introduction at a later stage, to potentially cater to a different part of the segment.”