This Toyota Yaris Hatchback just got cancelled, and that’s a shame

The last few months have had quite some variation with regard to the cars we’ve been reviewing. We’ve tried electric minis and solar Sonatas, and the lack of any travel has meant a chance to try some of the vehicles on the press fleet that we hadn’t managed to make time for in the past. Today’s topic is the $17,750 Toyota Yaris hatchback; it’s notable because the very week we had one for testing was the same week that Toyota announced the Yaris is cancelled. And honestly, that’s a shame.

It’s not a terribly storied nameplate. Decades from now, millennial retirees are unlikely to get into bidding wars over rust-free examples. Yarises have not claimed victory at Le Mans. Unlike the original Mini, it can’t point to many famous owners, although Burton Guster did drive a blue Yaris in Psych. In fact, the car we currently call a Yaris in the US is barely even a Toyota and shares nothing other than a name with the Yaris that our European or Japanese audience might recognize. Under the skin it’s actually a Mazda 2.

I must confess, I was ignorant of that fact up until I opened the door to our test Yaris—a $19,705 five-door XLE version. But it was instantly obvious once I looked around. The steering wheel is pure Mazda, although it’s the older, slightly fatter-rimmed wheel, not the newest one I keep raving about in the Mazdas 3 and CX-30. The infotainment system might say Toyota but it’s also pure Mazda—no bad thing considering it’s a lot less frustrating to use than Toyota’s Entune offering. The dash is pure Mazda from a few years ago, too, with a central analogue dial flanked by a pair of monochrome displays that wash out unreadably in direct sunlight.

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