By on January 24, 2019

In a less-than-shocking turn of events, Toyota has confirmed to CarsDirect that its Yaris Liftback, a slow-selling model that managed to score itself a facelift a few years back, is dead in the United States.

Official confirmation of the model’s discontinuation came from Toyota spokesperson Nancy Hubbell. Starting at $16,565 after destination, the diminutive hatch’s sales paled in comparison to that of its Mazda-based namesake, the Yaris sedan. To all observers, the Yaris hatch was a dead car … driving. 

Yaris Liftback sales were on a collision course with the earth’s surface for all of 2018. Overall volume dropped 77.6 percent last year, with December’s tally of just 98 vehicles — and the fact that Toyota hadn’t placed a 2019 model on its consumer website — foretelling the model’s fate.

Of the 27,209 Yaris vehicles sold in 2018, just 1,940 features a liftgate.

Powered by a 1.5-liter inline-four (whose only dance partner was a four-speed automatic), the Yaris hatch couldn’t boast the sharper handling of its sedan sibling, which is actually just a Mazda 2 in disguise. The model has the distinction of coming in a two-door version, not that you ever saw any on the roads.

2018 Toyota Yaris

Tears? There won’t be many — especially not from Tim Cain, who earlier this week held up his lacklustre Yaris loaner as Exhibit A when describing why buyers aren’t hot on subcompacts. The more competent 2019 Yaris sedan stickers for $16,380, so all is not lost for lovers of small Toyota cars.

It seems Toyota sat on the fence for a while, mulling the Yaris Liftback’s death. According to CarsDirect, fleet documents “listed 2019 Yaris Liftback production as ‘TBA’ for months well after the brand issued ordering guides. It’s not every day that an automaker issues order guides for a car it doesn’t end up building.”

Through correspondence with Toyota’s Hubbell, the publication learned that Toyota has something to show off in that space that hasn’t already been revealed.

“Additionally, we’re working on something new for MY2020 and look forward to seeing you at the New York Auto Show for more details,” Hubbell wrote.

Any thoughts on what this mystery vehicle might be?

[Images: Toyota]

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39 Comments on “RIP: Pour One Out for the Toyota Yaris Hatch...”


  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Rental agencies will be grieving for at least a week.

  • avatar
    rokop

    This car had one feature I really liked….the single windshield wiper.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Hearts are breaking wide open over this.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Some fool in my condo complex has one of these. I’m mildly impressed that they managed to fit 3 car seats in the back, but think they’d have done better with a Corolla.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Like to see the Canadian split for hatch vs sedan, since the sedan is probably the rarest mainstream vehicle on the roads today here, while the hatches are still very common, admittedly pre-the most recent facelift since sales have declined a lot recently. You emphasize the United States, does that mean it’s continuing in Canada?

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      About 80% of the cars sold were hatches in Canada. The sedan was actually only stocked by dealers in Quebec – everywhere else it was a special order.

    • 0 avatar
      Hogey74

      Yeah it’s interesting to see this news. In Australia hatches rule the roost! Sedans are the (often) ugly after-thoughts… The Echo sedan was apparently designed for the US, given your tastes in cars. Travelling in South America last year though, the Yaris sedan (or whatever it’s called there) made sense: a decent lockable boot – given the crime rates – room for 4 people and a pleasant shape. The right size for tight streets too where Mazda 6s looked too big.

      BTW the best selling car here is now the Toyota Corolla. Ford and GM are dying due to persisting with large sedans that stopped selling after the fuel shock 10 years ago. Ford will last longer due to good Ranger ute sales but GM is close to death. It’s sad but they’ve sucked billions in government hand outs and most sadly, US build quality, reliability and customer service just aren’t good enough. The home of cars can’t compete it seems :-(.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The only ones I see in the New York City metro area are used by a medical testing company.
    I see far more Honda Fit’s, Fiat 500’s and Hyundai Accent’s on the roads.

  • avatar

    I’ve always been an advocate for subcompacts and hatchbacks especially. As recently as this week’s article about the decline of subcompacts, I defended the perks of small cars and exclaimed how much I enjoy owning them.

    But the Yaris I had no love for. After renting a few, it wasn’t fuel efficient, particularly enjoyable to drive, the interior was a sea of plastic space and the radio looked like a weird afterthought, it wasn’t cheap to buy, had some scary handling, and wasn’t attractive. It was a small car with few small car perks, and reminded me of the equally disappointing and departed Mazda 2 hatch.

    This I see one of the few subcompacts I’m glad to see go

    • 0 avatar
      xtoyota

      Besides it’ front clip is Fugly

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ xtoyota – Agreed. Mid-cycle facelifts almost always make a car look worse, but it particularly bad with the current Yaris hatch. “Try to make it look like the ugly new Prius” was not a good design brief.

        It’s a niche product in the US, but the Yaris is a great city car. I know families that own, respectively, a 2nd-gen 2-door hatch and a 2nd-gen sedan (which technically is the Belta, a separate model). Both have had them ten-plus years and are getting good service out of them.

        I think two of the issues with selling them in the US are that (1) most Americans don’t live in cities proper, which is where these cars really shine, and that (2) smart people who live well within their means buy them. People like that don’t churn through cars willy-nilly.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      “it wasn’t fuel efficient” Really? I’ve gotten as high as a measured 44 mpg in a Yaris sedan, which has the same 1NZ-FE/4-sp auto drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      I’m pouring one out for the Yaris. I don’t think it’s a bad car. However, it’s not cheap enough relative to its competition to make it worth owning for most people.

      I would, however, say that the Mazda2 comparison is not very accurate. The Mazda2 was a much livelier drive than the Yaris. I miss that car too, but more than the Yaris.

      • 0 avatar
        Hogey74

        The 2 is a great little car! The previous gen Ford Fiesta sister car drove slightly better but is notorious for the issues and customer support… personal experience :-(… With upgraded tires the 2 can be thrown around like a toy.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    A bottom-feeder bites the dust. Somehow, I don’t foresee a river of tears being shed.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I viewed these as buying Mazdas but perhaps with a different drivetrain. I’ll take my Auris for a smidge more.

  • avatar
    warrant242

    They should have killed it as soon as they brought in the iA sedan. That’s a little car with a chance, and they didn’t help it by tagging it with the name baggage of the outdated Yaris.

  • avatar
    don1967

    I never understood why they named it “Yaris”. Sounds like something you try to find in a mirror but are never quite sure.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    I’d expect the “something new” will be the long-rumored US rebadge of the Mazda2 hatch. The sedan is already sold everywhere else as the Mazda2 sedan. Fills the new hole in the lineup with a better car, and it doesn’t cost Toyota a dime to tool up for it.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Toyota has been phoning in the subcompact class since the Tercel became the Echo, errrrr, Paseo, errr Yaris, errrr we give up. At least the Echo was fun to drive and had some grumpf, even if it was ugly as sin with the classic el cheapo non-painted bumpers of the era.

    Regional offers where I live (YMMV).

    Yaris 36 month lease $169 a month with $3889 down
    Corolla 36 month lease $179 a month with $1999 down

    Any questions?

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      You’re killing me, APaGttH! :-)

      Rubbery black bumpers, to my knowledge, haven’t been around since the 4th-gen Tercel (1990-94). I’ve never seen a US-market Echo with OEM, unpainted bumpbers. (I have noticed a trend of city car owners’ choosing not to paint replacement bumpers. If you street park, and your neighbors park by ear, there’s some logic to not painting your bumper.)

      The Paseo was a separate model and really isn’t part of the Tercel-Echo-Yaris succession. It was a platform-mate of the Tercel, with a sport coupe body and a nicer interior. Think of it as a baby-sized analog to the base-version FWD Celicas. I never drove a 2nd-gen, but the 1st-gen ones were fun to drive on the basis of being small and having a low center of gravity.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I thought the xD was okay.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        I’ve never driven one, but the xD was fun in that it essentially was the Yaris platform with the Corolla drivetrain. 300 cc doesn’t sound like that a big increase in displacement, but the xD had a 24% power bump as a result. 0-60 was in the low 8’s, which was quick for a non-performance-oriented subcompact.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Won’t any of you realize we’re losing the only French-built car sold in America??

  • avatar
    TNJed

    Mystery vehicle: An AYGO based crossover priced under the CH-R, along the lines of the Nissan Kicks.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    Aye, I’ll pour one over its grave, but will pass it through me kidneys farst…

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