The all-new Toyota Yaris has been revealed in Japan some 20 years after the debut of the first-generation version of the hatchback.

So, will it come to South Africa? Well, that remains to be seen considering Toyota SA switched from the Euro-spec Yaris to the entirely different Asian-spec model in 2018.

Anyway, back to this new Yaris. Underpinned by the GA-B version of the firm’s TNGA platform, Toyota says the fresh-faced hatchback was “built entirely from the ground up”, gaining a new engine, hybrid system, transmission and suspension.

Interestingly, something the firm calls “E-Four” (effectively electric all-wheel drive) will make its debut on the newcomer, too. Other fresh features include an advanced parking support system and improved driver assistance systems. The hybrid model, meanwhile, will boast a 1 500 W accessory power outlet and all models (in the hatch’s domestic market, at least) will ship standard with a high-mounted “Display Audio” system as well as a head-up display.

Toyota says the new GA-B platform lends the Yaris “superior handling stability and a high-quality ride” thanks to an average weight saving of 50 kg, increased torsional rigidity and a lower centre of gravity. The newcomer measures some five millimetres shorter than its forebear, but its wheelbase is a full 50 mm longer. In addition, the vehicle is 50 mm wider than before, while its roof height has been cut by 40 mm (the driver and passengers, though, sit lower).

And under the bonnet? Well, perhaps most interesting engine is the “newly developed” 1,5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit (although not much detail is available yet). Toyota also says it has “enhanced” the existing 1,0-litre three-pot, while claiming the new-generation 1,5-litre hybrid system achieves even greater fuel efficiency than before.

Transmission options include a newly developed continously variable transmission (with a launch gear, as featured in the latest Corolla hatchback) for the 1,5-litre powerplant (as well as a six-speed manual) and a smaller version of the CVT for the 1,0-litre mill.

In addition, the latest Yaris debuts something the brand calls “Easy Return Seat”, a mechanism that effectively memorises the driver's seat position, as well as “Turn Tilt Seats”, a system that renders it easier for the driver and front passenger to enter and exit the car by rotating the pew and tilting it.

[UPDATE: Toyota South Africa Motors has since told CARmag.co.za it plans to stick with the Asian-spec model for the "foreseeable future".]