Report: Toyota Mulling More Variants of Yaris Subcompact Car; Crossover Likely

By Jacob Brown | August 03, 2012
Toyota has long been a master of taking a single basic vehicle architecture and stretching it across several different models, all while keeping them differentiated to attract customers shopping in various segments. Take, for instance, the Camry-based Sienna minivan and Highlander crossover. But the subcompact Yaris hatchback is likely to be the next big deal around Toyota, if our sources prove correct. Speaking with an an engineer with knowledge of future product plans, we were told the platform could spawn several different variants in the near future, much as what has been done with the Corolla and Camry platforms. The most likely next step would be a small crossover along the lines of what General Motors has done with transforming its Chevrolet Sonic platform into what's being used for the upcoming Buick Encore. But, as we've seen already with the Toyota Prius c, which is closely related to the Yaris, all options are on the table and are still being considered.
Last month, patent illustration of what appear to be a Lexus-like Yaris came from China, showing single-lug "knockoff" wheels like a race car and revised, sportier looks. It's rumored to be a homologation version of the Yaris for World Rally Championship racing for overseas markets, but that has not been confirmed. Toyota is expected to re-enter the series in 2014 for the first time since the late 1990s.
There's plenty of room left in what Toyota can do with its subcompact platform, and we're placing our bets on it being reworked into a crossover. Toyota's done it before with the subcompact Tercel 4WD of the 1980s, and we're fairly confident Toyota will do it again within the next few years.