Toyota has unveiled a new Yaris hatchback.
Toyota has unveiled a new Yaris hatchback.

Australia’s cheapest hybrid debuts

Toyota's new Yaris looks set to be Australia's most affordable hybrid car.

The next-gen model arrives in Australia mid-2020, bringing important tech and safety changes for the brand's most affordable car.

Recognising space is at a premium inside the compact hatch, Toyota has equipped the car with a centre airbag to prevent the driver and passenger from slamming into each other.

Updated driver aids include auto emergency braking with pedestrian, cyclist and object detection functions.

Active cruise control and lane keeping assistance join new tech capable of spotting pedestrians crossing the road when turning at intersections, warning drivers to slow down or stop.

Toyota is expected to develop a high-performance version of the new Yaris.
Toyota is expected to develop a high-performance version of the new Yaris.

Mechanical changes include the impressive underpinnings found in the Corolla and C-HR compact cars, suggesting the new Yaris will be much better to drive than the current model.

Toyota's Gazoo Racing high-performance arm could build a follow-up act to the original Yaris GRMN only offered in Europe, giving enthusiasts an alternative to the likes of Volkswagen's Polo GTI.

Power comes from a choice of 1.5-litre petrol or hybrid engines driving the front wheels through CVT automatic transmissions - a welcome change from the current car's dated four-speed auto.

The new Yaris features the option of a hybrid engine.
The new Yaris features the option of a hybrid engine.

Full details including prices and engine outputs will be revealed closer to the car's local debut.

Expect the base version to cost about $19,000 drive-away when it arrives, with the hybrid positioned closer to $25,000 on the road.