The TNGA Toyota Yaris (and Yaris Cross) may not come to Malaysia. Here’s why

Eric · Apr 29, 2020 10:39 AM

The recently-introduced TNGA-based Toyota Yaris Cross (and its Yaris hatchback sibling) has garnered a lot of attention lately, as many readers love the way the design of the new model.

But for many of us, the Yaris and Yaris Cross will remain as images or videos on our screens, as these two models are unlikely to come to Malaysia.

Here's why.

Wait, just how small is it?

The first reason why the models aren’t destined for Malaysia is because of their size.

Compared to the Yaris we’re familiar with, the TNGA-based model is a whopping 205 mm shorter in length and 35 mm narrower, coming in at 3,940 mm long and 1,695 mm wide.

Its 3,940 mm length also means that it is shorter than the Mazda 2 hatchback (4,065 mm), Honda Jazz (3,989 mm), and Proton Iriz (3,945 mm).

That said, the TNGA Yaris is 45 mm longer than the Perodua Myvi (3,895 mm).

Earlier, we've compared the dimensions of the Yaris Cross against some of its Japanese rivals, such as the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V and found that the Yaris Cross is the smallest.

However, considering that the Yaris Cross is a Euro-centric model, its 4,180 mm length puts it ahead of the current-generation Renault Captur (4,122 mm) and Peugeot 2008 (4,159 mm).

The Yaris Cross’ 2,560 mm wheelbase also puts it between the Captur (2,606 mm) and 2008 (2,538 mm).

TNGA Yaris may not be cheap

Then there’s pricing.

Considering that the TNGA Yaris was engineered with developed markets in mind (Europe, Japan, Australia), the cost to assemble one would be much higher than the ASEAN market model.

Granted, the TNGA-based Yaris certainly looks the part, and cabin materials are a step-up from the ASEAN market model we’re accustomed to, but all of these could come at a cost.

At the moment, prices of the Yaris top out at RM 83,888. If the new model is sold here, it may not be priced as favourably as the current model.

In fact, it’s tough for Toyota Malaysia to price the TNGA Yaris competitively against the upcoming Honda City Hatchback, which is designed for developing markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Yaris Cross is off the menu too

We are aware that many readers love the way the Yaris Cross looks, but this particular model may not be offered here.

Instead, Toyota will be filling that gap with the Corolla Cross.

Unlike the Yaris Cross that is built on the smaller TNGA-B platform, the Corolla Cross will be built on the slightly larger TNGA-C platform, like the Corolla Altis and C-HR.

However unlike the Corolla Altis and C-HR, the Corolla Cross will have a torsion beam rear suspension instead of double wishbones. The reason? To free up more space in the back and also to keep cost low (refer to the earlier point on price competitiveness for ASEAN region).

The torsion beam rear suspension also allows Toyota to save space in the Corolla Cross, possibly giving it more boot space than the C-HR (388 litres).

But there’s a silver lining

While we may not get the regular Yaris hatchback or even the Yaris Cross, it’s not all bad news as the GR Yaris will be launched in Malaysia.

Yes, the over-the-top, rally-inspired Toyota GR Yaris will be offered for sale in Malaysia.

But don’t expect the GR Yaris to be cheap, as you will most likely need to fork out almost RM 1,000 for every PS produced by the 1.6-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, possibly more than a Civic Type R.

Pricey as it may be, the GR Yaris has no direct competitor – despite the fact that the Polo GTI and Fiesta ST are also B-segment hatchbacks like the GR Yaris, they are front wheel drive models (GR Yaris is 4WD), and power output of the VW and Ford does not even come close to the Yaris. Furthermore, the Polo and Fiesta are not built to be race cars and aren't homologated for racing.

At that price point, the GR Yaris is aimed squarely at the wealthy car collector that appreciates a WRC homologation car.

Yes, although the Yaris Cross looks cool but it won't be missed as Euro-style B-segment crossovers generally don't do very well here, as proven by the Peugeot 2008, Ford EcoSport, and Renault Captur.

The TNGA Yaris also won't win over Malaysians who like to get the most metal for their money, ruling out its introduction here.