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2024 Toyota Yaris and Yaris Cross revealed with new looks and upgraded tech features to better compete with Kia Stonic, Hyundai Venue and MG ZS - but when will we see the upgrades in Australia?

The Yaris and Yaris Cross had falling market share in 2023, but will these new updates change their fortunes?

Toyota has revealed a facelifted version of its Yaris hatch and Yaris Cross for the 2024 model year in Japan.

The facelift is exactly that for both the hatchback and small SUV - simply a new and much larger radiator grille for the Yaris hatch, with just a slightly tweaked look for the Yaris Cross. The majority of upgrades are reserved for the cabin and technology of both cars.

Inside, the Yaris scores a new synthetic leather and fabric two-tone interior trim as well as a new 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster on some grades in Japan, plus the introduction of connected services for its central touchscreen.

Some interior garnishes have also been switched to a gunmetal shade, while on both the Yaris and Yaris Cross ranges, there is a new dark grey exterior paint colour to choose from.

Meanwhile in the Yaris Cross, a central armrest console box has been added to some variants. The auto emergency braking system in both cars has also been upgraded to include intersection support, detecting both large vehicles and motorcycles.

It is thus far unclear whether these Japan-market upgrades will hit Australian shores, but Toyota Australia has been contacted for comment. Interestingly, the Japanese market facelift looks slightly different from the recent European-market facelift, and comes with slightly different equipment upgrades, too.

While the updates to the Japanese Yaris and Yaris Cross are somewhat minor, their European counterparts recently also scored an emergency stop feature if the car detects an unresponsive driver, as well as a more powerful 'hybrid 130' drivetrain upping power from 85kW/141Nm to 96kW/185Nm.

The Yaris finished 2023 nearly 30 per cent down year-on-year in Australia, losing a significant amount of market share primarily to the more affordable Suzuki Swift, as well as the outgoing Baleno and Kia Rio, despite the fact that the Yaris is the only car in the light hatch segment to offer a true hybrid drivetrain, with high pricing continuing to scare buyers away. The bargain-basement MG3 was the light hatch segment leader by a huge margin, outselling the expensive Yaris at a ratio exceeding 5:1.

Similarly, the Yaris Cross has taken a year-on-year battering, down 22.7 percent, although it remained in third position in the light SUV space for 2023. The segment is totally dominated by the ageing Mazda CX-3, which had more than twice the registrations of the Yaris Cross.

The light car segment continues to shrink overall in Australia as it becomes difficult for manufacturers to price one bargain models and comply with stringent five-star ANCAP standards.

The segment is set for an overhaul in the next year or so, with a new Swift and a new MG3 due in 2024. The Mazda2 was just updated, although it is one of Mazda’s oldest cars. Similarly, the VW Polo is starting to get long in the tooth, having been facelifted in 2022.

The same could be said about the light SUV segment in which the Yaris Cross plays, with its primary rivals like the Kia Stonic, Hyundai Venue, and recently-tweaked Mazda CX-3 all starting to get on in years. The segment will see the addition of the Suzuki Fronx in 2024 to complement the popular Jimny offroader.

Tom White
Senior Journalist
Despite studying ancient history and law at university, it makes sense Tom ended up writing about cars, as he spent the majority of his waking hours finding ways to drive as many as possible. His fascination with automobiles was also accompanied by an affinity for technology growing up, and he is just as comfortable tinkering with gadgets as he is behind the wheel. His time at CarsGuide has given him a nose for industry news and developments at the forefront of car technology.
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