This is one of the most affordable and efficient hatchbacks currently on the market. Prices start at $18,000, but the higher trims are equipped with automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a host of advanced safety tech. There’s only one engine option available with the Yaris, and that’s the 1.5-liter 4-cylinder unit that generates 106hp and 103lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, which is strange considering that the Yaris sedan is sold with a manual. It’s not an exciting car, but it more than makes up for that by offering 32mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway.
This is easily the best looking hatchback of 2020. Somehow every new version of the Mazda 3 looks even better than the last version. It is based on the new Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture that is stronger than the outgoing platform but allows for better cabin sound insulation. Unfortunately, the multi-link suspension has been replaced by the older torsion beam setup. But prices haven’t dropped. For $23,500 you get a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder 186hp engine. Later Mazda will add the revolutionary Skyactiv-X engine, which is based on a diesel type compression ignition but is actually a petrol engine. It is expected to crank up power output to 190hp and 207lb-ft of torque but also be noisier than the current engine.
The new Toyota Corolla hatchback is based on a platform that was taken from the Euro-spec Toyota Auris model. It is sportier and more engaging to drive than the earlier model. But the earlier model wasn’t sporty at all. So this version is only very slightly sporty. It is powered by a new, efficient 2.0-liter inline-four that develops 168hp and 255lb-ft of torque. It also gives 32mpg in the city and 42mpg on the highway in the base SE trim with a CVT transmission. This transmission also totally removes any excitement from the driving experience. The 6-speed manual is more engaging, but it comes with a 5mpg combined drop in efficiency. It starts at $20,000 for the manual, and the CVT version costs $1000 more. Put it all together, and you get a car that perfectly fits the bill as an affordable compact hatchback.