Toyota's New GA-B Platform Is For The Small Cars

All image credits: Toyota
All image credits: Toyota

Toyota launched its highly versatile Toyota New Global Architecture modular platforms in 2015. They underpin both Toyota and Lexus models, and now there’s a new application just for small cars.

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It’s called the GA-B platform and it will likely underpin the 2020 Toyota Yaris. Toyota gave it a rigid underbody by fortifying the joints in the structure. And it should be lightweight and economical, according to a press release. The driver’s seat is positioned low and further back, toward the center of the car, which would improve center of gravity.

The thing with small cars is that sometimes they are cramped on the inside and there isn’t a lot of storage space. Toyota claims it can maximize interior space through clever packaging by using out-of-sight space. I hate nothing more than wasted space, so I’m very curious to see how Toyota tackles this problem.

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Illustration for article titled Toyotas New GA-B Platform Is For The Small Cars

The wheels, as you can see from the photos, are pushed right out to the corners of the car, so the overhangs are short. That should also provide a little more room to passengers in the car.

The new Yaris hatchback has been described (by Toyota) as having a “bulldog-like stance” and a “cab-rearward design,” which are two things that seem antithetical to each other. A bulldog is low and wide and definitely more cab-forward. How do you designed something with more interior space that’s also supposed to be cab-rearward?

Anyway, there are definitely more radical ways to package a car for more roominess. Stuffing the engine beneath the seats, like the wonderful Honda Z, or going rear-engine like a Smart, are a few examples. But the point of a modular platform is that you can still work within conventional design here just like the bigger cars.

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Toyota’s existing GA-C platform underpins cars such as the Corolla, the C-HR compact crossover, Prius and Lexus UX. The GA-B would be even more compact. (As for bigger cars like the Camry and RAV4, those are GA-K vehicles.)

Illustration for article titled Toyotas New GA-B Platform Is For The Small Cars
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It’s good to see small cars getting some attention. My prediction, after the next recession hits, of course, is compact cars will see an uprising, just like they did 10 years ago. We’re blindly and stupidly buying up big cars now, but these buying patterns tend to happen in waves and I think we’ve just about crested the trucks and SUVs one.

Now all someone has to do is build a Yaris hatch drift car.

Illustration for article titled Toyotas New GA-B Platform Is For The Small Cars

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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DISCUSSION

SheriffOfAmericanDouchetown
Sheriff Of American Douchetown

I heart small cars. I really do. Adding weight and increasing center of gravity has a negative effect on handling and general driving dynamics. So, what is the solution? Add more gadgets and gizmos to make the heavy car feel like a light car. All that extra mass comes at a price for a car designed to be sporty. Increased wear and tear on parts. Once the gizmos start breaking down, more stuff breaks down. Repairs and maintenance won’t be cheap to restore your sporty SUV to its former glory when it first left the showroom.

The beauty of a lightweight car is you don’t need to add much, if any, gizmos to make it behave like a sporty car. It’ll inherently possess superior driving dynamics, especially in applications where the car’s center of gravity is low. Even better, you don’t need a lot of HP to have fun with your small car. Less wear and tear due to less mass. I hope they keep making small cars indefinitely for those who are tired of the SUV craze.