Excited yet? Toyota hopes we are, teasing us with a tightly-cropped image of the new subcompact Yaris sedan, as a preview of a full photographic reveal the company says will happen March 31.

We’re teasing right back, of course, playing to the Yaris’ reputation as a boring-but-sensible car; one-class-up cars like Toyota’s own Corolla, the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra are much stronger sellers on average, but we buy more subcompacts than our American friends, making cars like the Yaris important ones north of the 49th. In 2014, the Yaris was actually one of the slower-selling models in its class, but we suspect the addition of a sedan will improve its numbers.

In the new Yaris sedan, we’re promised “bold, aggressive styling and premium features” in an efficient, nimble package; what that photo makes clear is the sedan will get unique front-end styling to set it apart from its hatchback linemate—in addition to the obvious substitution of trunk for rear hatch.

There are no specs to go along with the first image of the new car, but we expect that, like the old Yaris sedan (it was discontinued in 2013), this one will ride on a longer wheelbase than the hatchback model, making its rear seat notably roomier. Look for the trunk, too, to be larger than the hatch’s cargo tiny cargo area.

What Toyota doesn’t mention is power, and that’s for good reason: our educated assumption is that the sedan will use the same 1.6L 1.5L (Ooops. —Ed) engine as the hatchback, its 106-hp output making the Yaris one of the least-powerful cars in the subcompact class. An optional four-speed automatic transmission is an old-school holdout even among this car’s inexpensive competitors, many of which offer continuously variable or six-speed autoboxes. That four-banger/four-speed combo does a remarkable job of moving the Yaris almost-quickly, and in hatchback form, it’s actually a fun little car to throw around in city driving. On second thought, it’s possible that what we’re seeing here is the first tangible fruit of Toyota’s small-car partnership with Mazda, which would mean this latest Yaris would share its underpinnings with the upcoming Mazda2, whose launch has been delayed until next year.

The new Yaris sedan goes on sale “later this year,” according to Toyota Canada vice president, Larry Hutchinson.

yaris sedan

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