Compromise is a dirty word when it comes to purchasing a new car – balancing what you want with what you can afford is all too familiar for many customers. Thankfully the all-new Toyota Yaris solves this conundrum by ticking all the boxes on a buyer’s wish list, but at a price that is eminently affordable.
The current Yaris won praise for its roomy interior, durability and versatility, the efficiency of its engines and its easy-to-drive character around town. New Yaris will consolidate these strengths and go even further to offer dramatic, contemporary styling within a more efficient package, a step up in tactile interior quality and safety, as well as greater agility and sportiness.
According to Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice-President: Sales and Marketing: “In creating the latest generation Yaris, Toyota opens a new chapter in the model’s South African success story. Since its initial introduction locally, Yaris has enjoyed major success and it managed to sell 11000 units within the first 6 months of its launch. I have no doubt that the new model with its more complete resume of talents will replicate, if not exceed this achievement.”
In designing the new Yaris, Toyota has produced a look that is bolder and sharper, endowing the newcomer with a more masculine demeanour which will increase its appeal to young male drivers.
In the words of Chief Designer, Dezi Nagaya, the exterior has a “keen” appearance particularly when viewed from the front. In fact, New Yaris is the first vehicle to feature the distinctive new face of the Toyota family.
The protruding nose features slim, subtly slanted, horizontal headlights with unusual headlamp eyebrows which emphasise its ‘wide-eyed’ appearance. A sliver of a radiator grille which resembles a smile and an open-mouthed, deep lower air intake anchor the car’s wide stance.
A single windshield wiper (incorporating a new wet-arm system which sprays washer fluid along the blade base) is adopted, realising weight reduction and excellent wiping performance while adding to the aesthetic purity of the design.
In profile there is still the distinctive, steeply sloping belt line running the length of the vehicle, but now it is echoed by a more prominent curved character line running just above the sill.
The rear side windows have been enlarged – an impression that is further enhanced by the elimination of the division bar that previously divided the glazing. The rear quarter pillar is slanted and bent into an arched shape to express a sense of sportiness.
Defined fenders, chunky triangulated tail lights and a rounded shoulder form reinforce the impression of a solid, tight rear end that hints at agile performance. Detail touches include a larger front quarterlight, with the A-pillar moved further forward, giving a more steeply raked windscreen.
Not only is this more aesthetically pleasing but the enlarged window area allows for a much clearer view in the front diagonal direction.
Despite a 50mm increase in the wheelbase, shorter front and rear overhangs and more prominent wheelarches give the car a racier edge. Overall new Yaris is just 100mm longer than the previous model, which means it keeps its urban-friendly tight turning circle of just 4.7m.
The width is unchanged, but trimming the height by 20mm to 1,510mm adds to the car’s lower, more purposeful appearance, while the efficient aerodynamic qualities of the body deliver a class-leading drag coefficient of Cd 0.287.
New Yaris’s more confident visage is completed by new 14-inch and 15-inch steel wheels as well as 15-inch alloys, depending on the model. There is a choice of 10 colours for the body, including five completely new shades – Dark Violet Metallic and Bubblegum Metallic (a turquoise hue that varies in shade from green to blue when viewed from different angles) for the three-door models and Powder Blue Metallic, Lava Red Metallic and Mint Cream Metallic for the five-door variants.
There is an equally fresh approach to the interior, with a new focus on creating a “fun-to-drive” cockpit environment for the driver. The principal instruments (now in sportier analogue format) and switches have moved from the centre of the dashboard to sit directly in the driver’s eye line behind the steering wheel, which itself has a more upright angle for a more engaging driving position.
The strong horizontal lines of the new dashboard emphasize the generous width of the cabin – 30mm greater than before – with a new soft-padded dash section with matching upper door panel pads lending an upmarket quality feel to the indoor environment.
Tactile, premium details further add to the quality look and feel, with gun metal trims around the driver’s instruments, the audio system and air vents, and chrome detailing on the controls and switchgear.
The front seats are new, with increased vertical adjustment and, on some models, an arm rest for the driver. Their design gives both better body holding and comfort, with wider, higher sided cushions that have a raised front edge which can help combat tiredness on long journeys.
Thinner seatbacks for the front seats mean more kneeroom for those sitting in the rear – rear seat space has increased by 35mm and knee space has improved by some 30mm over the outgoing model which translates into a class-leading figure of 645mm for rear seat space.
A similar design treatment for the rear seats has helped increase loadspace depth by 145mm to 710mm. Overall luggage capacity has grown by an incredible 49 percent to 347 litres (to roof line) with the rear seats in place, 768 litres when they are folded flat. To make the job of loading up easier, the tailgate is 20mm wider than on the previous model. Despite the newcomer having a lower stance, head room is still 70mm.
And, while on the subject of space, New Yaris pulls off a coup when it comes to storage spaces.
Just check these out:
Detachable cup holders positioned in front of the gear lever which can be removed to create a larger storage area
Centre console storage
Large cup holder located just behind the handbrake (1L capacity)
A ‘secret’ box at the back of the glovebox allows for the storage of items such as the owner’s manual, enabling the glovebox to be fully utilised
Front door pockets incorporating a bottle holder and space for documents up to A4 size
Seat back pocket on the front passenger seat (Xi and XS models)
Seat back pockets on the driver as well as the front passenger seats (XR)
Under the skin
New Yaris continues with the successful mixture of powertrains featured in the previous generation model – 1.0- and 1.3-litre petrol units – but with substantial improvements, and in the case of the 1300 variants, a new engine.
All engines benefit from the application of Toyota Optimal Drive, a range of engineering and design technologies which, combined with weight-saving measures and aerodynamic improvements, help cut fuel consumption and emissions without harming power and torque levels.
Toyota’s three-cylinder 1.0-litre VVT-i petrol is a textbook example of miniaturisation, a reference point for compact, efficient engineering. Working with a five-speed manual transmission, the latest version of the 998cc unit with newly developed pistons to improve the compression ratio, generates 51kW at 6,000rpm and maximum torque of 93Nm at 3,600rpm.
The sprint from 0-100km/h is dispatched in 15,3 seconds. Fuel consumption has been improved by six per cent to 5,1 litres/100km in the combined cycle and CO2 emissions are down by six per cent to 119g/km (therefore no CO2 tax as this effectively places the 1.0-litre Yaris below the emission tax threshold of 120g/km).
The all-new 1.3-litre Dual VVT-i engine is also light and compact, with a small bore and long stroke to give a very high power-to-weight ratio.
Some of this powerplant’s highlights are:
• Cooperative control of Dual VVT-i (Dual Variable Valve Timing – intelligent) and EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) which realises an expanded EGR activation range resulting in improved fuel economy.
• Idling control ignition timing has been reduced, contributing to improved fuel efficiency.
• The time lag of the fuel-cut control has been reduced, contributing to improved fuel efficiency.
The result: power is up 16% over the outgoing model – 73kW is produced at 6,000rpm and peak torque of 125Nm at 4,000rpm (torque is up 3%). Acceleration from 0 to 100km/h takes a mere 11,7 seconds. Emissions (131g/km) and fuel consumption (5,6 litres/100km) are down seven percent when mated to the six-speed manual transmission which is standard on all the 1.3-litre variants.
The other news on the transmission front is the option of the CVT transmission. This high-tech box features a manual override, sequential seven-step mode that the driver can operate using either the gearshift lever or paddle shifts on the steering wheel. With this configuration CO2 emissions drop even more to just 125g/km, while fuel consumption is the biggest beneficiary – just 5,4 litres/100km in the combined cycle. The sprint from 0 to 100km/h is 12,6 seconds for the CVT version.
It’s worth mentioning that its frugal habits at the fuel pump make New Yaris the most fuel-efficient model line-up in the B segment. And, a really nifty device to keep you driving as economically as possible is the standard gear shift indicator that communicates to the driver when to change gears to obtain the best consumption. The CVT version is equipped with a special Economy Meter and an Eco Indicator.
When it comes to ride and handling, New Yaris delivers superb steering feeling, excellent on-road comfort and superior road-surface tracking performance.
This is attributable to:
A MacPherson strut front suspension set-up that is ideal for securing a compact steering wheel turning angle. Yaris has a class-leading minimum turning radius which translates into good cornering.
Bushing and shock absorber characteristics have been optimised to achieve top-of the-class agility and steering feel.
Optimised stabiliser, coil springs and spring rates improve smoothness. In addition, suspension bushing characteristics have been tuned to reduce vibration. As a result, riding comfort is enhanced.
Thorough weight reduction measures likewise place the Yaris at the top of its segment. This naturally has the effect of improving fuel efficiency but also realises superior road-surface tracking performance.
Electric Power Steering (EPS) is adopted to provide a high level of assistance but still provide a communicative feel. A quick-gear-ratio steering gear box ensures superior agility.
Safety and Security
By gaining the top five-star rating for all-round safety performance, New Yaris becomes the third generation of Toyota’s supermini to pass through EuroNCAP independent crash testing with flying colours.
Not only has Yaris met the highest standards for the 2011 test programme, its results were good enough to comply with the higher five-star threshold that will be introduced in 2012.
Its achievement is built on an exceptional heritage established by the original Yaris in 2000, which was named the safest car in its class by EuroNCAP. The second generation model went on to gain the five-star rating in 2005, and New Yaris again has the distinction of achieving the highest mark.
The fundamental strength of the car’s structure is at the heart of Yaris’s ability to provide a safe environment for all occupants. Impact forces from a front, rear or side collision is dispersed through strategically engineered elements in the body, minimising deformation of the cabin.
For New Yaris, specific measures were taken to improve performance in side impacts, including fitting bulkheads inside the rocker panels that help ensure the efficient transfer of impact loads and reduce the risk of the rockers breaking. More protection is provided by side impact bars fitted in the doors.
The new Yaris is equipped with up to seven airbags (Xi, XS and 1.0-litre XR models have four airbags – front as well as side bags), including a driver’s knee airbag. The driver and front passenger side airbags have a new two-chamber design that improves protection with larger cushions – eight litres for the thorax/abdomen area and 4.5 litres for the pelvis.
The seats incorporate Toyota’s WIL (Whiplash Injury Lessening) technology which supports the head and body simultaneously to minimise whiplash in the event of a collision.
There are also numerous features designed to reduce the risk of injuries to pedestrians. The front bumper contains energy absorbing materials that reduce the impact energy directed at a pedestrian’s legs, and a pantograph bonnet structure also absorbs energy to protect the head and body in a collision. There is a crushable cowl louvre at the rear edge of the bonnet, and the front wings have an impact absorbing brackets.
The new Yaris further benefits from a comprehensive package of active safety systems, including ABS, Brake Assist System (BAS) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). XR 1.3 models top up with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).
Last but certainly not least, an ISOFIX child restraint system, seatbelt warning buzzer and lamp for front and rear seats, follow-me-home headlamp system and ToyotaCare’s Microdot anti-theft System are standard on all New Yaris models.
Range and pricing
New Yaris, in both three- and five-door body shapes, will be offered in South Africa in three specification levels – Xi, XS, XR – all of which deliver an emphatic combination of high specification, quality and great value for money.
The Yaris range kicks off with the Xi trim level, but there’s nothing entry-level about the standard kit for these models. Some of the niceties that are included are colour-coded bumpers, rear fog lamps, electric power steering, tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustments, remote central locking, six-speaker sound system with radio/CD player (audio input for AUX, USB and iPod), remote audio controls on the steering wheel, multi-information display (with outdoor temperature display). Air conditioning is available on the Xi as a dealer-fit option.
The mid-range XS outfit is next in the New Yaris pecking order and is available with all engine and transmission combinations including CVT. Some of the standard kit for this specification level includes 15-inch alloy wheels, colour-coded mirrors and door handles, chromed grille and rear hatch garnish strip, chrome interior door handles, air conditioning and power windows at the front.
The top-spec profile is reserved for the XR models which get the Full Monty treatment. Distinguishing features include front foglamps, tinted windows, climate control, a touch-screen audio system including Bluetooth, leather-clad gear lever and steering wheel and rear power windows. Rain sensors, auto headlamps, electrochromatic rear view mirror, smoked headlamps, rear spoiler, chromed fog lamp surrounds, sports steering wheel and gearshift lever as well as an eight-speaker sound system are standard on the more powerful (1.3-litre) of the two XR options. The extrovert 1.3 XR three-door is the flagship and features some exclusive premium kit such as a panoramic glass moonroof (fixed).
Yaris 1.0 (prices include VAT and emissions tax)
Yaris 1.0 Xi 3-dr – R124 000
Yaris 1.0 Xi 5-dr – R130 000
Yaris 1.0 XS 3-dr – R141 000
Yaris 1.0 XS 5-dr – R147 400
Yaris 1.0 XR 3-dr – R151 100
Yaris 1.0 XR 5-dr – R157 900
Yaris 1.3 Xi 3-dr – R157 000
Yaris 1.3 Xi 5-dr – R163 000
Yaris 1.3 XS 3-dr – R171 600
Yaris 1.3 XS 5-dr – R177 600
Yaris 1.3 XS 5-dr CVT – R189 000
Yaris 1.3 XR 3-dr – R203 700
Yaris 1.3 XR 5-dr – R200 600
As with most Toyota vehicles, New Yaris comes with a four-year/60 000 km Service Plan included in the purchase price (service intervals are every 15 000 km), along with Toyota’s comprehensive three-year/100 000 km warranty. It’s supported by the ToyotaCare Roadside Assistance Programme and entitles customers to 24 hour roadside assistance, ensuring ultimate peace-of-mind motoring.