The New Yaris broke cover a while ago at a launch in picturesque Kwa-Zulu Natal. Always one of the more popular models in the Toyota stable, we were to put the Yaris through its paces in the inland area near Wartburg. The immediate impression is that the Yaris is a bigger car in length and width, and it is, by 165mm in length and 5mm in width.
Looking at its styling, the Yaris cuts a much more imposing figure. It starts with new headlamps, which, by way of black fins flanking the Toyota emblem and with chrome accents give it an attractive front look. The trapezoidal front grille with its honeycomb pattern & daytime running lights make it more aggressive indeed.
It has a decided sporty look in the side profile, and the rear lights with their black garnish give the Yaris some width as well. The rear bumper design is styled to create less drag and promote more fuel efficiency. Seven stylish colours are on offer: Diamond Silver Metallic, Attitude Black, Glacier White, Crimson Metallic, Graphite Grey including two new exciting hues – Inferno Metallic and Dark Blue metallic. My favourite was the crimson metallic which we drove.
Into the cabin, and you already have more room, and its a comfy car to drive. The dash area gives you a good feeling as it seems very focused and the soft touches and piano black accents give it some panache. A standout feature on Xs, Cross and Sport models is the advanced new touchscreen infotainment system.
In addition to the standard AM/FM, USB and Bluetooth functionality, the new audio system features full Smartphone integration and support via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto + protocols. Whilst CarPlay uses standardised Apple applications with Siri integration, Android users are able to fully customise which ‘apps’ they would like to ‘mirror’ on the audio screen. It has a built in satellite navigation to get you where you need to go, so you can save that valuable data. Luggage capacity has increased by 8% (versus the outgoing model) to 310 litres – making the Yaris an excellent travel companion.
Engines & Drive
Powering the new Yaris is a 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Utilising dual VVT-i and a DOHC 16-valve layout, the engine delivers a rev-happy 79kW and 140 Nm. A singular engine option is carried across the range. The engine is responsive and gets to a good top end pretty quickly. We tested it through the Wartburg area as time was a constraint, and it acquitted itself admirably. The handling was very good through the narrow and twisting corners.
Top speed for the manual models is 180 km/h with the CVT model being geared for a slightly lower 170 km/h peak terminal velocity. Fuel consumption is listed as 5.9 and 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres, for the manual and CVT respectively.
Buyers have the choice of either a 5-speed transmission or Toyota ‘Multidrive’ Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), driving the front wheels. The CVT unit has revised control logic to enable it to react faster to acceleration input – particularly when re-accelerating from a coasting condition. Shift control considers driving conditions such as vehicle speed, accelerator-pedal-opening angle and brake usage then adjusts both acceleration and downshifting logic accordingly.
The CVT although better than many other of the same ilk, sometimes did change down and become ‘’whiny’. It comes in four grades or variants, namely the Xi ,followed by the Xs and the Cross and Sport. CVT is only in the Xs grade.
The all-new Yaris boasts a very comprehensive standard specification list – aligned to increasing customer demands and the ‘upsize-mantra’.
The entry-level Xi models feature Keyless entry and push-button start, four-speaker audio system with USB and Bluetooth functionality, multi-information display, electrically-adjustable exterior mirrors, front power windows, electric power steering and manual air-conditioning.
Xs models add automatic lights, 16” alloy wheels, retractable exterior mirrors, rear power windows, leather steering wheel and gear knob, steering switches as well as LED daytime running lights.
The Cross variant is based on the Xs grade and inherits roof rails, black side moulding, brushed metal apron treatment (front and rear) and black over fenders – affording it a rugged, urban feel.
The Yaris comes with driver and passenger airbags , and additional curtain and knee airbags in the Sport model. It has ABS braking EBD, vehicle stability control and hill assist control
1.5 Xi MT – R 230 800
1.5 Xs MT – R 253 400
1.5 Xs CVT – R 268 500
1.5 Cross – R 268 500
1.5 Sport – R 286 000
Warranty and Maintenance
All Yaris models come with a 3-year/45 000 kilometre service plan and 3-year/100 000 kilometre warranty. Customers additionally have the option of upgrading the above to a longer term/and or higher mileage through Toyota Value added services. Service intervals are set at 15 000 kilometres.
To summarise, the Yaris is a a larger more comfortable car with more masculine presence and should find a new host of buyers, backed by the Toyota dealership network its due to go up a few rungs on the monthly sales schedules.