Toyota has invested 85 million Euros, engineered 1 000 new parts and spent 576 000 man hours refining the new Yaris. The result is a thorough visual refresh, inside and out, the adoption of upmarket cabin textures and materials, as well as a host of under-the-skin modifications to make the new Yaris a whole lot more desirable.
“Assertive, contemporary styling with a distinctly European flavour and a feisty new attitude,” is how Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing for Toyota SA Motors pitches the revamped hatch.
“Yaris has always been a sound rational choice. But what we wanted – and feel we have now achieved – with the latest model, is a car that not only connects with our customers’ brains, but also with their hearts.”
After exhaustive research conducted across several platforms including press analysis, customer clinics and dealer feedback, Toyota Europe identified three key areas where the current generation Yaris scored highly – outstanding roominess, powertrain efficiency and standard features, making it the smart choice. In the area of emotional appeal, however, there was room to improve. The focus was therefore placed on upgrading the aesthetics, most notably exterior styling and interior plastics, as well as honing in on driving pleasure by enhancing driveability, ride comfort and noise levels.
A fourth element has been factored in and that’s value for money. As Crompton points out, “the new Yaris petrol models are arguably the best value proposition in the highly competitive B segment. Quality finishes backed up by a comprehensive suite of standard kit ensure that it stays ahead of the pack. Not forgetting, of course, the unique proposition of its hybrid powertrain – still the only vehicle of its kind in this class.”
Improved 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine
Of the trio, though, the engine that has benefited from the most fettling is the three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine. It has undergone noteworthy changes to improve its performance, reduce emissions as well as cut noise and vibration levels. It achieves an excellent thermal efficiency level of more than 37 per cent (the proportion of energy contained in the fuel which is converted into mechanical energy). This compares to an average thermal efficiency for mass-produced petrol engines of between 30 and 35 per cent. One of the effects of this is a reduction in CO2 emissions from 119 to 117g/km.
Toyota engineers have achieved this principally by optimising the power/weight ratio, for example by creating a combined cylinder head and exhaust manifold that is more compact and weighs less.
The intake ports and pistons have also been redesigned to increase the tumble effect (vertical swirl) in the combustion chamber, promoting combustion speed. Scavenging and combustion chamber cooling has been increased to delay knocking. And large volumes of cooled exhaust gas recirculation are used to reduce pumping losses.
Lastly, friction levels have been reduced by using diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating for the valve actuators; making changes to the surface treatment of the pistons; and better engine cooling management, mainly through changing the shape of the oil sump to ensure the engine gets up to temperature more quickly.
Matched to a five-speed manual gearbox, the three-cylinder engine is not only cheap to run, it also communicates a good torquey feel to the driver that’s well-suited to city driving.
Pricing, service plans and warranties
• 1.0 : R167 900
• 1.3 : R194 300
• 1.3 Multidrive S : R206 500
• Hybrid : R276 900
Petrol models come standard with a three-year / 45 000km service plan. For the Hybrid version, it’s a standard four-year / 60 000 km service plan. Please note that the Hybrid has an additional eight-year / 195 000km warranty on the battery in addition to the standard Toyota warranty of 3 years / 100 000km.