The Yaris was introduced back in 2005 and was initially met with open arms. Since then, the need for cheaper alternatives arose in the form of the Toyota Etios, Volkswagen Vivo and Ford Figo, meaning the Yaris has been lagging behind its more esteemed rival. This new Pulse version could change that.
What's different on the outside?
At first glance, the Pulse doesn’t really look that different from the model it replaces, however, upon closer inspection, I noticed the redesigned front bumper creating a catamaran-like shape with broad sections flowing down from the new headlight units. There is also a newly designed trapezoidal grille.
Things are also different at the rear with a wider stance created by the new tailgate, redesigned light clusters, new bumper and a re-shaped number plate cavity.
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised when I got into the Yaris. Not only did I notice the neat stitching on the seats, steering wheel and handbrake, I also noticed that the dashboard was finished in soft touch materials which felt rather good.
It also features new dials within the instrument cluster which finishes off a much-improved interior. Rear leg room is adequate although I did find the boot to be on the small side. I definitely liked the new infotainment screen which has been specially designed and fitted to the centre of the dashboard. It features the must have items such as USB and Bluetooth too. Overall, the changes made to the interior has given the Yaris a more modern look and feel.
As for power...
It’s a Yaris, so don’t expect mind blowing performance. Instead, the Pulse features a naturally aspirated 1.5-litre motor which develops 82kW and 136Nm, and replaces the previous 1.3-litre unit. Toyota reckons that this new engine offers better performance and improved fuel economy. A choice of either a six-speed manual or CVT is on offer. A Hybrid model remains part of the range as does the 1.0-litre base model.
After driving around Cape Town and its surroundings, I can say that the Yaris definitely drives nicely, yet still felt somewhat sluggish even at the coast.
What's the Pulse Plus?
In addition to the regular Pulse, the Yaris also features a new top spec model dubbed the Pulse Plus. Available only with the CVT ‘box, the Plus builds on the standard model’s list of features to include novelties such as Vehicle Stability Control, front and rear fog lights, remote central locking, electric windows all around, cruise control and projector-type headlamps.
A unique bi-tone option allows buyers to combine a satin black roof with a choice of three colours, which in turn gives the Yaris a youthful yet classy appearance.
What's the verdict?
After spending some time with the new and improved Yaris, I can say that it looks really good, is loaded with standard features and comes across as a quality product aimed at the younger market. Unfortunately, it still lacks the low down punch offered by its small displacement turbo-charged rivals, guaranteed to have a significant impact up here at the Reef. Other than that, the Yaris remains a good quality vehicle as well as a good value proposition.
1.0 Pulse - R199 000
1.5 Pulse - R228 700
1.5 Pulse CVT - R241 400
1.5 Pulse Plus CVT - R249 600
Hybrid - R307 200