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Toyota unveils bold new Yaris

12.02.2018

The Toyota Yaris was first introduced in 2005 as the second generation version of what in Japan is known as the Vitz, and was met with open arms from a variety of customers looking for a practical, reliable and economical vehicle. It was also easy on the pocket.

Since then, the Yaris has been overshadowed by many a competitor. The question then is, has this new generation model got the ability to bounce back? To answer that question, I was invited to the national media launch that recently took place in Durban.

It is worth noting that this new Yaris now comes from Thailand where it carries the internal designation XP150, while the outgoing XP130 came from Japan.

Those new looks

Toyota says that the new Yaris features a more aggressive look, and I can agree with them. However, I feel it looks a tad too striking, especially when viewed from the front.

There are far too many grills, air-vents and sharp edges. I personally feel that it has separated itself from the rest of the Toyota model range. On the plus side though, it is no longer as conservative as the old Yaris, with styling elements taken from the Auris such as the sleek headlamps daytime running LEDs placed below the headlamps.

The side profile is typical Toyota but sports a tapering window line and blacked-out C-pillar for a sportier look.

At the rear, things tend to neaten up with an upward curving shoulder line, slender light
clusters and gloss black finish on the centre of the bootlid. In addition, the Yaris is now also wider and longer than before with Toyota claiming an improvement in boot space of eight percent to 310-litres.

Opt for the new Sport model, and you will get a few more items such as sportier looking alloy wheels, red detailing on the bumpers, bigger side skirts and a dark metallic grille.

Inside

The Yaris finds itself in a very competitive market and thus needs to offer the most for less. When getting into the car, it’s easy to tell that it is aimed at those shopping on a budget, which is not a bad thing. The interior is full of dark plastics, which exhibit a durable feel.

One aspect that has changed dramatically from the old Yaris is the level of in-car tech. It now features a tablet like touchscreen infotainment system mounted into the upper dash. All your media functions can be controlled via this system, which includes Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB and HDMI ports.

A further inclusion is satellite navigation on some models, while safety items are made up of ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Control, Hill Start Assist and up to seven airbags.

The power

Carrying on from its predecessor, the new Yaris again comes powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine, but with a reduced power output from 82kW to 79kW, although torque goes up from 136Nm to 140Nm. Also gone is the sixth ratio for manual models with a CVT being retained as the only self-shifting option. Fuel consumption is rated at 5.9-litres/100km for the manual and 5.8-litres/100 km for the CVT.

Driving Impression & Verdict

Out on the road, the car did what it was supposed to do. It didn’t thrill me and despite the cheap interior fitting and over-the-top looks, it didn’t really disappoint me. It’s a lot of car for the money and there are quite a few derivatives regarding spec and options. For the first time, there is also a Cross model with black cladding on the bumpers and wheel arches.

If you are looking for a car that will get you from A-B and not put you into financial ruin, then you are really spoilt for choice within this segment.

Pricing

1.5 Xi - R230 800
1.5 Xs - R253 400
1.5 Xs CVT - R268 500
1.5 Cross - R268 500
1.5 Sport - R286 000

Article written by Justin Jacobs
12.02.2018
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