These are the first official images of the remodeled 2014 Yaris range, arriving this spring at a Toyota dealer near you.
(Please note that the models shown are European spec; SA-spec vehicles may have different equipment and colour options.)
While most of the attention is focused on this superhatch’s striking new countenance, the refresher goes far beyond a mid-life facelift. The project brings substantial improvements in the ride, handling and NVH as well as some engine refinements.
The new model follows the trend set by the new Aygo in adopting a more distinctive look, most notably the cross-shaped arrangement of the front end with bolder headlight units and a new bumper. There’s also a new ‘diffuser’ and tail light cluster arrangement at the rear which plays up the masculine attitude of this latest generation Yaris.
The cabin has also undergone somewhat of a transformation with the emphasis on the quality of the materials, which not only look better, but more importantly feel it too. Equipment levels have been improved and colour choices have also been re-jigged to appeal to a more contemporary palate (details will be communicated closer to launch).
Likewise some important underbody modifications have been made to improve the suspension, handling and ride comfort, as well as significantly reduce noise and vibration levels.
The powertrain choice is unchanged, with two petrol engines and a hybrid – but here too there’s been some mechanical fettling: the three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol unit in particular is substantially improved for greater thermal efficiency (with a concomitant hike in power), delivering enhanced fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions.
Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing for Toyota South Africa, points out that in re-working the Yaris, Toyota had two aims: “One, to inject it with more emotional appeal courtesy of a style infusion; and two, to amplify the refinement of the package courtesy of some strategic under-the-skin changes. I’d say its mission accomplished…”