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.”
Styling that stands out from the crowd
Eschewing supermini stereotypes for a highly distinctive exterior, the new Yaris sees the most dramatic execution of Toyota’s contemporary frontal design language to date with sharp-edged detailing.
The introduction of the new 2014 Yaris sees both versions – petrol and hybrid – sharing the same overall styling, with just a few subtle cues differentiating each powertrain. Ringing the changes are the aforementioned LED daytime running lights, front fog lamps and unique badging which identify the Hybrid as the flagship of the range.
Interior décor that goes beyond a style makeover
In redefining the cabin environment, Toyota wielded the scalpel on two fronts – architectural functionality and sensory quality.
Somewhat unusual for a mid-life refresher, the dashboard architecture has been altered.
All-new seat trims are provided, with a new fabric pattern and colours. Befitting its range-topper status, the Hybrid is decked out in a leather and cloth combo.
Efficiency and performance
The new Yaris is available with three engine choices – two petrol, and a hybrid. The full hybrid system, a first for this segment, benefits from adjustments which have brought its CO2 emissions down further, from 88 to 82g/km. Extremely fuel efficient (3,6 litres in the combined cycle) and clean (virtually zero NOx and particulate emissions), this innovative powertrain is at the cutting edge of technology.
In a similar vein, the 1.3 Dual VVT-i petrol has undergone secondary modifications specifically aimed at reducing noise and vibration. When paired with a six-speed manual transmission the 1.3 Yaris is engineered to achieve the best balance of performance and fuel economy. Top speed is pegged at 175 km/h (the 0-100kmh dash is dispatched in 11,7 seconds), while fuel consumption in the combined cycle fuel consumption averages out at 5,6 litres per 100km.
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 CO2emissions from 119 to 117g/km.
Improved driving dynamics
The new 2014 Yaris features comprehensive, customer feedback-driven improvements to its ride comfort and handling, and significant reduction in NVH. It’s not the norm with a facelift to introduce changes to the platform affecting vehicle dynamics but a raft of under-the-skin modifications have done just that.
A model to suit all tastes
The new Yaris introduces a new SA grade structure that is designed to help maximise the appeal of the new model.
Higher equipment levels feature throughout the range, with daytime running lights (LED for the Hybrid), electric windows all round, and the latest Toyota Touch Multimedia system (with Bluetooth hands-free functionality) fitted as standard.
This, of course, is on top of standard niceties such as 15-inch alloy wheels, remote central locking (with a new foldable bayonet key), air conditioning, electric mirrors, power steering, dual front and side airbags and ABS with EBD and Brake Assist.
A leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift lever top up the 1.3 Multidrive S derivative. But the big news is the new designation and kit adjustment for the Yaris Hybrid. In order to align this model with customer preferences there will now only be one hybrid version, priced slightly lower than the outgoing XR model. Equipment levels err on the side of generous for this model with the following equipment added over and above the 1.3 Multidrive S:
The new Toyota Yaris benefits from an updated version of Toyota’s affordable touchscreen multimedia system. It comes with a new higher resolution seven-inch screen that uses four times as many pixels as the original system, for bright, sharp images with a deeper 3D effect.
The package includes Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls, sending and receipt of text messages; a rear-view camera (Hybrid only); vehicle information, including trip data and climate control profile. There is also a new lay-out to show the operation of the hybrid system.
It also enables simple connection of iPods and MP3 players via USB or Bluetooth, and, where available, will display album, artist and track information. Audio system options can also be controlled using the screen.
Service plans and warranties
Petrol models come standard with a three-year / 45 000 km 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.