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Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

UPDATE: Overnight the Toyota Yaris received a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.

Since its launch in 2005, the Toyota Yaris has continuously outsold its competitors and in 2011 demands a 13% market share in its segment. With such a successful sales record and respect within the market, Toyota was tasked with improving the Yaris and offering buyers better value for money and refreshed styling.

The third generation Yaris spent 38 months in development and included market research from over 1000 current Yaris owners. With customer feedback in mind, Toyota set out to create an eye-catching, unisex design with a spacious cabin, low fuel consumption and a fun to drive attitude.

It’s hard to dispute the visual appeal of the new Yaris. Chief Designer, Takeshi Go, told CarAdvice that the new Yaris design had to remain simple, but sufficiently sporty to attract a diverse audience, including male buyers.

Sharp flowing lines and a fresh front and rear makeover give the Yaris a visual jump start. New wheel designs and a sporty front and rear body kit for the ZR transform what used to be a ‘safe’ design for Toyota.

The most extensive design changes are arguably within the cabin. Following market research, Toyota removed the centre mounted digital speedometer as customers complained that it was sometimes difficult to see and confusing. The speedometer has instead been moved to behind the steering wheel.

Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

Vital climate and audio controls have been moved higher to reduce the amount of time a driver has to take their eyes off the road. A new light coloured graduated grain dashboard texture breaks up the darker tones that used to plague the Yaris’ interior, giving it a fresh and bright feel.

In addition to adding a new variant in the Yaris line-up, Toyota has managed to retain a competitive price point and increase added value. Beginning at $14,990 for the three door, five-speed manual 1.3-litre Yaris YR, buyers have the option of choosing a four-speed automatic for an additional $1,600 and a five-door configuration for an additional $700. Cruise control is also optional for an additional $650. The YR comes with air conditioning, power windows, power mirrors, a four-speaker sound system with CD player, USB connectivity and Bluetooth streaming.

Next up is the Yaris YRS, which starts from $16,890 and comes with a 1.5-litre, a five-speed manual and three doors. Five doors and a four-speed automatic gearbox can be optioned for an additional $500 and $1,600 respectively. In addition to YR features, the YRS comes with a premium steering wheel and gear selector, a six-speaker sound system with touch screen and 15 inch steel wheels.

Starting from $21,390, the YRX is only available in five doors with the 1.5-litre engine and a four-speed automatic gearbox. Standard features over the YRS include 15 inch alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic headlights, automatic climate controlled air conditioning and satellite navigation with traffic management and movie playback.

Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

Finally, the car for those after a sporty look and feel is the ZR. Pricing starts from $18,990 and the ZR is fitted with the 1.5-litre engine, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and is only available in three-door configuration. Features over the YRX include sports front and rear bumpers, sports grille and headlamps, rear roof spoiler with side skirts, sports front seats and exhaust pipe diffuser.

Voice recognition, USB connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity is now standard across the Yaris range, as is Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), seven airbags (including a knee airbag) and an anticipated five-star ANCAP safety rating. ZR, YRX and YRS variants also have the ability to read messages and e-mails from capable smart phones, negating the need to ever look down at your phone while driving.

The biggest surprise of all comes from behind the wheel. Toyota’s local engineering arm spent time fine tuning the Yaris’ ride quality and handling dynamics. The front and rear suspension received increases of 18% and 26% respectively in comparison to the Japanese configuration, giving the car a sporty feel on Australian roads.

The local tuning, in addition to the excellent electric steering calibration means that the Yaris is truly impressive both in the city and on open roads. To prove this point, we had the chance to drive up the Rob Roy Hill Climb in Victoria with Australian rally champion Rick Bates.

Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

The composed nature of the car meant that the rough circuit dealt no low punches for the Yaris’ MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension. The steering feedback and feel is unlike any other Toyota (that’s a good thing) and shows how much care has been taken to improve the Yaris and increase market appeal.

Due to the configuration of the drive program, we were only able to sample the five-speed manual transmission. As you would expect from a small car, the clutch is light and the gear shifts seamless. It has been setup in such a way to ensure an easy and carefree drive.

The 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine produces 63kW and 121Nm of torque, consuming just 5.7L/100km (five-speed manual or 6.3L/100km for the four-speed automatic), while the 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine produces 80kW and 141Nm of torque and consumes 5.8L/100km (in five-speed manual and 6.3L/100km in four-speed automatic). Above 3000rpm, both engines feel energetic and full of life. Below 3000rpm on the other hand, they are fairly placid and non-responsive.

CarAdvice spoke with Mr Takao Matsuki, Yaris Project Manager (Dynamics and Performance) about the influences behind the Yaris’ new sporty edge. Mr Matsuki said, “Our performance targets were set around the progression of and benchmarks within this segment. Our benchmarks in this segment included the Volkswagen Polo, Peugeot 207 and Mazda2. The Yaris handling and ride comfort had to offer a great level of assurance and smoothness.”

Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

Changes to overall length and wheelbase length (+100mm and +50mm respectively) mean an increase in knee space for rear passengers (+35mm) and luggage capacity (now 286 litres). Other changes include the adoption of high-tensile strength steels, which have helped strengthen the chassis and reduce overall weight by around 20kg.

In such a competitive segment, the new Yaris had to be nothing short of amazing for Toyota to remain at the top of the light car segment. The new Yaris well and truly bucks the trend and offers buyers an arsenal of equipment, excellent dynamics and handling, along with a competitive price point.

Whether you enjoy attacking a twisty road on weekends or shopping in the city, the Yaris offers the perfect middle ground that doesn’t break the bank, drag its knuckles up hills and if you’re a male, doesn’t question your sexuality (unless you choose the hot pink colour). Toyota has an absolute winner on its hands.






Toyota Yaris Specs

YR : NCP90R 10 UPGRADE : 1.3L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 4 SP AUTOMATIC - UNLEADED PETROL - 3D HATCHBACK
Car Details
Make
TOYOTA
Model
YARIS
Variant
YR
Series
NCP90R 10 UPGRADE
Year
2011
Body Type
3D HATCHBACK
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$8,030 - $9,130
Dealer Retail
$9,530 - $11,330
Dealer Trade
$6,400 - $7,300
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
1.3L
Max. Torque
121Nm @  4400rpm
Max. Power
63kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
62.4W/kg
Bore & Stroke
75x73.5mm
Compression Ratio
10.5
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
4 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.375
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
42Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1010
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1530mm
Length
3750mm
Width
1695mm
Ground Clearance
110mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1050  Unbrake:550
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
9.4
Front Rim Size
5x14
Rear Rim Size
5x14
Front Tyres
175/65 R14
Rear Tyres
175/65 R14
Wheel Base
2460
Front Track
1480
Rear Track
1470
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DRUM
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Torsion bar, Trailing arm, Gas damper, Coil Spring
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Driver
Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio Compact Disc Player
Exterior
Power Mirrors
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Safety
Safety Pack
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Floor
Country of Origin
Japan