Yaris has been a huge success for the Toyota Motor Corporation with global sales topping 3.5 million sales in over 70 countries. Australia has been well and truly part of that success with combined sales of Echo and Yaris of over 200,000 units and was the light car segment leader from 2003 to 2008.
The new Yaris is a third generation model and it seems Toyota have gone to considerable effort to produce another class leading car with plenty of noticeable improvements over the outgoing model.
The 2012 Toyota Yaris with sharper styling and a step up when it comes to quality, materials and entertainment technology, such as their ‘Touch and Go’ affordable multimedia system.
Standard fit in all but the entry level Yaris (at least in the UK) will be the Toyota Touch audio system, which provides touchscreen controls, Bluetooth, a USB port and a rear parking camera. Buyers will then be able to upgrade to the full Toyota Touch and Go system, which adds full map satellite navigation, as well as a range of information services that can be accessed via mobile phones via a customer portal.
Again, in the UK, the Yaris is being offered with three engines, depending on your choice of trim. There is a Euro 5 – compliant 1.0 litre petrol, 1.33 litre petrol and 1.4D - 4D diesel engine.
Transmissions include a five-speed manual for the three-cylinder 1.0 litre VVT-i, which makes 51 kW and 93 Nm; same goes for the 1.33 litre Dual VVT-i generating 73 kW and 125
Nm of torque although, the optional Multidrive S Continuously variable Transmission (CVT) is available as an option with this more powerful engine. The added benefit of this unit is that it will allow the driver to engage a manual override and shift using the gear-shift lever or steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
For those wanting the ultimate frugality the 1.4-litre D-4D diesel powerplant with particulate filter, standard transmission is a six-speed manual transmission. The outputs are 66 kW and a not too shabby 205 Nm between 1800 and 2800 rpm. The combined cycle fuel usage is a highly efficient 3.2L/100km, while CO2 emissions are 104g/km.
Acceleration times for the 0-100km/h sprint are as follows: 1.0 litre VVT-i with 5-speed manual in 15.3 seconds; 1.33 Dual VVT-i with six-speed manual in 11.7 seconds; 1.33 Dual VVT-i with MDS in 11.7 seconds and the 1.4D-4D diesel with six-speed manual in 10.8 seconds.
The latest Yaris is just 100mm longer than the pervious model, but the overall width remains unchanged at 1695mm. Height has been reduced by 20mm, meaning a lower centre of gravity and a sportier overall stance.
Suspension up front across the new Yaris range is care of MacPherson struts with anti-roll bar and Torsion beam down back. Brakes are a combination of ventilated discs and drums on the rear (that's a little disappointing) , while 15 and 16-inch alloys are available. Steering is Rack and pinion with electric power assisted.
The interior design is a big step up with new soft touch sections and an overall clean, stylish layout. The three-spoked sports leather stitched steering wheel looks the part, as does the sports trim on the seats. There is also plenty of metal look trim accents, which no doubt make the new Yaris a nice place to be.
It’s roomy too, with loadspace growing to 347 litres and extending to 768 litres when the split fold rear seats are lowered flat. Rear access through the tailgate will also be better for large boxes etc, as the aperture has increased in width by 20mm.
The top of the range ‘T Spirit’ models feature a new all-glass panoramic roof (similar to that which Peugeot use in the 308 Touring) as standard equipment along with Dual-zone climate control, front fog lamps, Automatic headlights and wipers, Auto-dimming rear view mirror and Smart entry and start, and all Yaris variants come with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).
Let’s just hope Australia gets the diesel option as well. Which engine would you go for in the new Toyota Yaris?