In a bombshell announcement, Toyota has vacated the affordable sub-$20,000 car market and will instead steer buyers on a budget towards a used car.
The most affordable model in the 2021 Toyota Yaris hatchback range has had a major price rise from $15,990 drive-away to more than $24,990 drive-away with the arrival of a completely new model.
That's a more than 50 per cent jump from the previous long-standing drive-away price and is believed to be unprecedented in the modern automotive era.
Top-of-the-range Toyota Yaris models – available with the option of hybrid power for the first time locally – will cost more than $30,000 and be more expensive than some Toyota Corollas, which is in the next class size up.
Toyota says the shift to advanced safety features – including category-first dual centre airbags – as well as a completely new design and super-efficient engines, have pushed up Yaris prices.
“There is a cost involved in bringing this level of technology and safety to market,” said Toyota Australia head of sales and marketing Sean Hanley. “This level of pricing and specification is what it takes to bring a car to market in 2020.”
Mr Hanley added: “We have no plans right now to introduce a car (below) the Yaris pricing you’ve seen today, but we do have a credible alternative in Toyota certified pre-owned (used cars) which is a very important part of our line-up going forward. What you are seeing here today is a strategic shift in our approach, but we are and remain confident of the performance and the role that this new-generation Yaris will play in the Toyota line-up.
“You might think we are repositioning our brand or going upmarket, but that really isn’t our intention. Our goal is to build ever better cars. This is a new model, not a facelift,” he said.
The 2021 Toyota Yaris range – due in showrooms later this month – starts from $22,130 plus on-road costs for the Ascent Sport model grade (pictured above), which is estimated to equate to $24,990 drive-away at full price.
Automatic adds $1500, which brings the cheapest Toyota Yaris to $26,490 drive-away. The Toyota Yaris Ascent Sport is available with a petrol engine only.
The next two models in the range are the sportier and better equipped Toyota Yaris SX and Toyota Yaris ZR, both of which are available with petrol or hybrid power.
The price of the Toyota Yaris SX petrol is $27,020 plus on-road costs (about $29,990 drive-away) and the hybrid version adds $2000 to $29,020 plus on-road costs (about $31,990 drive-away).
The price of the Toyota Yaris ZR petrol is $30,100 plus on-road costs (about $32,990 drive-away) and the hybrid version adds $2000 to $31,100 plus on-road costs (about $34,990 drive-away).
Two-tone paint, an option on the ZR model grade, adds $450. Metallic paint adds $500 t the above prices.
Warranty for private buyers remains five years / unlimited kilometres, and service intervals have improved from six months/10,000km, to 12 months/15,000km.
Capped-price servicing costs are $195 per visit for routine maintenance up to five years/75,000km.
The 2021 Toyota Yaris will come with advanced safety features such as twin centre airbags between the front seats – a first for the class – autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian, cyclist and intersection detection, lane-keeping assistance and a rear-view camera.
However, extra tech such as blind zone warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear AEB are only available on the most expensive ZR models.
The base model has an analogue instrument cluster, SX and ZR grades have a digital instrument display.
All models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via a 7-inch touchscreen, dearer models gain navigation, LED headlights and tail-lights, a sensor key with push-button start, and a leather accented steering wheel.
The Ascent model has 15-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, the SX hs 15-inch alloys and the ZR has 16-inch alloys. All models have a space saver spare tyre.
The petrol engine variants are powered by a new-generation 1.5-litre three-cylinder (88kW/145Nm) paired to either a six-speed manual or CVT auto.
Hybrid models pair the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, which has enough power to move the vehicle from rest up to about 40kmh.
Although the Toyota Yaris has customarily been an entry-point into the Toyota range for many buyers, the company concedes not everyone will be able to afford the new model.
Toyota says it has delivered more than 100,000 certified “pre-owned” used vehicles in the past three years. Toyota claims three out of four used cars sold in that time were less than five years old, two out five were less than three years old.
For a used car to qualify under the Toyota certified program it must be less than 10 years old, have travelled less than 160,000km and undergone a 90-point safety check.
2021 Toyota Yaris pricing for Australia
NOTE: prices below exclude on-road costs
- Ascent Sport manual - $22,130
- Ascent Sport CVT - $23,630
- SX CVT - $27,020
- ZR CVT - $30,100
- SX Hybrid CVT - $29,020
- ZR Hybrid CVT - $32,100
- Premium paint: $500
- Two-tone paint: $450