NEW YARIS ARRIVES: Toyota’s new Yaris has arrived locally in both petrol and hybrid (pictured here) variants. Image: Toyota
In 2006 Toyota SA showcased one of its subsequent best sellers to date, the second-generation Yaris. After a full decade the hugely popular budget-priced Tazz (selling a total of more than 200 000 units at an average of 1 700 a month) was finally discontinued making way for the Yaris newcomer.
This value-for-money winner, a full import from Japan, proved to be a well-made and surprisingly well-specced vehicle (available in hatch and eventually sedan guise), and, if I recall correctly, the automaker wasn’t shy to blow its own trumpet over the sizeable waiting list that existed for months at a time for the wee beastie.
RADICAL NEW YARIS
In September 2014, the third generation Yaris has arrived on our shores (this time built at Toyota’s factory in France) and one that’s radically different to look at and available in four variants with three engine choices: 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol four-door hatch; 1.3-litre (four-cylinder) petrol four-door hatch, 1.3-litre (four-cyclinder) Multidrive (CVT) 'S' and the Hybrid version.
It may well be simply stating the obvious but smaller (aka entry-level) cars still account for the largest portion of passenger vehicles sold in South Africa – something that Toyota is very good at bringing to market.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Toyota Yaris
IMAGE GALLERY 2014 Toyota Yaris Hybrid
The new Yaris sports a dramatic execution of the automaker’s contemporary front design language to date with sharp-edged detailing and LEDs.
Yet another trait that ought to be mentioned is the chromed trim bar which runs the length of the upper grille into new headlight clusters, tying the front elements together. One will either like its new styling or hate it!
1000 NEW PARTS
There’s also unique ID badging reserved strictly for the flagship hybrid to set it apart from its fossil-fuel powered siblings.
Toyota SA's marketing vice-president Glenn Crompton reckons the company recently invested the equivalent of about R1-billion, engineered 1000 new parts and spent 576 000 man hours refining this new model. It begs the question: “What was so wrong with the second-generation two that so many new parts had to be incorporated into the newcomer?”
Seriously though, with 20% more added strength to the body by way of additional spot welds, transmission tunnel bracing and a thicker windscreen fitted (along with suspension mods), goes a long way to vastly improve ride comfort for all the occupants. There’s also a whole raft of under-the-skin modifications to make the Yaris even more fun to drive.
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. Crompton felt the assertive, contemporary styling offers a distinctly European flavour to the four-door hatch.
Inside, Toyota’s R&D guys have worked their magic, such as the implementation of the funky and intuitive touch screen multimedia system that utilises an 18cm screen. Gladly there’s also Bluetooth technology for hands-free phone calls so there’s no excuse to break the law; plus the ability to send and receive text data and connectivity for iPods, MP3 players and the like via a USB and Aux slot.
The latest Toyota Yaris is a car that will definitely appeal to a lot of people – Toyota assure me those in the 21-35 age group will benefit the most, while it looks to be an excellent option as a second car.
It may not be the perfect car for those long, laden trips – especially with the 1.0-litre engine – but that’s not what it’s designed for.
Rather keep it where it’s happy, in and around town, and you’ll most likely be glad you’ve joined the Toyota family.
• Toyota Yaris 1.0-litre (51kW/95Nm) - R167 900
• Toyota Yaris 1.3-litre (73kW/125Nm) - R194 300
• Toyota Yaris 1.3-litre Multidrive ‘S’ (73kW/125Nm) - R206 500
• Toyota Yaris 1.5-litre Hybrid (Atkinson cycle) - R276 900
• Petrol models are sold with a three-year or 45 000km service plan. The Hybrid is sold with a four-year or 60 000 km service plan and has an additional eight-year or 195 000km warranty on the battery, in addition to the standard Toyota warranty of three years or 100 000km.
Click here for 2014 Toyota Yaris full specifications
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