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Tough love for new Yaris launch

2011-11-13 05:05
ON-TRACK WITH THE YARIS: Toyota's 2011 Yari


Toyota’s popular Yaris hatch line-up now has a brand-new 13-model range with two engine options and in three specification levels. The sedan range, for now, remains unchanged in styling and price.

Nestling between the baby Aygo and Auris in the Toyota line-up is a new-look Yaris hatch. Interestingly the sub-B segment (entry level) where the Yaris is positioned has shown about 28% growth since 2005. Back then there were 11 models - today there are more than 20 automakers vying for your business!


You might not take your Yaris to a racetrack or a 4x4 circuit but that’s exactly what Toyota decided on to showcase the new of hatches this week. No “namby-pamby” driving through leafy suburbs or visiting the local mall to prove just how cool you might look.

Toyota’s world-class testing facility near Durban proved quite an eye-opener. High-speed lane changes and skid-pan exercises were just some of the playtimes conducted and, with hand on heart, the Yaris came through with colours flying

The car is bolder and sharper-looking, unashamedly aimed at the younger set (but that’s not to say empty-nesters or seniors need not apply to join in the fun of ownership).

Dezi Nagaya, the chief designer tasked with producing the very first vehicle featuring the distinctive new face of Toyota, was upbeat about his creation by commenting: “The protruding nose features slim, subtly slanted, horizontal headlights, smiley radiator grille treatment and deep lower air-intakes to give the impression of a wide stance."

MAKE YOUR CHOICE: There are two specification levels for the new Yaris and a choice of two engines. But whichever you choose, it's still a cute-looking car.

Under the bonnet the familiar one-litre, three-cylinder engine can still be found (51kW/93Nm) but an all-new 1.3 four-cylinder (73kW/125Nm) is some 16% stronger than that in the outgoing model but now offers a six-speed manual gearbox or, for those who enjoy automatic, there’s now a CVT option - complete with race-car style shift paddles behind the multifunction steering wheel.

The interior has also been overhauled with heavy focus placed on a “fun-to-drive” cockpit. Toyota has deemed it prudent to reposition the instrument binnacle in front of the driver’s line of sight and there’s new-look soft-padding liberally to be found, along with gunmetal detailing strips to highlight controls and switches.   

Comfort feature levels across the board include electric power-steering (along with tilt and telescopic adjustment), multifunction information display, a good audio system with CD/MP3 player, USB and iPod sockets, gear-shift indicator within the speedometer and 60:40 split folding rear seats.

Move up from the basic spec model (Xi) and in the Xs derivative there’s aircon, power windows and mirrors, a touch-screen audio system, Bluetooth cellphone compatibility, a leather gear knob and steering wheel, fog lights, tinted glass, auto aircon, rain sensors, auto headlights and an eight-speaker, high-power sound system.

FUN AT THE WHEEL: The new Yaris's audio system is high-grade, just part of what Toyota describes as "a fun-to-drive cockpit".

Once again Toyota’s Yaris has attained top marks in EuroNCAP results. Apparently the fundamental strength of the car’s structure counts for plenty, assisted by as many as seven air bags, including one for the driver’s knees. Factor in some active safety features such as anti-lock brakes with emergency pressure assistance and electronic fluid distribution) and follow-me-home headlights and it’s clear the new Yaris makes a lot of sense. 

Prices start at R124 000 for the one-litre Xi three-door hatch rising to R157 900 for the five-door XR. The 1.3 range starts at R157 000, rising to a R203 700 for the three-door flagship XR.

The new Yaris comes with a four-year or 60 000 km service plan; service intervals are 15 000 km) and there’s a comprehensive three-year or 100 000 km warranty. It’s supported by 24-hour roadside assistance.

Yaris 1.0Xi 3dr - R124 000
Yaris 1.0Xi 5dr - R130 000
Yaris 1.0Xs 3dr - R141 000
Yaris 1.0Xs 5dr - R147 400
Yaris 1.0XR 3dr - R151 100
Yaris 1.0XR 5dr - R157 900

Yaris 1.3Xi 3dr - R157 000
Yaris 1.3Xi 5dr - R163 000
Yaris 1.3Xs 3dr - R171 600
Yaris 1.3Xs 5dr - R177 600
Yaris 1.3Xs 5dr - R189 000
Yaris 1.3XR 3dr - R203 700
Yaris 1.3XR 5dr - R200 600

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