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Toyota's new model driven: 'I landed, I bathed, I Yaris-ed'

2018-02-18 00:00

Melinda Ferguson

The new Toyota Yaris is well priced and economical to maintain. Picture:L Supplied

Toyota Yaris 2018

Price: From R230 500

These days, coming from drought-stricken level 6B water-restricted Cape Town, I eagerly await invitations to new car launches hosted anywhere but the parched Mother City. Rain-drenched Jozi has never looked more appealing and Durban rocks with no sign of water restrictions.

Even Plettenberg Bay, on level one, holds great allure. So, when an invitation to the Durban launch of the new Yaris, with an overnight stay at the luxurious crowd-pulling Zimbali Resort, popped into my inbox, I planned my water extravaganza in advance. Not having bathed for over four weeks, with just the odd 30-second shower now and again, the night before the launch I did a coconut oil treatment on my now close to dirt-dreadlocked hair.

To be honest, the idea of soaking my grimy body and rinsing my oily hair in a brim-full bath, followed by a conscienceless shower, eclipsed my excitement to test-drive the all-new Yaris. But Toyota was having none of my bath shenanigans. On arriving at King Shaka International Airport we were shuttled to Zimbali, but before I could get my grubby hands on the hot and cold knobs we were handed keys to the Yaris and set off on a test drive around scenic KwaZulu-Natal. What were these people thinking? Could they not see how my hair was going to drip oil and soil the new trim on the front seats?

Thankfully, the outside and inside of the new Yaris was impressive enough to distract me from my water cravings. The Yaris has always been a consistent performer for the Japanese manufacturer both internationally and locally since 2005, but it’s also erred on the side of mundane. Now refreshed, revitalised, larger in size and with a definite cool appeal for fussy, looks-obsessed millennials, the 2018 Yaris has undergone a huge shift in terms of trendy appeal.

Sharp lines, a striking trapezoidal front grille, a new bumper and very sexy daytime running lights give it an edgy contemporary vibe. Inside, the layout is clean and unfussy. Its highlight is the updated high-resolution 7-inch touchscreen multimedia infotainment system. I managed to pair my phone via Bluetooth in seconds. The height-adjustable driver’s seat is pretty comfy and the steering wheel can be moved both in and out as well as up and down. The car has impressive boot space, good passenger leg room and the real cherry on the top comes by way of seven airbags.

The Yaris is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, delivering 79kW of power and 140Nm torque. There are two gearbox options by way of a manual and auto. I definitely preferred the manual, which is more flexible than the CVT and has some decent power when you rev it hard.

I especially liked the manual on long open roads. The new Yaris is great on fuel – at around 5.8 litres per 100km, it’s priced well in the highly competitive B-segment and it promises to be economical to maintain.

The ride distracted me for at least four hours from my hair woes, but when I did get back to my luxurious room, nestled in the gorgeous tropical getaway of Zimbali, overlooking the sky blue Indian Ocean, I bathed at 6pm and again at midnight. When the birds tweeted dawn in, I was back in the water.

  • Ferguson was hosted at Zimbali Resort by Toyota. Visit zimbalihotels.com to book. Specials from R1 399 per person until March 2
Read more on:    toyota  |  yaris  |  travel and leissure  |  new model  |  review

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