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KIA: Now it's the edgy, wedgy Koup

Kia continues to pleasantly surprise the South African car market with its growing product choice. The addition of the sexily sporty, 225km/h, Koup, says DAVE FALL, has just made things even better.

Toyota Yaris - a new alternative

2005-11-11 10:33

New Yaris is a welcome addition to South Africa

It is a car that will have immediate appeal to the trendy set, an expanding group of influential spenders with a youthful outlook on life wanting to add an element of style to their urban transport.

This group of so-called 29ers (the median age is of course 29) are moving on and up in their careers. These are successful and driven young people determined to make it to the top in their chosen fields.

They are the future powerhouse of the economy. Ambitious and even a little extrovert perhaps, but this group is very much in control of the balance between emotional and rational needs when it comes to transport.

On the emotional side of any purchase decision are the feel good elements of style, freedom, invincibility, a wish to treat themselves to something special, and peace of mind derived from a respect for the for reliable transport that will place them where they need to be to take advantage of any developing situation be it business or social.

That bright red mega-million exotic might be the end game but on the way to it there are very real, rational transport needs. The aspects of style, practicality, safety, comfort and value for money are primary amongst those.

Purchase elements

The Yaris addresses these emotional and rational purchasing elements in an up to the minute technology and styling package - South African is ahead of Europe in launching this newcomer - as a car that is unashamedly trendy yet still practical.

The appeal of Yaris goes beyond the market of the 29er however with an overlap on either side of the target group that caters for both emerging first time buyers looking for a lot more style than that offered at the low price end of the market, and also for established buyers looking for a second family car.

In tailoring the Yaris to a market segment that is as uncompromising as it is ambitious Toyota fondly refers to the Yaris as its ?Little Genius? with its fine balance of performance, practicality, and space efficiency.

Responsive handling and steering combined with inherent stability courtesy of a well tuned suspension inspires confidence, but not at the expense of ride comfort.

A host of safety features provide a sense of security while a latest generation Toyota all aluminium engine provides excellent reserves of both power and torque together with good fuel economy.


On the practical side the Yaris packs a lot into a small package. Key to this is a flexible interior arrangement that allows passenger and utility space to be tailored to requirements within seconds.

The Yaris has 12 interior storage areas for oddments and documents, including a driver?s side glove compartment.

One of the smallest vehicles in its class in terms of exterior size, the Yaris is certainly not small on interior space. It boasts top of the class passenger and boot space together with good access to those spaces.

The 60/40 split rear seats boast both slide and recline movements. Add to this the Toyota Easy Flat system that converts the area behind the front seats to a flat floor space at the pull of a lever and you have a new interior benchmark for the class.

These practical elements are balanced by a sense of style. Sporty looks combine with styling features that play with the light to grab attention for the Yaris. In terms of features and quality feel the Yaris is larger than its small car size, a defined design objective.

The vertical treatment for the centre control console with its integrated audio system breaks with tradition to impart a fresh approach that is both stylish and user friendly.


The Yaris is a new generation Toyota designed to meet advanced international safety standards, be eco friendly, have the highest quality built in and offer exceptional value.

The design team charged with creating the new Yaris, an all new clean sheet design, started out with a Euro NCAP 5 star safety requirement with this accolade confirmed late in October.

To prove this out internally Toyota went to the extreme of pitching the Yaris against the largest and heaviest car (most expensive too) in its organisation, using the Lexus LS430 as the second vehicle in its frontal, side and rear impact tests for the Yaris.

The Minimum Intrusion Cabin System (MICS) developed by Toyota and applied to the Yaris proved itself in minimising cabin damage and intrusion in all of these tests.

ABS brakes with EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution) and BAS (Brake Assist) are standard on all models as are driver and passenger airbags. Airbag protection is extended to side airbags, curtain airbags and a driver side knee airbag on the top of the range Spirit models.

The latest generation all aluminium engine of the Yaris is Euro IV emission compliant. Toyota has also specified materials used in production, including the paint, that are low in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).


Quality finishes and feel abound in the Yaris. The design team has excelled in using new surface treatments to impart a high quality, modern look and feel to PVC components inside the vehicle.

Trim panels and seats are also designed with a quality finish in mind and to this end there are no stitch lines visible on the seat covers.

In terms of value the Yaris has a lot to offer in addition to its host of practical features.

Service intervals are 15 000 kilometres, and a 60 000 km, 4-year service plan is included in the purchase price. Warranty cover is 3-years/100000 km with free 24-hour roadside assistance for the period of the warranty.

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