The Yaris nameplate is no stranger to South Africa, launched in 2005, four iterations of the compact city hatchback have been sold on the local market. This marks the introduction of an all- new Yaris – tailored to specifically cater to the needs of the ever-evolving South African customer.
Bigger and Bolder
In a world where we are encouraged to upsize our ‘fast-food’ meals, adopt smartphones with tablet-rivaling screens and consume a multitude of media on cinema-sized televisions – the underlying trend seems to be; ‘bigger is better’. In this spirit the new Yaris has also grown in stature and is poised to offer even more than before.
Dimensionally the new Yaris grows by 165mm lengthways and 5mm in width – providing a notable boost in exterior size and corresponding interior space.
An all-new design takes centre stage, with a profile reminiscent of its larger sibling, the Auris. The front design features sleek headlamps, which flow smoothly towards the central focal point by ways of black ‘fins’ flanking the centrally-mounted Toyota emblem. The headlamps themselves feature chrome inner accents, creating an elegant appearance.
A prominent trapezoidal grille occupies the lower apron complete with honeycomb-patterned screen. The top corners house the Daytime Running Lights (DRL), visually aligned by a slim air aperture. The aforementioned increase in width, alongside a 45mm reduction in height, aids in creating a more purposeful stance.
The side profile is classic hatchback with a style line extending from the bumper corners to the rear of the vehicle – enhancing the feeling of continuity. A tapering rear window line and blacked-out C-pillar promote a sporty appearance.
Focusing on the rear, the sleek design is emphasised by the continuation of the character line from the sides to the rear, svelte rear light clusters and black central garnish. These attributes combine to communicate a sense of width and create an advanced look. Aero stabilising fins have been incorporated into the rear light clusters which enhance stability by controlling the airflow around the vehicle. The rear bumper design also includes aerodynamic fins to smooth airflow within the wheel housing and limit airflow into the rear bumper – in order to reduce aerodynamic drag and improve fuel efficiency.
Seven stylish colours are on offer: Diamond Silver Metallic, Attitude Black, Glacier White, Crimson Metallic, Graphite Grey including two new exciting hues – Inferno Metallic and Dark Blue metallic.
The grown-up feel continues indoors as the new Yaris features a spacious and inviting interior space. A cigar-shaped upper dashboard design creates a sense of width which is complimented by the stylised metal accents which surround the air vents – adding both style and sophistication. The ‘hang-down’ section features a prominent silver frame, which tapers inwards to create a multi-dimensional look and feel.
The operation zone is furnished in piano black trim with chrome-plated switchgear – which exude a sense of style and solidity. The lower section also features two cup holders, softly illuminated by an LED mood-light.
Both front and rear seats have been designed with comfort and ergonomics in mind, whilst not detracting from the interior flair.
Powering the new Yaris is a 1.5 litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Utilising dual VVT-i and a DOHC 16-valve layout, the engine delivers a rev-happy 79kW and 140 Nm. A singular engine option is carried across the range.
Top speed for the manual models is 180 km/h with the CVT model being geared for a slightly lower 170 km/h peak terminal velocity. Fuel consumption is listed as 5.9 and 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres, for the manual and CVT respectively.
Buyers have the choice of either a 5-speed transmission or Toyota ‘Multidrive’ Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), driving the front wheels. The CVT unit has revised control logic to enable it to react faster to acceleration input – particularly when re-accelerating from a coasting condition. Shift control considers driving conditions such as vehicle speed, accelerator-pedal-opening angle and brake usage then adjusts both acceleration and downshifting logic accordingly.
Ride and Handling
A proven McPherson strut-type front suspension has been adopted, while the rear features a torsion beam layout offering great reliability and space-efficient construction. The coil spring and shock absorber characteristics have been optimised to provide first-rate ride comfort.
On the road the new Yaris exudes a sense of solidity, and provides excellent damping of road conditions with an extremely composed ‘driving feel’. A great balance has been struck between ride comfort and dynamic composure. A large quantity of spot welds and a large under-body brace enhance body rigidity and promote excellent handling stability.
Depending on the model, the ‘rolling-stock’ consists of either 15 or 16-inch wheels. Models equipped with 16” rubber feature directional-design alloy wheels (with machined face treatment) and 195/50/R16 tyres.
Graded to please
Four grade options are provided, catering to a broad customer base. The gateway model to the range is the Xi, which is followed by the mid-grade Xs, Cross and Sport variants. Both Sport and Cross models feature bespoke exterior treatment to deliver unique personalities. The CVT offering is only available in Xs grade.
The all-new Yaris boasts a very comprehensive standard specification list – aligned to increasing customer demands and the ‘upsize-mantra’.
The entry-level Xi models feature Keyless entry and push-button start, four-speaker audio system with USB and Bluetooth functionality, multi-information display, electrically-adjustable exterior mirrors, front power windows, electric power steering and manual air-conditioning.
Xs models add automatic lights, 16” alloy wheels, retractable exterior mirrors, rear power windows, leather steering wheel and gear knob, steering switches as well as LED daytime running lights.
The Cross variant is based on the Xs grade and inherits roof rails, black side moulding, brushed metal apron treatment (front and rear) and black over fenders – affording it a rugged, urban feel.
Serving as the flagship to the range is the Sport model, which features a host of sporty enhancements to create a visually striking package. It sports the following additions;
+ Red-stitched leather steering wheel and gear knob
+ 2 additional speakers (6 in total)
+ High-definition ‘Optitron’ instruments
+ Leather seats
+ Climate Control (auto aircon)
+ Front fog lamps
+ Projector headlamps
+ LED rear taillights
+ Rear boot spoiler
+ Shark-fin antenna
+ Side skirts
+ Front and rear spoilers
+ Dark metallic front grille
+ Projector headlamps
+ Red accent stripe
Connectivity for Millenials
A standout feature on Xs, Cross and Sport models is the advanced new touchscreen infotainment system. In addition to the standard AM/FM, USB and Bluetooth functionality, the new audio system features full Smartphone integration and support via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto + protocols. Whilst CarPlay uses standardised Apple applications with Siri integration, Android users are able to fully customise which ‘apps’ they would like to ‘mirror’ on the audio screen.
In tune with smartphone operation, users are able to customise the home screen layout via a ‘drag and drop’ technique. Additional apps can be added via Wi-Fi connectivity.
In addition, a built-in satellite navigation system is also included – allowing users to maintain turn-by-turn guidance even when their smartphone is not connected. The system includes speed limit information and provides a GPS-sourced vehicle speed read-out in real time.
Comfort and Utility
The new Yaris features a multitude of storage areas to make any journey a pleasant affair. Two cup holders are provided up front, whilst a centrally-mounted console box, front and rear door pockets and large bottle holders in the door cards round up the in-cabin niches. An additional driver-side storage binnacle is also provided.
Luggage capacity has increased by 8% (versus the outgoing model) to 310 litres – making the Yaris an excellent travel companion.
In addition to the generous convenience specification, a strong focus has been placed on both active and passive safety kit. With this in mind, Xi, Xs and Cross models are equipped with driver and passenger Airbags, Isofix points, ABS with Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), seat belt pretentioner and force limiters as well as Hill Assist Control (HAC).
Sport derivatives are additionally outfitted with side -, curtain and driver knee Airbags.
1.5 Xi MT – R 230 800
1.5 Xs MT – R 253 400
1.5 Xs CVT – R 268 500
1.5 Cross – R 268 500
1.5 Sport – R 286 000
Warranty and Maintenance
All Yaris models come with a 3-year/45 000 kilometre service plan and 3-year/100 000 kilometre warranty. Customers additionally have the option of upgrading the above to a longer term/and or higher mileage through Toyota Value added services. Service intervals are set at 15 000 kilometres.