Otago Daily Times

What’s new?

- Cars · Consumer Goods · Toyota Starlet · Toyota Vitz · Toyota Motor Corporation · Toyota · Lexus

From Star­let to Echo to Yaris, small Toy­ota hatch­backs have carved out an im­por­tant niche in the New Zealand mo­tor­ing scene over the past 40 years. Never as prom­i­nent as the larger Corolla, but still selling in good num­bers, and serv­ing as ev­ery­thing from grandma’s shop­ping bas­ket to first cars, bud­get rentals and even (back in Star­let days) a peren­nial class­win­ner on the na­tional rally scene.

Launched a cou­ple of months ago, the lat­est Yaris pushes for­ward on the same broad front: the stan­dard petrol and hybrid mod­els cer­tainly fit the shop­ping bas­ket, first time buyer and rental car bill; while at the other end of the Yaris spec­trum, the GR is a 192kW four­wheel drive turbocharg­ed ma­chine in­spired by a proven win­ner on the World Rally Championsh­ip scene.

While the GR is a Yaris like none seen here be­fore, and the Yaris Cross (a high­riding cross­over ver­sion) will take the model into new and likely high­de­mand ter­ri­tory, the rest of the lat­est line­up rep­re­sents a col­lec­tive fresh take on a fa­mil­iar Yaris theme.

This, the fourth gen­er­a­tion, is the first ve­hi­cle to utilise the most re­cent it­er­a­tion of the Toy­ota New Global Ar­chi­tec­ture (TNGA), a set of re­lated mo­du­lar car plat­forms that first ap­peared for larger mod­els from Toy­ota and Lexus in 2015.

There’s fa­mil­iar­ity in the main­stay mod­els’ choice be­tween small­ca­pac­ity petrol and hybrid driv­e­trains, al­beit with new mo­tors on the scene. The new en­try­level petrol en­gine is an in­line three­cylin­der unit, run­ning in the fuel­ef­fi­cient Atkin­son Cy­cle com­bus­tion mode, and de­liv­er­ing peak out­puts of 88kW and 145Nm. The hybrid musters sim­i­lar out­puts — 85kW and 141Nm — by com­bin­ing a re­tuned ver­sion of the same petrol en­gine with a dual mo­tor transaxle.

This test cov­ers the petrol 1.5­litre, sam­pled in en­try­level $25,990 GX guise. The same GX spec­i­fi­ca­tion is of­fered with the hybrid pow­er­train for $27,990, while pric­ing for the pre­mium GR starts at $29,990 for the petrol ver­sion.

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