BOOSTED: AN­OTHER FACELIFT FOR TOY­OTA’S YARIS FAM­ILY SU­PER­MINI

With its lat­est up­date, Toy­ota has given the Yaris a fresh look, a new en­gine and a range of stan­dard safety equip­ment. Si­mon Davis puts it to the test.

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - FIRST DRIVE SI­MON DAVIS

TOY­OTA YARIS 1.5 VVT- I 6MT

WHAT’S NEW? The third-gen­er­a­tion Yaris has been around for some time now – long enough in fact to have been sub­jected to no less than two facelifts since it was first in­tro­duced in 2011. With this lat­est re­fresh, Toy­ota has dropped its 1.33-litre en­gine in favour of a new 1.5-litre power plant that is both more pow­er­ful and more ef­fi­cient than its pre­de­ces­sor.

Toy­ota has also re­ally stepped its game up as far as stan­dard safety equip­ment is con­cerned – a fac­tor that will no doubt ap­peal to fam­ily buy­ers. Even the en­try-level Ac­tive mod­els come equipped with the Toy­ota Safety Sense sys­tem, which in­cludes a plethora of alerts and warn­ing sys­tems, in­clud­ing lane de­par­ture alert and au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE To the un­trained eye, the changes to the Yaris’ ap­pear­ance might go un­no­ticed. The new front end has been styled to imi­tate a cata­ma­ran ship – with a wide, an­gu­lar grille dom­i­nat­ing pro­ceed­ings and giv­ing the Yaris a slightly more ag­gres­sive de­meanour.

Round the back of the car is where the most no­tice­able changes have been im­ple­mented. Toy­ota has com­pletely re­designed the shape of the tail-lights, which sup­pos­edly echo those found on larger, more pre­mium mod­els.

Cus­tomers also have the choice of opt­ing for the new Bi-tone spec­i­fi­ca­tion, which adds a con­trast­ing roof and pil­lars for an even more strik­ing ap­pear­ance – par­tic­u­larly when paired with the bold new Tokyo Red and Ne­bula Blue ex­te­rior colours.

While Toy­ota seems to have done a good job of fresh­en­ing up the lit­tle Yaris’ ex­te­rior, the cabin un­for­tu­nately lets the side down some­what. The dark plas­tics used on the mid-range mod­els

“TO THE UN­TRAINED EYE, THE CHANGES TO THE YARIS’ AP­PEAR­ANCE MIGHT GO UN­NO­TICED. THE NEW FRONT END HAS BEEN STYLED TO IMI­TATE A CATA­MA­RAN SHIP – WITH A WIDE, AN­GU­LAR GRILLE DOM­I­NAT­ING PRO­CEED­INGS AND GIV­ING THE YARIS A SLIGHTLY MORE AG­GRES­SIVE DE­MEANOUR.”

make the in­te­rior feel rather gloomy in­deed, and feel rough and scratchy to the touch.

That said though, while the ma­te­ri­als used in the cabin might not win any awards for their aes­thetic ap­peal, in true Toy­ota fash­ion they feel as though they will cer­tainly stand the test of time. SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY Hav­ing sat in the back seat of a three-door, first-gen­er­a­tion Yaris re­cently, we were rather sur­prised to find the new five-door only model felt as though it had less head­room and less legroom in the rear.

Sat be­hind a six-foot driver and front pas­sen­gers, taller adults in the back of the new Yaris will find their knees brush against the seats in front of them, while their heads might nar­rowly avoid touch­ing the roof.

There’s cer­tainly not an abun­dance of room in the back of the car, but two adults should be able to travel rea­son­able dis­tances with­out get­ting too un­com­fort­able. Squeez­ing a third adult pas­sen­ger in the mid­dle seat would cer­tainly make things un­pleas­ant, although a trio of small chil­dren should fit just fine.

As far as boot space is con­cerned, the Yaris of­fers up 286 litres of stor­age ca­pac­ity. While this fig­ure might not be class-lead­ing by any means, it should meet the re­quire­ments of most fam­ily buy­ers.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL

Our ex­pe­ri­ence of the Yaris was mostly lim­ited to low-speed, ur­ban driv­ing, which it han­dled am­i­ca­bly. The con­trols were light and easy to op­er­ate, mean­ing the lit­tle Toy­ota was in­cred­i­bly easy to place ex­actly where you wanted it – a fac­tor that will no doubt ap­peal to those who will buy one of these for al­most exclusive city use.

Mo­tor­ways didn’t re­ally cause it to flinch, ei­ther, with the Yaris re­main­ing planted and con­fi­dent through­out. Where it did fall down, how­ever, was in the en­gine re­fine­ment depart­ment, with the 1.0-litre en­gine in par­tic­u­lar mak­ing it­self heard at cruising speed. There was a good deal of wind noise whipped up by the Yaris’ door mir­rors, too.

Un­for­tu­nately, we didn’t get a chance to put the Yaris’ han­dling abil­i­ties to the test, as the Dutch roads that made up our test route were all ar­row straight and silky smooth and didn’t cause the su­per­mini to break a sweat.

Fi­nal judge­ment on its dy­namic ca­pa­bil­i­ties can’t re­ally be passed un­til we’ve had a go back on Bri­tish soil.

VALUE FOR MONEY

We got be­hind the wheel of the mid-range Icon Tech model, which costs from £15,045. Stan­dard equip­ment is gen­er­ous, with fea­tures such as satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, rear park­ing cam­era and a seven-inch touch­screen mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem all in­cluded as stan­dard.

One of the key sell­ing points, how­ever, is the large em­pha­sis that Toy­ota has placed on safety across the en­tire Yaris range. All cars – from the en­try-level Ac­tive model all the way up to the Ex­cel and Bi-tone mod­els – come with Toy­ota Safety Sense as stan­dard.

This in­cludes Pre- Col­li­sion Sys­tem, Au­ton­o­mous Emer­gency Brak­ing, Lane De­par­ture Alert and Au­to­matic High-beam. Road Sign As­sist is also in­cluded on cars in Icon spec­i­fi­ca­tion and above.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

Toy­ota is pri­mar­ily tar­get­ing young fam­i­lies with the lat­est Yaris – and its strong fo­cus on safety equip­ment should help strengthen its ap­peal with buy­ers in this de­mo­graphic. That said, fam­i­lies aren’t the only peo­ple who will look to the Yaris as a means of get­ting on the road – the 1.0-litre ver­sions should hold some sway with younger buy­ers as they won’t cost an arm and a leg to in­sure.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.