Yaris sets the tone

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Pe­ter Keenan

THE £76mil­lion Toy­ota re­cently splashed out re­vamp­ing the Yaris looks money well spent as the new Bi-tone model hits the right note with an eye-catch­ing ex­te­rior and mod­ern in­te­rior.

The su­per­mini has come a long way from the orig­i­nal launched in 1999 and is now a stylish, mod­ern mo­tor with bun­dles of ap­peal for young and old alike.

Toy­ota has re­sisted the urge to bulk up the Yaris, un­like some com­peti­tors, and this gives it two ad­van­tages.

Firstly, it is nippy and fun to drive thanks to a lack of un­nec­es­sary flab and sec­ond it is easy to slot into those tight city cen­tre park­ing spa­ces.

Built in France since 2001, re­fine­ment is a given as the cabin has re­ceived a thor­ough re­boot with ef­fi­cient sound-proof­ing and any­thing re­sem­bling cheap, shiny plas­tics re­moved. There is also a marked step up in the amount of kit pro­vided.

All ver­sions of the Yaris in­clude Toy­ota Safety Sense which boasts natty fea­tures to keep you out of trou­ble – al­though the warn­ing beeps from the lane depar­ture alert are a lit­tle quick to de­ploy so can be a bit an­noy­ing – as well as power front win­dows, rain-sens­ing wipers, Blue­tooth and an au­dio sys­tem with six speak­ers.

There are six trims avail­able with all be­ing fam­ily-friendly five-door mod­els. The £17,595 range-top­ping Bi-tone ver­sion sports a seven-inch touch­screen that dom­i­nates the dash­board. The Toy­ota Touch 2 mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem fea­tures a sim­ple to use sat nav that is easy on the eye as well as hous­ing con­trols for the air con and so­cial me­dia apps.

Thanks to its up­right stance the Yaris of­fers a sur­pris­ing amount of space for all oc­cu­pants and their lug­gage while three adults can be ac­com­mo­dated in the rear of this su­per­mini with­out risk­ing crush in­juries. A de­cent driv­ing po­si­tion is a cinch to sort out and there are plenty of cup hold­ers and cubby holes.

It is clearly aimed at cap­tur­ing the youth vote as it is a fash­ion con­scious in­di­vid­ual with an ex­te­rior boast­ing LED day­time run­ning lights, 16-inch al­loy wheels, rear spoiler, pi­ano black side mould­ings and a hon­ey­combe grille. There is also a dis­tinc­tive ‘X’ that runs from the bumpers through the Toy­ota badge to the head­lights.

Sharp an­gles and sleek de­sign are com­ple­mented by con­trast­ing paint jobs with four choices avail­able for the Bi-tone in­clud­ing Ne­bula Blue, Tokyo Red, Glacier Pearl White and Plat­inum Bronze. These are part­nered by a black fin­ish for the pil­lars and roof.

It makes an in­stant im­pres­sion and is mir­rored in­side by match­ing trims for the door pan­els and dash­board while the seat up­hol­stery mir­rors the Bi-tone shade.

Un­der the bon­net lurks Toy­ota’s lat­est 1.5-litre petrol pow­er­plant – aided and abet­ted by a six-speed man­ual gear­box – which is nippy with­out set­ting any­one’s hair on fire. It is rea­son­ably ef­fi­cient with a claimed fuel econ­omy fig­ure of 58.9mpg which in the real world comes in at around 50, while car­bon diox­ide emis­sions are 112g/km. There’s also a three-cylin­der petrol 1.0-litre model and a hy­brid ver­sion.

The Yaris of­fers an en­gag­ing drive with good lev­els of grip and de­cent han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics while the new sus­pen­sion han­dles most of the humps and hol­lows put in its path.

The su­per­mini sec­tor of the mar­ket is in­cred­i­bly com­pet­i­tive, but Toy­ota have sup­plied the right in­gre­di­ents to make the lat­est Yaris a tasty of­fer­ing that can add to an al­ready suc­cess­ful sales story.


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