New Yaris ap­peals to Face­book fans with touch of hi-tech class

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FEATURES -

CVT im­prove on this (58.9 and 55.4mpg) and drop a tax band to C. The diesel posts 72.4mpg and 104g/km for tax band B. Early next year a hy­brid ver­sion will give sub 85g/km CO2 for zero road tax and ex­emp­tion from the Lon­don con­ges­tion zone pay­ment – a tar­get missed by the ri­val Honda Jazz hy­brid.

The 1999 Yaris and its 2005 up­date had a dis­tinc­tive, sunken speed and in­stru­ment dis­play in the cen­tre of the dash­board. It was not a great idea. The new Yaris has con­ven­tional di­als be­hind the steer­ing wheel.

The body is four inches longer, slightly lower and the same width. At 153 inches (3.88m) it is shorter than the class av­er­age but Toy­ota claims most rear knee room and load length.

Alu­minium in parts of the sus­pen­sion and the wiring loom, thin­ner seats and op­ti­mised body steel and other tech-tweak­ing have made this big­ger Yaris stiffer and lighter than the smaller car it re­places. The air­flow un­der­neath has helped achieve a class-lead­ing slip­per­i­ness and im­prove sta­bil­ity.

Yaris is made in France and key work­ers spent be­tween six and 18 months in Ja­pan be­ing trained to build a sounder car. They also had ear­lier meet­ings with sup­pli­ers. The plan­ning of the Yaris started 18 months ear­lier than on any pre­vi­ous Toy­ota.

Lots of de­tailed ad­vances have gone into this Yaris, such as a noise iso­lat­ing layer in the wind­screen, stronger seat frames which give more safety in a crash, a quicker steer­ing rack, a sin­gle wiper blade for a clearer screen, and smart grained cladding on the dash­board.

Toy­ota held its press event at Stoke Park, near Slough, which, says the blurb, is where Land­seer painted his Monarch of the Glen in 1851. That was a sur­prise to me too. My test drive was in a 1.33 CVT in TR trim with five doors, cost £14,260 plus £420 for a new me­tal­lic shade called deep aqua. Buy one be­fore Novem­ber 30 and you get Touch & Go in the price. This model is on 15in al­loys with eco-rolling Dun­lop or Yoko­hama tyres. The 175/65 pro­file of these give plenty of shock ab­sorbency over bumps.

The 1.33 has a 1329cc mo­tor with 98 bhp and 92 lb ft of torque. The CVT runs well in the au­to­matic set­ting and a sym­bol shows if you are driv­ing eco­nom­i­cally. The gear­box can also be op­er­ated as a seven-speed man­ual us­ing the shift lever or the pad­dles be­hind the steer­ing wheel.

There is also a rev counter but Yaris is not a sports hatch. The 0-62mph time is 12.3 sec­onds. With man­ual gears it does the sprint in 11.7 sec­onds. The 1.4 diesel is ac­tu­ally quick­est, with a lower 89 bhp rat­ing but 151 lb ft of torque. The one-litre mo­tor is ideal for town and city work or eco­nom­i­cal com­mut­ing.

The route was 76 miles, us­ing the M40, coun­try roads, passing through vil­lages and small towns in the Thames val­ley. There were road works, con­ges­tion and rain, with wellies out in force on the pave­ments of Read­ing on its fes­ti­val week­end.

The han­dling and steer­ing seemed spot-on for grip and ac­cu­racy. The re­vers­ing cam­era is a def­i­nite ad­van­tage, mak­ing park­ing safer and sim­pler. It was one of those rarer cars that I would like to keep. Toy­ota sees Polo as a ma­jor ri­val be­cause of its build qual­ity and low noise.

The Toy­ota Yaris 1.33 TR CVT five door in deep aqua paint, to­tal price £14,680 on the road.

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