New Yaris appeals to Facebook fans with touch of hi-tech class
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.
ONE TO KEEP: