KIA SORENTO 2.2 CRDI LS
Big on space, big on value
SINCE ITS WORLDWIDE DEBUT IN THE EARLY 2000S, THE TOYOTA YARIS SUPERMINI HAS GAINED A REPUTATION FOR BEING A RELIABLE, EASY-TORUN B SEGMENT CONTENDER. HOWEVER, IN RECENT YEARS THE HATCH HAS PLAYED SECOND FIDDLE TO ITS STRONGEST COMPETITORS, THE VW POLO, FORD FIESTA, AND MAzDA2.
So, it does make a lot of sense that Toyota came in strong with this year’s relaunch of the reinvigorated Yaris, showing off a drastically revised exterior, updated interior tech as well as a new, naturally aspirated 1.5-litre petrol engine. Creating a stronger model range that is designed to meet the requirements and preferences of today’s selective customer base.
The range-topping Yaris Pulse Plus’ exterior makes a definite style statement – that will easily attract buyers of all ages – with its new front and rear designs. The redesign features a new front bumper that creates a “catamaran” shape with broad sections flowing down from new headlight units, flanking the wide grille, and resulting in a more pronounced three-dimensional effect, and the sense of a wider, planted road stance. However, the presence of the initial Yaris form is still very much recognisable under all the more modern refinements, not losing its well-loved Yaris look.
Customers have a choice of three unicolour tones – Glacier White, Satin Silver Metallic and Cosmic Blue, as well as bitones, which are paired with black roofs – including Pearl White 2-Tone, Grey 2-Tone and Cinnabar Red 2-Tone.
Inside, the Yaris feels quite small and compact at first, and with a length of 3,945 mm, it is a tad tinier than its main competitor. However, the boot capacity meets the standard of the segment at 286 litres, so there is ample space for all manner of goodies.
The Yaris Pulse Plus CVT features a black trim (unlike the other derivatives), which is the colour of choice for a lot of drivers as it automatically makes the interior seem more sophisticated and clean. The threespoke steering wheel gets a new look with the addition of piano black trim inserts.
Other minor, yet noteworthy detail changes that play a role in the interior’s sleek new look include new propeller style air vents, seamless execution of the multimedia screen and controls in the centre console, including new switches that are neat and easy to operate.
The new 1.5-litre petrol engine powering the Yaris Pulse delivers 12% more power (82 KW – the same amount as the Mazda2) and torque (136 Nm) than the previous engine, yet also posts an improvement of up to 12% in fuel economy, which is of course great news all around.
Toyota has also kept the costs down by opting for a CVT, instead of a dual clutch
auto transmission. However, as always, this could be seen as a “better or worse” situation depending on how you look at it and also, where you are driving. Amid the streets of Cape Town and the lesser busy streets of the Northern Suburbs, the Yaris CVT performed both efficient and smooth, and the car followed swiftly without any significant interruptions.
On the open road, however, where vehicles drive anywhere from 80 km/h to 120 km/h, the Yaris felt like it was lagging a bit, and struggled under hard acceleration. Selecting sport mode endows the Yaris with tighter gear ratios and somewhat more grunt, although it also means poorer fuel economy. This is where the Yaris’ direct competitors, such as the Polo, comes out on top.
SAFETY AND CONVENIENCE
The Yaris Pulse Plus CVT does not lack in the safety and comfort departments – and boasts seven airbags with features such as hill assist, ABS, EBD, BAS, keyless access, and stability control as standard; as well as all the general comfort bells and whistles such as a USB, Bluetooth, Cruise Control and Projector Headlights all as standard – with only four features lacking from the top-of-the-range Hybrid model.
Although the Yaris does not entirely add up to its main competitors in all departments, its real strength lies in its sexy looks, sophistication and safety at a reasonable price, as well as a steady resale value that all buyers can count on. All in all, it would not be surprising if the new, jazzed-up Yaris does take back its pound of flesh in the very busy B segment.
All models are offered with a 3-year/45,000 km service plan and a 3-year/100,000 km warranty.