THE COME­BACK KID? – TOY­OTA YARIS

New Toy­ota Yaris

In Flight Magazine - - IN THIS ISSUE - { TEXT: BERNARD K HELLBERG | IMAGES © TOY­OTA SA }

AC­CUS­TOMED TO BE­ING THE TOP SELLER IN VIR­TU­ALLY EV­ERY MODEL RANGE IT PRO­DUCES, TOY­OTA SA MUST FIND IT PAR­TIC­U­LARLY FRUS­TRAT­ING THAT ITS B SEG­MENT YARIS CON­TIN­UES TO STRUG­GLE AGAINST ITS RI­VALS – VOLK­SWA­GEN’S POLO AND HYUNDAI’S GRAND I10 – WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO SALES. HOW­EVER, THEY ARE HOP­ING THAT THIS MAY CHANGE WITH THE RE­CENT LAUNCH OF THE LAT­EST YARIS, NOW WITH A 1.5 LITRE MO­TOR WHICH DE­LIV­ERS 12 % MORE POWER THAN THE PRE­VI­OUS 1.3 LITRE, AND IS ALSO CLAIMED TO OF­FER 12 % BET­TER FUEL ECON­OMY. NEW DE­SIGN

The new Yaris, from most an­gles, is an at­trac­tive car. The rear car­ries some Peu­geot 3008 char­ac­ter­is­tics, and the front is suit­ably im­pres­sive and slightly men­ac­ing, but I was trou­bled by the ex­ces­sive frontal over­hang in an era when most man­u­fac­tur­ers are now plac­ing all four wheels right on the cor­ners. It’s also note­wor­thy that new Yaris is some 165 mm longer than the out­go­ing model.

The ve­hi­cle has a wide and sta­ble stance and a low cen­tre of grav­ity – all based on an ex­cel­lent chas­sis which plays a ma­jor role in the car’s re­spon­sive han­dling and sta­bil­ity un­der high-speed cor­ner­ing.

The de­sign­ers have gone to great lengths to present theYaris as an all-new ve­hi­cle as op­posed to a mere face-lifted one. In size, it al­most matches the Corolla – some­thing that will ap­peal to first-time buy­ers who will feel happy that they’re get­ting a ve­hi­cle which looks more ex­pen­sive than its price tag sug­gests.

STEP IN­SIDE

The seats, in a com­bi­na­tion of durable cloth and leather, are firm and hold the driver and front pas­sen­ger in place un­der hard cor­ner­ing.The six-speed man­ual gear­box and the pleas­antly light clutch ac­tion are Toy­ota trade­marks. Un­for­tu­nately, the steer­ing wheel – well-shaped and the cor­rect thick­ness – is only ad­justable for reach.

Smart­phone users will ap­plaud the seam­less link-up with An­droid and Ap­ple CarPlay, and an easy-to-op­er­ate sound sys­tem ac­ti­vated by a user-friendly touch­screen. How­ever, the Blue­tooth pickup mounted on the steer­ing wheel boss re­sem­bles an old-fash­ioned af­ter­thought.The USB port takes care of charg­ing needs as well as serv­ing as a linkup with the sound sys­tem and Google Maps. Le­groom, thanks to the 165 mm in­crease in length, is gen­er­ous, and the 351-litre lug­gage com­part­ment is more than ad­e­quate.

All mod­els have front and rear fog lamps, air con­di­tion­ing, 15” al­loy wheels, front and rear power win­dows, and re­mote cen­tral lock­ing.

SAFETY

The en­try-level Pulse of­fers ve­hi­cle sta­bil­ity con­trol,ABS brakes (discs in front and drums at the rear), and driver, pas­sen­ger and

The new Yaris has a multi-tal­ented per­son­al­ity in that it’s per­fectly at home in city traf­fic, with enough power and lux­ury to serve as a long-dis­tance tourer.

side airbags, while Pulse Plus adds cur­tain and driver knee airbags, as well as pro­jec­tor head­lamps and cruise con­trol.

The ve­hi­cle it­self has a sig­nif­i­cantly strength­ened body for ad­di­tional pas­sen­ger pro­tec­tion in the event of a crash.

THE DRIVE

In a sense, the new Yaris has a mul­ti­tal­ented per­son­al­ity in that it’s per­fectly at home in city traf­fic, with enough power and lux­ury to serve as a long-dis­tance tourer. It’s di­rec­tion­ally sta­ble, un­like pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion Corol­las, but it’s a rather high-revving en­gine with an in­di­cated 120 km/h high­way cruis­ing speed tak­ing up some 4,000 r/min.

The launch drive through the Tugela Val­ley from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg to Zim­bali on the coast proved that the fairly di­rect elec­tric power-steer­ing en­abled theYaris to be­come a pot­hole dodger of note.

It’s a quiet ve­hi­cle with min­i­mal wind in­tru­sion, and the fairly will­ing 1.5 litre en­gine (82 kW and 136 Nm) is claimed to have a top speed of 175 km/h.

FI­NAL SAY

Prices start at R199,000 for the en­trylevel 1.0-litre, three-cylin­der, which we did not drive. The 1.5-litre Pulse with a sixspeed man­ual trans­mis­sion is R228,700, and the CVT au­to­matic ver­sion comes in at R241,400.The range tops out at R249,600 for the Pulse Plus CVT, and ap­par­ently there’s also a hy­brid head­ing our way.

De­spite the sound Toy­ota rep­u­ta­tion, a three-year/100,000 warranty, and a three-year/45,000 km ser­vice plan, the Yaris will have a tough fight on its hand with the re­cent launch of the Volk­swa­gen Polo and VW Vivo, as well as the re­cently launched Hyundai i10. Built in Thai­land, it’s a rea­son­able value-for-money kind of ve­hi­cle, but plays in a mar­ket seg­ment where the op­po­si­tion is tough and fre­quently of­fers bet­ter value for money.

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