Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The third-generation three-door and five-door Toyota Yaris hatch hit our shoes in October 2011. The new generation Yaris features a bolder front view, masculine fenders and slimed down headlights. Toyota has also introduced three new colours to the Yaris range: Celestial Blue, Glacier and Green Potion. The new Yaris has also grown in size; overall length has increased by 100mm while the wheelbase has increased by 50mm. Safety levels have also been improved with all models now receiving a total of seven airbags as standard, including a driver's knee airbag.
Not so good Some might not like the more aggressive styling of the Yaris and prefer the cuter styling of previous model. Toyota has taken the more aggressive styling approach in a hope to attract a wider customer base.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The Toyota Yaris’ cabin now features a more driver-focused cockpit. Toyota has moved the speedo and other dials from the centre of the dash and relocated them to above the steering column. There are three new audio units to choose from depending on grade. All units have a CD player, USB/iPod connectivity and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. The entertainment system in the YR also has FM with radio text, which can display the station, artist and song title. Mid-grade YRS gains a touch-screen display audio with FM radio text. The YRS, YRX and ZR grades allow you to personalise the audio unit's start-up screen with picture play via an SD card that plugs into the front of the unit. In addition, the YRS audio is rear-camera ready and can read out SMS and email messages. Top-of-the-range Yaris YRX and ZR have touch-screen satellite navigation and SUNA Traffic Channel. The increase in wheelbase and overall length has been utilised to provide more leg room for back seat passengers and improved boot space.
Not so good Toyota has done a great job in packing as many features into the new Yaris without changing the price, however, in doing this you can see where they have tried to cut costs elsewhere. The large slabs of ‘grain’ textured hard plastics that cover the dash and door trims look and feel cheap. We also think the beige on black colour scheme of the entry and mid-spec doesn’t seem to mesh very well.
Performance

Performance

Good oyota has updated the 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engines found in the previous generation Yaris. Updated changes include a lighter fuel system, less friction, improved heat management and engine tuning – this has helped reduce overall fuel consumption. The 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol produces 63kW of power and 121Nm of torque, while the 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol produces 80kW of power and 141Nm of torque. Both engines come with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. The 1.5-litre matched to the five-speed manual transmission is our preferred choice. The five-speed manual is a pretty solid unit and delivers power to the front wheels in a smooth manner. Gear changes are made easy by the well weighted clutch.
Not so good We found the 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine a little under powered. The manual transmission helped with performance but still isn’t up to par with 1.5-litre. Both engines are on the noisy side, when you plant the right foot, there is a whole lot of noise and not a lot of oomph.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The new Yaris has adopted the European suspension chassis tune but Toyota engineers have tweaked the set up for local road conditions. Engineers have retuned the assistance curve for the electric rack and pinion steering system, reduced the sensitivity of throttle response and stiffened spring rates both front and back. Toyota’s new Yaris hatch feels solid on the road, with a well weighted steering feel and an ok level of driver feedback. The retuned springs, shock absorbers and bushes improve overall handling, refinement and ride quality.
Not so good While Toyota have retuned springs, shock absorbers and bushes to produce a better level of comfort and handling performance it still doesn’t quite match some of its competition - but, points to Toyota for trying.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Toyota has brand loyalty because it’s a name you can trust. They build reliable cars that retain their value. Our pick would be the mid-spec YRS with the 1.5-litre matched to the five-speed manual transmission. The Toyota Yaris is also class leading when it comes to safety, offering seven airbags as standard across the entire hatch range. Buyers also get the benefit of Toyota’s ‘Service Advantage’ with capped price servicing.
Not so good Toyota has done a great job jamming more standard features into a great package, but interior styling and materials are lacking.