Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 18 June 2018
The original Toyota Yaris launched in South Africa back in 2005 and with a lot of excitement. People went crazy for its cute looks, compact design and charming character. Since its inception, there have been many new entrants to this market space and each bringing there own unique qualities, the question that should, therefore, be asked, is the Yaris still as very desirable?
Let’s try and answer this question beginning with its styling. Along with its lifecycle, several changes were made to the Yaris body styling, but all based on its European counterparts. Now, with this latest-generation, we see a very different and much more angular body style based on that from the Thailand manufacturing plant.
The overall dimensions are indeed bigger and the new Yaris has taken on a more Auris inspired design language. The overall body is now 163 mm longer, and 5 mm wider. The increased dimensions give the new car a more grown-up appearance while still managing to retain its funky and compact city slicking appeal.
Like Japanese origami, the latest-generation car features many new sporting lines and creases, all complimented particularly well with the red and black colour combination to match that of the vehicles Sport nameplate.
Part of the reason that the original Yaris was so popular with the millennials was because of its ease nippy, around town ease of use nature. The new car continues this trend with several peppy, yet light and efficient motors to choose from. This Sport model features a 1.5-litre naturally aspirated engine which develops 79 kW and 140 Nm of torque. Overall power delivery is solid and very much in-line with its nearest competitors.
You can either have power mated to a CVT (continuously variable transmission) or 5-speed manual gearbox. Fuel consumption is claimed at 5.9 L/100 km for this manual model, a figure which is certainly achievable.
Practicality & Safety
Owing to a body which is now 163 mm longer, the Yaris has been able to benefit both from an overall increased interior and improvement in boot loading capacity. Luggage load space is up to 310-litres in capacity (seats folded-up) or 8% better than that of its predecessor. The slanting roofline does cut into some rear occupant headroom, but thanks to the longer body, legroom has been improved.
The Yaris comes with stability control and the S model also comes with ABS, EBD and hill-start assist. All models are equipped with driver and passenger airbags, while the Sport derivative on test also features further side, curtain and driver knee airbags for added safety.
Cabin Feel & Tech
From the XE model upwards in the range, the new Yaris features and impressive centrally located touchscreen media display. USB in the cabin allows for easy charging of your media devices as well as services such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to be operated making for every imaginable in-car media source, including satellite radio.
The system also comes fitted with very intuitive satellite navigation, which includes POI’s and a spattering of clever options to assist with navigation.
The new Yaris has grown-up in looks and increased somewhat in size. It certainly represents some solid improvements over that of its predecessor and even in this incredibly tightly packed and competitive market segment manages to make a solid case for itself.
SA Pricing and warranty
An entry-level Yaris Xi is priced from R230,500 while the Xs is priced at R253,400. Our test unit, the top-spec Sport variant costs R286,000.
All Yaris derivatives are sold with a 3-year/45 000 km service plan and a 3-year/100 000 km warranty.