Toyota has just unveiled the Yaris facelift, and the exercise this time goes beyond skin deep. Led by the company’s European team, this facelifted, third-generation Toyota Yaris remains a global product and the updates seen here will be adopted directly by its JDM sister model – Toyota Vitz.
This €90 million (RM425 million) project sees the introduction of over 900 new components to the Yaris and it’s said to dramatically enhance the car’s design, performance and safety. It gets a refreshed front and rear end, more refined interior and Toyota Safety Sense as standard across the model range.
Starting from the exterior, Toyota focused on giving the Yaris a more active and dynamic appearance while further enhancing Toyota’s Keen Look design attributes. Up front is a redesigned bumper with reshaped projector headlamps and LED DRLs. Higher end variants receive a Lexus-inspired honeycomb grille while lower grade models settle for “stepped” horizontal bars. Behind sees a new, reshaped tailgate and bumper while the tail lamps are LEDs. Depending on trim levels, the Yaris comes fitted with 15- or 16-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, Toyota’s signature HMI (human-machine interface) philosophy is very much apparent. New features include the 4.2-inch colour TFT multi-information display, blue illumination on the instrument cluster, three-spoke multifunctional steering wheel, propeller-style air vents, infotainment system as well as chrome and piano black trims. To go along with the chic and active appearance of this B-segment hatchback, a series of unique interior trim and colour options are available to complement each of the 10 striking exterior shades.
Three engine choices are available for the Yaris, namely a 1.0-litre 1KR-FE three-cylinder petrol, 1.5-litre 1NZ-FXE hybrid with VVT-i and the all-new 1.5-litre 2NR-FKE four-cylinder petrol with VVT-iE. Performance figures are rated at 68 hp/95 Nm, 111 hp/136 Nm and 99 hp (combined output) respectively. Drive is sent exclusively to the front wheels regardless of engine choice.
The new 1.5-litre 2NR-FKE meets Euro 6c emissions standard, as well as boasting 12 percent improved fuel economy over the old 1.3-litre engine. It accelerates to to 100 km/h from standstill in 11 seconds (about 0.8 seconds quicker). Two transmissions are available: a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy is rated at 4.6L/100 km on the manual and 4.2L/100 km for the CVT.
As for the hybrid, NVH levels have said to improve tremendously, thanks to new engine mounts, larger engine roll restrictor, front driveshaft, front subframe and modified intake system. Besides that, this model also gets improved ride comfort and handling thanks to revised dampers and retuned electric power steering.
Now, standard across the Yaris range is Toyota Safety Sense – a suite of passive and active safety features such as Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Automatic High Beam, Lane Departure Alert and rear seat belt force limiters and pre-tensioners. Only the entry level variant loses out on Road Sign Assist.
Unfortunately, the refreshed Yaris did not see the introduction of a high performance variant. Perhaps we will have to wait a little longer for that. If Toyota Malaysia decides to bring this in with the full breadth of safety features, it will no doubt do well, only to be properly challenged by the fourth-generation Kia Rio.
Toyota Vitz (JDM Yaris)