Brussels, Belgium – Toyota has given its current-generation Yaris yet another makeover and as far as facelifts go this is quite a comprehensive one, with Toyota claiming to have replaced more than 900 parts.

Although the familiar shape remains, Toyota’s ED2 design studio in France has reimagined both the front and rear ends, with the Yaris gaining a new catamaran-inspired trapezoidal grille upfront, along with a redesigned grille and headlights, while LED daytime running lights feature on some models.

The back end sees a completely new horizontal taillight design that extends into the tailgate, which has also been reshaped in accordance, along with the bumper. Two new colours join the range in the form of Hydro Blue and Tokyo Red and fresh wheel designs round off the external changes.

Although the basic interior design remains as before, many detailed alterations have taken place. There’s a totally new twin-dial instrument cluster for instance, as well as propeller-inspired air vents, a neater-looking touch-screen and ‘cool blue’ instrument illumination. Customers can also look forward to a fresh assortment of cabin colours, trims and upholsteries.

In an early sign of how manufacturers are going to adapt to upcoming real-world economy and emissions standards in Europe, Toyota has created a brand new, and upsized, petrol engine for its Yaris, the previous 1.33-litre unit making way for a 1.5-litre, which remains normally aspirated. The motor has a rather high compression ratio of 13.5:1 and is capable of running on the Atkinson cycle. In fact Toyota claims it’s up to 12 percent more efficient than the previous 1.33, and it’s more powerful, with 82kW and 136Nm on tap (up from 73kW/125Nm).

The 51kW 1-litre petrol carries over as a budget option, while the ultra-efficient 1.5-litre hybrid continues further up the range. The latter model is now more refined thanks to numerous additional noise-deadening measures. Toyota’s compact hatch goes big on safety too, with a raft of ‘Safety Sense’ active systems such as autonomous braking, auto high beam and lane departure alert fitted across the range in Europe.

Exact South African specifications have yet to be confirmed, but we we’ll know soon enough, given that Toyota plans to launch the new Yaris locally during the second quarter of this year. Sadly, the ultra-hot 157kW turbo-charged Gazoo Yaris that was revealed last month is not destined for our shores.

IOL Motoring

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