BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Toyota has lifted the lid on its fourth-generation Yaris hatchback, sporting a more daring design and brand new platform, but don’t expect to see it in South Africa any time soon.

What you see here is the global version of the Yaris, which will go to markets such as North America and Europe. This car’s predecessor was sold in South Africa until 2018, but then Toyota SA shifted over to the larger Asian-market version of the Yaris, which is a completely different car. 

The fourth-gen Yaris moves over to Toyota’s new GA-B platform, which is derived from the TNGA modular architecture that underpins the new Corolla, Rav4, Camry and others. It’s likely that the Asian Yaris that South Africa sources will also shift onto this platform in its next generation, but just how similar it will be to this new Yaris remains to be seen. 

The new global Yaris bucks the upsizing trend often seen in this segment by being shorter than its predecessor, although technically it has only shrunk by 5mm, while the wheelbase has grown by 50mm to maximise interior space. The new Yaris is also wider and lower than the car it replaces.

Toyota says it has also put considerable effort into the quality of materials in the cabin and the hatch also receives a soft-touch instrument panel for the first time. Digital features include a larger 25.4cm colour head-up display, central touchscreen and TFT multi-info display in the instrument binnacle.

The new Yaris also aims to be the world’s safest car, and to that end it is available with innovative new central airbags as well as driver assist gadgets such as intelligent adaptive cruise control and lane trace assist. 

Advanced new hybrid powertrain

Full engine details have yet to be released, but Toyota says that, depending on the market, the Yaris will be offered with new 1-litre and 1.5-litre three-cylinder normally aspirated petrol engines. 

The latter will also form part of the drivetrain in the new hybrid model, which is said to be 20 percent more fuel efficient than its previous equivalent. The new Yaris hybrid adopts similar powertrain technology to the latest Corolla, Rav4 and Camry models, including a new lithium-ion battery. The 1.5-litre engine runs on the Atkinson Cycle and is said to boast the world’s fastest combustion speed, while also achieving better thermal efficiency than a diesel engine, at 40 percent. 

IOL Motoring