Small is the new big in "Tiddler Town" if the new Toyota Yaris is anything to go by. It's roughly the same dimensions as the previous Gen II car but offers more room inside thanks to smart design and new technology. Toyota has used techniques from the space optimised Toyota iQ in new Yaris. Understandable give that personnel from the iQ design and engineering team had a big hand in Gen 3 Yaris, out now.
There are three and five door variants available in YR, YRS, YRX and ZR grades. The YR and YRS are in three and five door variants, YRX in five door only and the ZR in three door only.
UNDER THE BONNET
Two engines are offered - a 1.3 twin cam petrol four in the YR and a 1.5 twin cam petrol four in the others all using regular 91 fuel.
The 1.3 is good for 63kW/121Nm while the 1.5 delivers 80kW/141Nm output. They are carried over from the Gen II Yaris with minor changes to improve fuel economy and drive feel. The manual is a five-speeder while the auto is a four-speeder.
YRX is in auto only and ZR is in manual only.
The engines do not have fuel saving direct injection as is becoming common in many new models. Toyota says the engines in Yaris are all it needs underlining the point with a claimed best fuel consumption of 5.7-litres/100km for the base manual YR three-door. The heaviest fuel user in the range is pretty good to at 6.3.
Yaris rides on a simple strut front suspension and torsion beam rear - calibrated for local use. The same applies to the steering and other aspects of the Yaris dynamic package. Toyota's (sensible) policy is to localise all its vehicles and it pays dividends.
The new car is stronger than ever and is some 20kg lighter thanks to the use of high strength steel in critical areas.
It has a five star crash rating and seven air bags including a driver's knee bag. Yaris also gets VSC (vehicle stability control) and a raft of other life saving and collision avoiding features. Pedestrian safety features include an impact absorbing bonnet, front guards and bumper and single windscreen wiper.
Pricing starts at a sharp $14, 990 for the YR manual rising to a top end of $21,390 for the YRX five-door auto.
All models score plenty of kit including a multi-information display unit, new Fujitsu "future proof" audio systems, iPod connector, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, steering wheel controls, power windows and mirrors, aircon, a 60/40 folding rear seat and 12 volt socket.
The kick off price is the same as Toyota Echo back in 1998 while the CPI has risen more than 43 per cent since then. Auto adds $1600.
Its quiet for a car this size. The rigid body forms a good platform for tidy ride and handling and the steering feels sharper than before.
Engine performance can be best described as adequate but less weight makes the new Yaris perform better than before. There is a slight torque hole in the mid-range that catches out the unwary. The engine is quiet and fuel efficient.
A hard plastic dash confronts passengers but the switches are easy to use. The interior look is acceptable and functional with plenty of storage options. The space saver spare is disappointing. Four-speed auto is out of the Ark.
Toyota reliability speaks volumes. New, made-in-Japan Yaris is quite a cute little car with honest performance, a large measure of inbuilt safety and generous equipment at an affordable price.
Price: from $14,990-$21,390
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Resale: 56 per cent after three years (Glass's Guide)
Service intervals: Six months/10,000km
Thirst: 5.7L/100km, 134g/km CO2 (1.3 manual); 5.8L/100km, 137g/km CO2 (1.5 manual); 6.3L/100km, 147g/km CO2 (1.3 and 1.5 auto)
Safety equipment: Seven airbags, stability and traction control, ABS brakes with BA and EBD.
Crash rating: Not yet crash-rated.
Engine: 1.3 litre four-cylinder, 67kW/121Nm; 1.5 litre four cylinder, 80kW/141Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Body: Three-door and five-door hatch
Dimensions: 3885mm (L), 1695mm (W), 1510mm (H)
Wheelbase: 2510mm (WB), tracks front/rear: 1485mm/1470mm