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2017 Toyota Yaris confirmed for March


Toyota has announced its facelifted Yaris light car will go on sale in Australia in March after revealing the new-look model this week, while also unveiling a three-door hot hatch to be shown at Geneva that would go head-to-head with the likes of the Volkswagen Polo GTI and Renault Clio RS.

Despite local details being scarce, the new Yaris will get visual tweaks including a re-styled front bumper, new LED headlights, and new lower grille and fog light cover designs.

Other visual changes include new-look wheels, sculpted rear bumper and refreshed LED tail-lights to give the new model a lower, wider and more aggressive look.

The new Yaris is expected to remain relatively unchanged inside and under the bonnet, retaining the 63kW/121Nm 1.3-litre normally aspirated four-cylinder in the base-level Ascent, while an 80kW/141Nm 1.5-litre atmo four-pot powers the mid- and top-spec SX and ZR.

In Japan, the new Yaris range gets the Safety Sense package as standard, which includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and hill-start assist.

However, for Australia it appears that the safety package will only be offered as standard in the top-spec ZR, with Safety Sense offered as an option on other variants.

While Toyota is offering a Yaris Hybrid for the first time in Japan, the car-making giant's local arm has confirmed the petrol-assisted electric version will not land in local showrooms as the already on-sale Prius C shares an identical powertrain and similar dimensions.

At the other end of the performance spectrum, a range-topping, rally-inspired Yaris could be introduced to take up the fight to the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST, Renault Clio RS, Peugeot 208 GTi and Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Securing the new firecracker for the local market could prove to be a difficult proposition.

The new model will be fully revealed at the Geneva motor show, and the as-yet-unnamed model promises to pack a punch of roughly 157kW.

A pair of promotional images have been released, revealing a three-door Yaris in white with red and black detailing, roof-mounted spoiler, sports bodykit, centre-exit exhaust and black side mirrors.

Given the three-door Yaris was ditched by Toyota Australia in 2014 and the relative rarity of micro hot hatches, securing the new firecracker for the local market could prove to be a difficult proposition.

Pricing has not yet been confirmed, however it is not expected that the new Yaris range will vary far from the current pricing structure, which starts with the manual Ascent five-door for $15,290 before on-roads and finishes with the automatic five-door ZR hatch at $21,920.

The Yaris saw a 15.9 per cent sales drop in 2016 over the previous year, recording 12,158 registrations. This placed it third in its segment behind the Hyundai Accent (18,703) and Mazda2 (13,639).

Would you like to see the three-door hot hatch Yaris variant make it into Australian showrooms? Tell us what you think in the comments below.