Hybrid power remains a unique selling point for the model, a powertrain option that is currently leveraging more than 40 per cent of all Yaris’s European sales – almost 50 per cent in the UK.
Yaris has a strong European heritage, having been manufactured at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France’s Valenciennes factory since 2001. Production passed three million units in 2016, with cars not only supplied throughout Europe, but also sent for export around the world, including Africa, North America and Middle East markets in Asia.
Toyota has handed much of the responsibility for shaping the new Yaris to its European operations, reflecting the strength and quality of the B-segment market in the region. Notably, this is the first time that changes developed for the Yaris in Europe will be adopted directly for its sister Vitz model, manufactured in Japan.
Going much deeper than a simple mid-life “facelift,” the £78 million programme sees the introduction of more than 900 new parts to improve the car’s design, dynamic performance and safety. The car’s new look, with significant changes to the front and rear styling, has been created at Toyota’s ED2 design studio in the South of France,
Design is a key consideration for supermini customers and the team at ED2 has focused on giving the new Yaris a more active and dynamic look while at the same time communicating a more refined direction. To achieve this, both the front and rear of the car have been given a new design architecture that presents a stronger three-dimensional quality, a greater emphasis on horizontal lines to express a wide stance and low centre of gravity.
The redesign of the front of the car features a new front bumper that creates a “catamaran” shape with broad sections flowing down from new headlight units, flanking the wide, trapezoidal grille. The result is a more pronounced three-dimensional effect, and the sense of a wider, more planted road stance. A simplified design in the area around the central Toyota emblem adds to the overall dynamic impact.
The grille itself benefits from new treatments that contribute to the new Yaris’s more resolute look, with a honeycomb design for Bi-tone grades and arrangement of “stepped” horizontal bars for other grades that again delivers a more eye-catching, 3D effect. The integrated fog light housings either side of the grille have also been reworked with a more compact recess and a vertical line that arcs smoothly to follow the outer edge of the bumper – featuring a bright chrome trim detail on higher grade versions.
The new headlamp units further develop the impact of the frontal design, producing a new, individual lighting signature. Where LED daytime running lights are fitted, light guides create a forked frame around the main lamp that flows seamlessly into a single line; this line extends beyond the projector headlamp in a matching chrome trim element that extends towards the central Toyota emblem on the bonnet. This is available on higher grade models, while on mid-range versions the distinctive forked pattern is created using slim chrome trim bars within the headlamp unit.
The new Yaris’s side view helps generate added dynamism with more emphasis given to the axis line of the body from front to rear. Here, the new tailgate and rear light units contribute to the sense of extra length and tautness in the car’s profile. There is also a new lower door moulding which adds a sportier look by leading the eye neatly into the line of the new rear lamp cluster, finished in piano black or chrome, according to model grade.
The range of wheels includes three new designs available for different grade models: a 15-inch silver wheel cover, a multi-spoke 15-inch alloy and a new 16-inch wheel with a machined face finish.
At the rear the added sense of refinement is reflected in a stronger central mass, created by a new tailgate design that strengthens the horizontal emphasis with new rear light clusters that extend from the rear wings onto the door itself. According to model grade, the rear lights feature LED stop and tail lights with light guides, asserting the new Yaris’s premium quality and, like the front lights, presenting a distinctive illumination signature.
Following the same concept as new the frontal design, a “catamaran” architecture has been created at the rear of the car with a new bumper design that harmonises perfectly with the lines of the tailgate, projecting the sense of a low centre of gravity and wide on-road stance. The powerful quality of this design is supported by a re-shaping of the area framing the licence plate and the addition of black garnish details in the lower bumper, edged with reflectors and finished with a pattern of straked, horizontal lines.
Two new colours have been added to the range of paint finishes – Hydro Blue and Tokyo Red, taking the total to 10 different shades.
The focus for changes to Yaris’s interior was to keep the look and ambience of the cabin feeling fresh and modern, introducing new upholsteries, colours and trim details and upgrading the instrumentation and controls to ensure excellent ergonomics and HMI (human-machine interface) performance.
The combimeter in the driver’s instrument binnacle has a new “binocular” arrangement of twin analogue dials flanking a new 4.2-inch colour TFT multi-information display, fitted as standard from mid-range trim. Different information and vehicle data can be selected and adjusted using control switches on the three-spoke steering wheel, which itself has a new look with the addition of piano black trim inserts (mid-range and higher). A new chrome trim frames the combimeter, adding to the more refined effect.
Other detail changes include new propeller-style air vents, cool blue instrument illumination and a more streamlined, seamless execution of the multimedia screen and controls in the centre console, including new switches that are both neater in appearance and easier to use.
Yaris remains unique in the B-segment in giving customers the option of hybrid power and the chance to experience the smooth, relaxed and intuitive drive Toyota’s world-leading technology provides, together with excellent fuel economy and best-in-class exhaust emissions (from 75g/km CO2). In developing the new Yaris, Toyota engineers listened to customer feedback to understand where improvements might be made to achieve an even quieter and more comfortable ride with better handling and steering accuracy.
Toyota puts safety at the heart of its commitment to building ever-better cars, ensuring that the benefits of advanced technologies are not limited to high-end, high-specification models, but are made available across the board. True to this ethos, it has made Toyota Safety Sense a standard feature on all new Yaris models.
This ensures that every car in the line-up is equipped with systems that can help prevent an accident happening, or lessen the consequences if an impact does occur. The package includes a Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Automatic High Beam, Lane Departure Alert and, on models higher than Entry grade, Road Sign Assist.
While an official release date and pricing has not yet been confirmed, Toyota says these will be available in the coming weeks, so keep checking back for more information.