If you're looking for a compact car that is easy to drive and park in an urban environment and has an enviable reputation for reliability, there is no way around the new Toyota Yaris. The fourth-generation model is one of the most advanced small hatchbacks in terms of active safety technology and even comes in a hybrid version that brings its already low fuel consumption even lower. Even with its new 3-cylinder engine this Yaris is more powerful than its predecessor and we've got to admit, it looks better to.
The new Toyota Yaris is build on a bigger platform, giving it an improved footprint which in turn supplies the driver with a certain feeling of control and more comfort in tight corners and over bumpy roads. Another improvement that helps the driving dynamics is that the Yaris is slightly longer (but still compact), yet the lower roof line gives it a sleek appearance.
Though the Yaris comes in different version they're all powered by a three-cylinder engine, but you can choose to add the hybrid drivetrain, and this electric motor helps it move from rest. The 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine has an output of 88kW and 145Nm, and when paired with a CVT automatic has a claimed fuel consumption average of 4.9L/100km. This number goes down to 3.3L/100km when paired with the hybrid engine, which is only available with an automatic - otherwise the base model Yaris comes with a 6-speed manual.
Compared with its predecessor, it boasts 30 per cent more body rigidity, 15mm lower centre of gravity, an optimised driving position and a more spacious cabin thanks to a wheelbase that’s 50mm longer. All in all improvements in both comfort and performance.
There is no doubt about the fact that the Toyota Yaris has grown up and now looks and feels more upmarket than ever before, with a well considered cabin layout and a large 8.0-inch infotainment screen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The materials feel solid and even the plastics have a hard wearing feeling without becoming cheap. Especially the flagship ZR Hybrid accentuates the Yaris’ more premium positioning with a neat head-up display, multiple digital screens within the instrument cluster and premium materials. The new dash cluster is cool with a series of three screens, two of them in circular housings, for a sporty look.
But the main attraction of the Yaris is still that it's roomy for such a compact vehicle. Space is a strong point throughout, with ample room for front-seat occupants and enough toe, knee and head space for a couple of six-foot adults further back. It even has a 270-litre boot, which is more than enough for everyday use. There is also a tray at the top of the centre stack as well as another one over the glove box. Front seat passengers score a pair of cupholders while the rear seats passengers get one at the rear of the console to share, with all four doors sporting a bottle holder for 750ml-type bottles.
With improved comfort, performance, fuel economy and above all safety technology it's no surprise Toyota had to give the Yaris a higher price tag. For the first time since it began selling cars here in 1959 the Yaris has left the sub-$20,000 segment and now starts at about $25,500 drive-away. For that price you'll get the base model Ascent Sport with a manual transmission. Add $1500 for an automatic and the same amount to go Hybrid in the SX and ZR models, which both only come with the auto
All models come with eight airbags in total, including twin centre airbags (on the inboard cushion of both front seats) to better protect occupants in a side-impact crash. They all also come with speed sign recognition, lane-tracing assistance, autonomous emergency braking with intersection assistance, reverse camera, and automatic high beam. Only the top ZR grade comes with blind-zone warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors.
The top two model grades (SX and ZR) come with LED headlights, a fancy digital dash, and a sensor key with push-button start, but the base model gets halogen headlights, a turn-key ignition, and an analogue speedo dial. The All-New Yaris is available in 12 unique colours and the ZR grade gives you the option to add a black or white roof to selected colours.
You will be covered by a five-year/unlimited-km warranty and 12-month/15,000km service intervals for five years/75,000km priced at $195 per service.
It might come with a bigger price tag, but seeing what you get in return with the all-new Toyota Yaris this increase is more than justified. It's well equipped with a punchy yet fuel efficient engine, comfortable and more luxurious than ever before. The improvements compared its predecessor are massive, especially considering the safety technology. That makes the new Yaris a perfect choice for younger and older drivers alike - those who can use a little bit of help on the difficult and increasingly dangerous roads.