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Things are about to become a lot more interesting in the B-segment with the addition of the hotly-anticipated Toyota Yaris, set to win the hearts of urbanites with its funky styling and long list of features.The addition of the hotly-anticipated Toyota Yaris to the B-segment is sure to win the hearts of trendy urbanites with its funky styling and long list of features, which should also give its rivals cause for concern…
The second-generation Yaris has been launched to an eager South African public just two months after its world début at the Frankfurt Show.The trendy five-door hatchback slots between the Tazz and RunX in the local line-up and, along with the latest Hilux, forms part of Toyota’s next line of global cars.
Priced to compete with the Ford Fiesta, Opel Corsa and Volkswagen Polo in the burgeoning B-segment, Toyota expects the Yaris will achieve a conservative monthly sales average of 1 300 units. The Yaris is Toyota’s best-selling model in Europe and more than 1,2 million units of the city runabout have been sold since it was first launched in 1999. Models bound for South Africa are engineered and produced in Japan.
With an overall length of just 3 750 mm, the Yaris is one of the most compact cars in its class, yet offers an interior roomy enough to carry five adults. This spaciousness – a key consideration in this segment – is aided by the cab forward design based on a new platform with a 2 460-mm wheelbase, a tall roofline, and a flat floor with a wide-based suspension arrangement for minimal intrusion into the cabin.
Other distinguishing features are the short overhangs, wide track dimensions and convex and concave surfaces that provide a solid, square stance.
The cabin’s focal point is its facia, which has a centrally mounted digital instrument cluster and a vertically stacked hangdown section to offer improved knee- and legroom for the front seat occupants.
Toyota has adopted its modular Easy Flat system, with a 60:40 split rear seat offering 150 mm fore or aft movement and 10 degrees of backrest angle adjustment. Each seat can be folded forward in one slick operation to create a flat floor for loading goods. The load capacity varies from 272 m3 with the seats in their rearmost position, to 737 m3 (claimed to be the biggest in its class) with the seats folded flat. A full-sized steel spare wheel is located beneath the boot board.
Locally, the Yaris arrives in South Africa with a five-model line-up, starting with the base T3 and T3 AC, followed by the T3+, and the range-topping Spirit with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. Equipment levels are high and all models come with a central display showing time and outside temperature, steering wheel rake adjustment, variable speed windscreen wipers, adjustable headlamp beam, headlamp-on warning buzzer and height-adjustable front seats.
The T3+ has electrically adjusted exterior mirrors, remote central locking, and power windows at the front and rear. Finally, there is Spirit and Spirit AT, which have a different fabric upholstery, leather-covered steering wheel with reach adjustment, front seat map pockets, and a storage tray under the front passenger seat. First for Toyota with the Yaris is the inclusion of a radio/CD front loader with MP3 and WMA capabilities. The Yaris also has energy- and weight-saving all-electric power steering with the level of assistance varied according to the vehicle’s speed.
Available in ten different body colours, the Yaris also has a factory-developed range of accessories, which include a roof-rack, 14-inch alloy wheels, headlamps shields, clear-lens tail lights, alloy pedal set for manual versions, and standard and sports mudflaps.
Powering the Yaris range is an all-aluminium, 1,3-litre four-cylinder engine, already used by Toyota in other markets, which features twin overhead camshafts, 16 valves and VVT-i (variable valve timing-intelligent) control. For the Yaris, all-new intake and exhaust systems have been included, and with peak outputs of 63 kW at 6 000 r/min and 121 N.m at 4 400, this powerplant promises strong drivability characteristics. Emission levels meet Euro IV specification.
Manual models are equipped with a cable-operated five-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh on gears one and two. Cars equipped with the manual gearbox can be expected to dash from zero-to-100 km/h in 10,8 seconds and reach a top speed of 180 km/h. The Spirit is also offered with an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with manual override, which allows the car to accelerate to 100 km/h in 11,2 seconds and on to a top speed of 170 km/h. This gearbox is programmed for hill shift control to prevent unnecessary "hunting" of gears on uphill gradients, and provide appropriate engine braking on downward slopes.
The suspension is a conventional MacPherson strut layout at the front, with an inverted-V torsion beam axle located by trailing arms and coil springs at the rear. Brakes are ventilated discs up front with leading/trailing shoe drums at the back, controlled by ABS with both EBD (electronic brake-force distribution) and BAS (brake assist).
Yaris comes equipped with a high level of safety and security features, and all models are fitted with driver and front passenger airbags, three-point seatbelts, with pre-tensioners and load limiters, on all five seats and WIL whiplash injury lessening front seats. Spirit derivatives are also fitted with side and curtain airbags.
The cars are covered by a three-year/100 000 km warranty and an extendable four-year/60 000 km service plan with roadside assistance. Service intervals are 15 000 km.
Yaris T3 R108 420
Yaris T3 AC R115 920
Yaris T3+ R123 520
Yaris T3 Spirit R137 320
Yaris T3 Spirit AT R147 320