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Toyota reveals more details on Yaris update

Nose job: The revised Toyota Yaris will arrive in Australia this September with a new-look grille.

New-look Yaris hatch revisions go “far beyond a mid-life facelift”, says Toyota


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30 May 2014

TOYOTA has published more details on its upgraded and more European-focused Yaris light-car ahead of its arrival on Australian shores in September this year.

The update includes a redesigned grille that brings the car in-line with the all-new Aygo supermini (not sold in Australia), tweaked powertrains, extra standard equipment and improvements to noise, vibration and harshness levels.

Toyota says these revisions go “far beyond a mid-life facelift” and says it made the changes in response to public feedback. The company took a similar approach with the radically updated Camry it revealed last month in New York.

As announced last month, Toyota Australia will use the launch of the updated Yaris to discontinue the under-performing three-door variant that contributed negligible sales compared to the five-door and, to a lesser extent, the sedan.

Befitting its stance as its best-selling car in Europe, Toyota invested a significant $125 million and 576,000 hours of R&D to the update, with this version using more than 1000 new parts.

Toyota Europe chipped in 75 per cent of the total spend, whereas it contributed only 25 per cent to the launch of the pre-facelift third-generation model that hit the market in 2011.

Following a company trend towards more interesting and dynamic design under the leadership of president Akio Toyoda, the revised Yaris gets a sharper, triangular nose and grille design than before, as well as a large lower intake and a deeper front bumper.

There are also revised tail-lights and new wheel designs. Toyota calls its latest design language ‘keen look’.

Inside, the centre console has been raised by 23mm allowing the length of the gear lever to be reduced by 30mm, improving the ergonomics of gear changes. A closed storage area has also been added to the console.

Adopting the new Toyota Touch 2 multimedia systems has brought an increase in the size of the central touchscreen from 6.1 to seven inches.

The upper instrument panel has a new grain effect that has a more “tactile quality and less glossy appearance”. It is complimented by a thicker trim band.

There is also thicker soft padding on touch-points and revised seat trims.

Under the skin, front-end rigidity has supposedly been increased thanks to the use of a new windscreen bonding material and the addition of a thicker dashboard bulkhead. The instrument panel beam and its connections to the dashboard and central tunnel have been stiffened.

Central and rear body rigidity have also been increased with 36 additional weld sports, re-designed tunnel bracing to add rigidity to the vehicle floor, a re-designed wheelhouse area and a re-inforced rear bumper attachment to reduce body roll deformation.

The rear suspension has been redesigned to accommodate a new, stiffer torsion beam with softer coil springs and a new, long, polyurethane-bound stopper.

Softer springs also feature in the front suspension and the introduction of rebound springs within the shock absorbers increases front anti-roll stiffness, which improves handling and reduces body roll when cornering.

Finally, a new control logic in the electric power steering takes advantage of the extra bodyshell stiffness and suspension changes to “give the driver significantly improved steering feel, responsiveness and accuracy”.

While European versions will again include the option of three-cylinder petrol, a small diesel or a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, Australian versions are expected to retain the current 1.3 or 1.5-litre four-cylider engines used presently, albeit with some tweaks.

The revised Yaris range will enter the light-car segment at a challenging time.

Sales in the micro and light segments are down 25.2 per cent and 15.1 per cent respectively in 2014 in an overall new vehicle market that is down a more modest 3.1 per cent.

The Yaris has dropped 15.2 per cent YTD, and is sitting third in segment sales behind the class-leading Mazda2 (down 20.2 per cent but still on top) and the buoyant Hyundai i20 (up 23.6 per cent).

Yaris is the fourth highest selling Toyota passenger car ever sold in this country, after Corolla, Camry and Corona. Cumulative sales in Australia have passed 181,000 since the nameplate arrived in late 2005, when it replaced the Echo.

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