The little Toyota’s still got it.
For the new year (it’s only March), Toyota has given its compact Yaris hatchback a nip and tuck to keep it looking fresh and trendy as it enters its twilight years. Plenty of changes to differentiate this from older models, with new headlights and grille, new taillights, and new bumpers on either end.
The range continues to begin with the Ascent, which starts at $15,290 for the five-speed manual, with $16,820 commanded by the automatic (a $1530 premium). This base model sees power from a 1.3-litre four-pot petrol, good for 63kW & 120Nm. Standard kit sees things like 15-inch steel wheels, a rear view camera, seven(!) airbags, electric power steering, front disc-brakes, a space-saver spare wheel, and cloth seats (with 60:40 rear split) at no extra cost. There’s also a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system that plays through 6-speakers, which you can pair your phone to, and control via staring wheel controls.
Toyota’s ‘Safety Sense’ package (that encompasses lane departure warning, automatic high-beam, and pre-collision safety) is available as an option, one that we highly recommend. Stepping up to the SX trim level ($17,330 MT, $18,860 AT) sees the fitment of fog lights and a three-spoke steering wheel, as well as a bigger 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, putting out 80kW & 141Nm. Steel wheels still remain though. Boo.
Top-spec ZR trim completes the Yaris hatch trio, and as befitting the range flagship, it’s fitted exclusively with a four-speed automatic gearbox. Priced from $22,470, the Yaris ZR packs in 15-inch alloy wheels, bi-LED headlights, GPS satellite navigation, climate control, ‘sports’ front seats, and the Safety Sense active driver assistance systems thrown in as standard.
The updated Yaris can now stand proudly among the competition, with its sharp new looks and impressive active safety tech, and will put up a good fight among class-favourites like the Honda Jazz, Mazda 2, and Ford Fiesta. Hopefully we’ll see the Yaris GRMN here too, which will bring a little zing to this practical hatch.