There must be people banging their heads on their desks at Toyota. Where once the company had a firm grip on the small car market with the Tazz and then the first-generation Yaris, today the company is barely a runner-up to other major models.
In May Toyota sold just 146 Yarises, but now the company has launched the new Yaris and it will be hoping for a change in fortune.
With the new Yaris comes a new name, the Yaris Pulse, but this is not the Yaris Zen, which was simply a sticker ahead of a new model. This is a proper facelift with more dynamic exterior styling to replace the former Scottish Terrier look and a higher-quality cabin.
“In the revised Yaris range, Toyota has adopted new styling that is set to add further impetus to the competitive small hatchback segment,” says Glenn Crompton, vice-president of marketing at Toyota SA.
“The car’s new exterior styling, with significant changes to the front and rear, presents a more active and dynamic look while also communicating a more refined direction.”
To give the car more appeal there are three colour choices: white, silver or blue. Or you can have it in a dual-tone colour scheme with a black roof and choice of white, grey or red for the main bodywork.
There is also a new engine in the form of a 1.5-litre petrol unit, which delivers 12% more power and torque than the previous 1.3-litre engine, yet according to the company it also posts an improvement of up to 12% in fuel economy.
Compared with the 1.3-litre unit, it is 0.8 seconds quicker in acceleration from 0-100km/h (11 seconds in the 1.5 MT and 11.2 seconds in the CVT), while at overtaking speed in fifth gear the improvement is said to be more than a second.
Where the hybrid model is concerned, engineers have focused on achieving an even quieter ride, particularly under acceleration, introducing a raft of measures including new engine mounts, roll restrictor, front driveshafts and subframe.
The design of the new engine mounts and adjustments to the shock absorbers and electric power steering have improved the hybrid’s ride comfort and steering accuracy. None of this really matters though, because you will have to shell out a massive R307 200 for a green Yaris.
Other pricing is rather more reasonable, with the range starting at R199 000 for the 1.0-litre Pulse manual and the 1.5 models starting at R228 700. – BD Motor News