The new fourth-generation Toyota Yaris revealed with brand new hybrid powertrain, available in showrooms next summer
This is the all-new Toyota Yaris, which will try to capitalise on wider recognition for hybrid power when it lands in British showrooms next summer.
The Japanese company’s new rival for the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa is the fourth generation of a model that has sold four million examples since it was first introduced in 2000. It switches to a newly adapted version of the same Toyota New Generation Architecture that underpins the latest Corolla, RAV4 and C-HR.
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Called GA-B, the new Yaris’s chassis gets extra strengthening around its engine bay and a strut brace bonded to the bottom of the base of the windscreen, in a bid to improve the steering response. The rack itself is quicker, and the car’s electric power steering has a more powerful pump.
The car’s front MacPherson struts are now more in line with the springs, reducing friction. And at the rear, there’s a stiffer torsion beam than before. These tweaks, in conjunction with a bodyshell is considerably more rigid, have allowed Toyota’s chassis engineers to soften the springs in a bid to improve the ride, particularly on pock-marked urban roads.
The car itself bucks the usual trend by being slightly shorter than before; indeed, at 3,940mm, it’s very rare in the modern supermini class in being less than four metres long. But the GA-B chassis offers scope for shorter overhangs, so the new car’s wheelbase is actually 50mm longer than the outgoing Yaris’s.
The styling is an evolution of what’s gone before but as with the Corolla, there are some sharp creases to help give the car some more visual interest. There are also pronounced blisters over the wheelarches; this is particularly noticeable on the rear door, which has complex surfacing. The car is lower and wider than its predecessor, and it looks it.
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Image 2 of 26
At the heart of the Yaris range will be an all-new hybrid powertrain, hooked up through a CVT transmission that’s been recalibrated again to minimise the ‘rubber-band’ rev rises of earlier systems. It features a three-cylinder 1.5-litre, Atkinson-cycle petrol engine that has the same bore, stroke and piston size as the 2.0-litre motor used in the Corolla.
Significantly, though, it also has a lithium-ion battery pack, replacing the old nickel hydride set-up in the old Yaris hybrid. The new unit is 27 per cent lighter than the old system, contributing to an overall weight saving if around 20kg.
Toyota is still confirming the homologation of the vehicle so official efficiency figures have yet to be released. But the company says it will bring gains of “more than 20 per cent” over the outgoing Yaris hybrid – so in theory CO2 emissions could be as low as 65g/km, although recertification under the new WLTP rules could compromise this. No power figures have been given either, beyond a claim that the total system output (which is always short of the combined maximums of the engine and the electric motor) has risen by 15 per cent; this should equate to a figure of around 115bhp.
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Perhaps more importantly, the Yaris’s new lithium-ion battery can drain and recharge more quickly than the old nickel hydride unit – so Toyota says it expects the car to be capable of providing more of an electric surge through its 79bhp electric motor, and completing 80 per cent of urban journeys on electric power alone.
Toyota expects up to four in five Yaris models sold to be hybrids – but UK customers will also be offered the car with a 1.5-litre non-hybrid petrol motor, paired to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a CVT. A less powerful 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol should follow a few months after launch, equipped with a five-speed manual transmission only.
Inside, the Yaris brings a number of big-car features to the supermini class, including a full-colour 10in head-up display and centre airbags mounted on the inner edges of the front seats (a world first). There’s a large central touchscreen – which will feature Android and Apple integration as standard – plus a further TFT information display between the two instrument dials.
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Image 5 of 26
You sit lower in this Yaris – the ‘hip point’ of the driver’s seat is 36mm lower than the previous car’s – and there’s a strong mix of soft-touch materials and durable plastics in the front cabin. The rear packaging is geared towards children, though; six-footers are likely to find headroom particularly restrictive. Equally, Toyota has yet to name a boot capacity but even with the moveable floor in its lowest setting, it looks shy of the loadspace offered by Renault’s latest Clio.
There’s no word yet on trim levels, prices or specifications. But Toyota will start taking orders in early summer 2020, and the first UK customers should get their cars from next September.
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