Refreshed Yaris shows it’s Swift claws

Refreshed Yaris shows it’s Swift claws

To claw back some market share it has lost to the Suzuki Swift, Toyota have launched three model grades in the 2014 Toyota Yaris and introduced more new features and benefits to its light car range to raise its market appeal.

More than 30% of Yaris sales are to the private market, and of those sales, more than 70% are sold to female buyers aged 50 years and over. The remainder of the new Yaris model sales go to fleet and rental buyers and Toyota says it intends to sell more than 1300 units in this calendar year.

The 2014 Toyota Yaris introduces a redesigned exterior, three five-door grades, plus a choice of either a 1.3 or 1.5 engine, and manual or automatic transmissions choices.

The new exterior look includes signature styling elements such as horizontal chrome detailing and a wide trapezoid lower grille profile, echoing the Yaris’ bigger siblings in the Toyota range.

The Yaris range begins with the fleet-focussed GX grade. Powered by a 1.3-litre 63kW/121Nm petrol engine, the GX offers the choice of either manual or automatic transmissions and class-competitive standard specification.

Every Yaris from the GX up receives a reversing camera paired with Toyota’s 6.1” touchscreen audio system. Every model also features Bluetooth hands-free connectivity for safely making and receiving phone calls, Bluetooth audio streaming as well as USB integration (including album cover art display), AUX (3.5mm) and cruise control.

The SX grade follows, featuring a 1.5-litre 80kW/141Nm petrol engine with automatic transmissions and adding 15” alloy wheels and fog lights outside, includes leather trim accents, climate control air conditioning and auto on/off headlights inside.

New to the range for 2014, the Yaris ZR has exclusive sporty styling cues and specification features targeting the private buyer.

Also equipped with the 1.5-litre petrol engine and automatic transmission, the ZR features TRD 17 inch alloy wheels, LED tail lamps (complementing the LED stop lamps standard across the range). An exhaust diffuser and upper rear spoiler also help differentiate the new Yaris ZR from the remainder of the line-up, with side skirts and spoilers completing the look.

A carbon-look instrument panel extends the ZR’s sports theme inside the cabin, as do ergonomically-designed sports-style seats paired with a sports-style ‘D shape’ steering wheel wrapped in genuine leather. Leather trim accents with contrasting silver stitching and privacy glass complete the interior package.

Additionally the ZR can also be optioned with a satellite navigation system, which incorporates Voice Recognition software and SUNA Traffic technology, providing real-time traffic data and helping the driver avoid delays with alternative route information (where available).

Every Yaris also boasts a comprehensive level of safety equipment including ABS (Anti-Lock Braking), EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution), BA (Brake Assist), VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) and TRC (Traction Control).

A first for the 2014 Yaris range is that all models receive an emergency brake signal function which flashes under heavy braking to warn following vehicles. Seven SRS airbags, including driver’s front and front passenger airbags, drivers knee airbags, two front side airbags and front and rear curtain shield airbags are also standard.

For 2014 the Yaris line-up is available in a nine exterior colours, including four new additions to the palette (Sunset Bronze, Tidal Blue and Cool Soda) as well as the exclusive ZR-only Vivid Yellow.

First drive impressions

Toyota launched the 2014 to the motoring media yesterday, issuing the journalists with an “Amazing Race” style challenge to drive a number of the Yaris to a number of points around Wellington to carry out various tasks.

This gave us the opportunity to sample the nimbleness and suppleness of the Yaris’ engine, transmission, and suspension package over some of Wellingtons narrowest, winding and hilly roads, from the CBD around the airport, over to Makara, and back to the CDB via Johnsonville and Lower Hutt.

AutoTalk spent the day in the upscale 1.5-litre ZR variant and came away impressed with the build quality and the overall finish of the car, as well as the level of standard equipment within. The optional navigation system deserves a hymn of praise for being so easy to programme and use on-the-run.

Performance from the engine and four-speed automatic transmission can be described as adequate rather than inspiring, but with two people onboard the Yaris ZR had no problems moving through the cut and thrust of Wellington traffic as well as climbing through the hills of Makara.

There was a little bit of road noise and bump thump felt through the 17 inch alloy wheels shod with low profile tyres on the ZR but nothing untoward, and most owners would probably not drive the car as briskly as we did over such challenging surfaces.

The Yaris ZR is a good overall package and no doubt will appeal to its targeted demographic, especially when resplendent in Vivid Yellow.

Prices:

  • Yaris GX manual $22,990
  • Yaris GX auto $24,990
  • Yaris SX auto $26,990
  • Yaris ZR auto $28,990
  • Yaris ZR auto $29,990 (with Navigation fitted)
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