2012 Toyota Yaris launches into NZ market

October 21st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has launched the all new Yaris hatchback into the NZ market, with reworked styling, improved performance and new equipment.

Toyota New Zealand’s Neeraj Lala said “This is an exciting time for Toyota – the launch of our best ever small car. Following on from the success of the current Yaris, and the Echo before it, we’re offering New Zealander’s the best combination of design and value in a city-sized package.”

“Small vehicles make up around 13 per cent of the New Zealand new vehicle market, attracting cost-conscious buyers and those moving away from larger vehicles. We’re confident that this new Yaris will appeal to a broader range of drivers with its blend of value for money features and Toyota’s innovative packaging.”

This new generation Yaris offers a more gender-neutral look in terms of styling. More efficient design sees Yaris gain interior space without sacrificing its compact exterior. Continue reading “2012 Toyota Yaris launches into NZ market” »

Toyota releases first images and details on 2012 Yaris

June 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has dropped the official details and some images of it’s new third generation 2012 Yaris hatch. The new Yaris has been initially shown in European-spec form but expect few changes to the model we ultimately see here in NZ.

Toyota’s newest supermini will be firstly manufactured at the Japanese firm’s Valenciennes factory in France with sales to begin in Europe around September.

For the continent the the 2012 Yaris will be launched with a choice of three engines. Two will be petrol powered, a 1.0-litre VVT-i and a 1.3-litre dual VVT-I, and the third motor will be a 1.4-litre D-4D diesel mill. A hybrid version is also in the works and will be based on the 2011 Yaris concept car that featured at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. More details on the hybrid Yaris are expected in the coming months.

Features on the 2012 Yaris will include a new multimedia connectivity system named Toyota Touch & Go. This unit will  feature a rather large 6.1-inch touch screen display and will be standard kit on almost all Yaris vehicles. Continue reading “Toyota releases first images and details on 2012 Yaris” »

Toyota to take Yaris HSD hybrid concept to Geneva

February 8th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s no secret that Toyota has big plans to get into the growing market segment for hybrid powered small hatchbacks in Europe. But what has been just revealed is that a first look at Toyota’s efforts is on the cards for the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The Japanese manufacturer has just confirmed that it will unveil its Yaris HSD Concept at the March event. Toyota is keeping its card close to its chest for now on the Yaris concept so there’s little information on what kind of powertrain or fuel economy the car will achieve when it debuts. However, Toyota has said that the Yaris HSD Concept design will have some hybrid-specific features, so expect some serious Prius influence in the sheetmetal.

The B-segment remains one of the most popular market segments in Europe but it won’t be easy for Toyota’s hybrid offering to compete with high-efficiency diesel engines. The other barrier comes with price as hybrids command a price premium. So Toyota will need some smooth moves to make the hybrid Yaris a viable competitor in Europe. Continue reading “Toyota to take Yaris HSD hybrid concept to Geneva” »

Toyota Yaris Edge 2010 Review

June 18th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

In a world of mass production and broad appeal design finding an edge is not an easy task. But this hasn’t stopped carmakers from exploring small additions and various tweaks for their existing vehicles in the pursuit of stimulating sales. In the case of the Toyota Yaris the extra kit has come in the form of a special edition package named Edge. The new Toyota Yaris Edge has expanded the Yaris range in NZ and claimed a place as the highest-spec variant in the line-up. So what exactly gives this Yaris the edge over its siblings and what is Toyota giving you for the extra coin? Car and SUV revisited the Yaris to find out exactly what the Edge is all about.

Priced at $31,800 the Edge commands a $2,800 premium over the standard 1.5-litre Yaris ($28,990), so where’s the extra money going?

Mainly into exterior aesthetics, not quite to a ‘pimp my ride’ level but enough to keep the Yaris looking dapper as it gets into the latter stages of its lifecycle. Additions for the Edge include front fog lamps, handsome 15-inch alloys (the standard model rolls on steel rims), and a full sports styled body kit. What really sets the Edge apart from other members of the Yaris clan is the athletic look that comes with the body kit. It’s a comprehensive fit-out with front and rear bumper skirting pieces, side skirts and a roof spoiler at the rear. There’s also a replacement front grille that gives the Edge its own face. The body kit extends the Yaris’ natural lines well and with the vehicle’s raked back windscreen, high waistline, and stumpy bonnet it has a pouncing stance.

Continue reading “Toyota Yaris Edge 2010 Review” »

Toyota Yaris

December 22nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham
Yaris from Toyota – 40 mpg rated

Toyota Yaris 2009

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota Yaris driving and interior shots

Toyota Yaris 2009 Review

June 10th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham


Apparently, the Yaris name is a unique combination from two very different sources. Yaris is a mix of the German expression “ja,” (pronounced ‘yah’)which means “yes,” with Charis, a Greek goddess who symbolised beauty and elegance. The bespoke name is an indication that the Yaris was always destined to be a most agreeable vehicle. If Toyota can fuse together a name like Yaris then what else can it blend together in this subcompact?

What the Yaris unites first and foremost is a well-built car with an entry-level price. The base model 1.3-litre, 3-door manual starts at $21,490 through to the 1.5-litre 5-door auto priced at $29,490. So what do you get for the money?

With the exception of the sporty Yaris RS (read review) you get the choice of the two engine sizes and with the 1.5-litre priced at a $6K premium over the 1.3 it’s an important decision. We had the chance to test both power plants and draw some conclusions.

The 1.3-litre unit puts out 63kW of power and has Toyota’s “intelligent” variable inlet valve timing (VVTi), double overhead cams, 16 valves and a new electronic throttle.  Even with Toyota’s latest engine technology the 1.3-litre unit is slow to get the Yaris off the mark and needs serious time to wind up for any sort of open road performance. That said, once up to speed it can maintain a comfortable cruising speed on the motorway. The 1.3-litre returns a 6.5l/100km fuel economy with the auto transmission, thrifty but not as frugal as some competitors.

The 1.5-litre offers up 80kW of juice and is a more spritely mix of power and economy. It’s zippy around town and more assured when seeking gaps at busy intersections. Returning 6.7l/100km fuel consumption it is only slightly thirstier than the 1.3-litre unit and won’t labour as hard when carrying luggage or passengers. The 1.5 is generally a more useful engine and if you’re planning on open road driving or carrying loads occasionally, the extra cost would be justified.

Both manual and automatic transmissions are available. The automatic box is a clever unit and even when mated to the smaller engine resists the urge to drop gears unnecessarily and will change down to provide engine braking when required. By comparison the manual unit was handy in drawing out maximum power from either motor but suffers from a stiff clutch underfoot. The manual requires accurate pedal work, which could become annoying in traffic and is inconsistent with the Yaris’ city car appeal.

Hit the twisty roads and the Yaris handles well. The 15-inch tyres offer decent grip and it doesn’t feel narrow and top heavy like some subcompacts can. It changes direction with acceptable body roll and stays relatively flat even when pushed. The Yaris is a highly manoeuvrable vehicle around town and with a tight 9.4m turning circle pulling U-turns and navigating tight car parks is its strong suit. The Yaris utilises electronic power steering that is sharp and accurate but too light and can dilute communication between driver and road.

When it comes to exterior aesthetics the Yaris is equal measures of distinctive and familiar. A stumpy front end is aggressively styled with huge diamond-shaped headlights pushing back nearly as far as the raked windscreen. A rising belt-line runs along the flanks stopping at a thick rear pillar, giving the Yaris a look of height at the rear and subsequently a pouncing stance. Overall it’s a modern look that’s neatly executed.

The interior styling isn’t quite as universal and the mid-mounted instruments won’t suit all tastes. Personally I don’t like this configuration, but it’s easy to adapt to and the digital display’s more accurate and more prominent in the driver’s vision than traditional instrumentation. Elsewhere in the cabin hard plastics mix in with soft and dark colours contrast with light. While the general styling and ergonomics are sound there is a budget feel to some of the dashboard plastics and also the seat upholstery. That said, cabin fit and finish is typically good and has a real sense of durability. Visibility is excellent front and sides, rear visibility is compromised by thick C-pillars but no worse than other new subcompacts.

The interior is spacious considering the Yaris’ overall size however this comes at a price with the hatch luggage area being smaller than most competitors. Although luggage space is a weakness the rear seat design is quality. It not only fits three adults but it can split 60:40, slide forward for more luggage room and folds flat revealing a 737 litre capacity. Ultimately the Yaris can comfortably handle 5 occupants or some serious luggage, but you can’t mix both at the same time.

On the safety stage the Yaris is a strong performer boasting a class-leading 5 star NCAP crash safety rating. A full compliment of airbags surround occupants including driver and passenger front and side airbags, driver’s knee and curtain shield airbags. Dynamic safety features include Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). The only noticeable omission is a traction control system, which is a feature that’s been slow to become standard in entry-level models, but you’d still expect it from any Toyota.

The Yaris faces stiff competition in its segment particularly from the Suzuki Swift and the fancy new Ford Fiesta, but it still holds its own. Like its cleverly mixed name it offers some agreeable blends. It’s exterior is compact but interior space is ample, its styling is unique but not over-the-top and the engines are economical but still strong enough to get around town. The market for subcompacts is fierce but the Yaris has the safety, style and reliability to deserve its good reputation and the consideration of potential purchasers.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications.

Price: From $21,490

What we like:

  • Safety features
  • Neat styling
  • Durable interior
  • Price

What we don’t like:

  • Boot space
  • Instrumentation position
  • Electronic power-steering too light

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Toyota Yaris 1.5-litre – Specifications

Engine Model Code 1NZ-FE
Type In-Line, 4 Cyl, 16 Valve, DOHC with VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing – intelligent)
Alternator 80 amps
Battery Voltage 12 volts
Bore 75 mm
Capacity 1497 cc
Compression 10.5:1
Configuration In-line 4 cylinder
Emission 160 g/km
Test ADR 81/01
Fuel Tank Capacity 42 litres
Fuel Type 91 Unleaded Octane Petrol
Fuel Economy Rating 4.5 out of 6
Litres per 100km 6.7
Cost Per Year 2008 cost per year based on price per litre of $1.85 and an average distance of 14,000 km $1,740
Injection Type Electronic Fuel Injection
Location Front, Transverse
Measurement standard for max power and torque (SAE-NET)
Maximum Power 80 kW 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque 140 Nm 4200 rpm
Starter 0.80 kW
Stroke 84.70 mm


Front Track 1470 mm
Rear Track 1460 mm
Gross Vehicle Weight 1480 kg
Kerb Weight 1075 kg
Minimum Ground Clearance 140 mm
Overall Height 1520 mm
Overall Length 3750 mm
Overall Width 1695 mm
Tow Capacity Braked 1050 kg
Tow Capacity Unbraked 550 kg
Wheelbase 2460 mm


Front Power assisted ventilated discs
Rear Power assisted drums
Park Brake Centre floor lever type mechanical parking brake

Toyota Yaris RS 2009 Review

March 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham


New Zealand summers leave little reason for complaint, with the exception of the variety of insects that enter homes around the country. Flies terrorise potato salads, mosquitoes cause sleepless nights and the infamous weta solicits squeals from unlikely sources.  Even though we take these insects out with jandals and rolled up magazines it’s still hard not to be a little impressed at how something so small can at times affect us so dramatically. Insects aren’t the only tiny things that can impress us; cars can too. The new Yaris is the smallest member of the Toyota family and fits firmly into the subcompact bracket. Many models in the subcompact class are criticized for being gutless, featureless and only suitable for use by those happy to trundle along at a snail’s pace. The 2009 Yaris RS is out to prove it’s a creature all its own, and one with a sting in its tail.

Walking around the test specimen quickly reveals a vehicle that has been force-fed large doses of character and it’s worked a treat. The Yaris’ stumpy front end is aggressively styled with massive bug-eye headlights pushing back nearly as far as the raked windscreen. An ascending belt-line runs along the sides stopping at a thick rear pillar, giving the Yaris a look of height at the back and subsequently a pouncing stance. The RS variant has received sports upgrades with a chiseled and chunky body kit, fog lights, tinted rear glass, colour coding on the mirrors and door handles, and a matching front grille. The look is polished off with stylish 17-inch rims wrapped in 205/45 Yokohama tyres. Overall, the Yaris’ styling is modern, overtly aggressive and fun, the RS additions work well together and offer enough over the standard model to create a unique buzz.

Open up the Yaris and some of the funky exterior styling is carried into the cabin. The dashboard looks like someone has grabbed either side of it and pushed its entire contents together into the centre. The climate controls, stereo and all instruments are neatly stacked above the gearstick. This makes for a tidy and symmetrical dash layout, and frees up space for some useful cubby holes, but it also creates vast areas of plain dark plastics that could benefit from being broken up with contrasting trim. The instruments are large and well illuminated but being mid-mounted aren’t my preference. I don’t mind a mid-mounted speedometer like in the new Minis, but I definitely prefer my tachometer straight in front.. Aesthetics aside, fit and finish is very good in the cabin, the plastics are firm to touch and it has the trademark Toyota level of cockroach toughness.  The interior also benefits from some RS upgrades; a leather-surrounded steering wheel and gear knob, chrome door handles and sports-style seats. The equipment list includes a useful smart keyless entry system and a push button start fires the Yaris up.

Interior space is very good considering the Yaris’ dimensions, with impressive rear headroom and decent width between the two front seats. Understandably this comes at a price with limited luggage room in the hatch. The rear compartment is equipped with a handy false floor for separating valuables, but is very shallow even for a subcompact. With the rear seat pushed down luggage space grows dramatically, but if you have 4 passengers with gear, nesting it all in the hatch would be very challenging.

The Yaris’ oversized front fascia results in a tiny bonnet but shoe-horned beneath is Toyota’s 1.8 Litre, 16-Valve, Variable Valve Timing intelligent (VVT-i) motor. This is a tight-fit but a good-fit for the Yaris, putting out 98kW of power and 173Nm of torque. The power isn’t enough to attract boy-racers or terrify passengers, but it is definitely lively and useful. The Yaris gets up to speed with relative ease but the 4-cylinder snatched from the Corolla isn’t peaky in its power delivery instead opting for smooth acceleration through the range. To extract the best performance from the Yaris the revs need to be kept high and the gears worked thoroughly. Luckily the 6-speed manual transmission worms it’s way through the gears easily and matched up with a suitably manageable clutch makes for a rewarding drive.

When it’s time to hit the open road and escape the hive the RS comes into it’s own. When many small cars are found wanting the Yaris excels and cruises comfortably around the speed limit with genuine overtaking capabilities. Shift on to twisting B-roads and the Yaris is as light as a hornet and as sure-footed as a centipede. Sports tuned suspension helps the RS harness the extra power and the result is very impressive. The Yaris sits flat on turn-in and has an awesome level of grip. Torque-steer isn’t an issue with the front wheels staying glued to the tarmac in most situations. The electronic steering is accurate and well-weighted capping off a package that has the ability to embarrass more powerful vehicles on windy roads.

Ride quality is compromised by the firm suspension, not uncomfortably so but possibly enough to dissuade those looking only for a cheap city run-about. Despite the larger motor and wheels, wind, road and engine noise all remain acceptably mellow.

Keeping the RS contained are safety features far beyond a snail’s shell, including Traction Control (TRC), Stability Control (VSC), ABS braking and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). The RS is the only Yaris that currently offers Stability Control. There is a swarm of airbags complete with side airbags, front/rear curtains and a driver’s knee airbag. The Yaris also has kid-friendly credentials with sash seat belts for all three backseat passengers and an on/off switch for the passenger airbag.

The Yaris RS was designed and built in Europe and has come to NZ spinning a web of good reasons to consider it in the subcompact segment. If you’re crawling along city streets or flying through open-road corners the Yaris RS is a spirited and fun drive. Its styling upgrades are tasteful but still strong enough to see it stand out from the rest of the Yaris colony. It’s reasonably priced has a long equipment list and class-leading safety features, combined with Toyota’s reputation for reliability and durability make it a very strong new car option.

Click through to the next page for a list of specifications.

Price: from $26,490

What we like:

  • Sporty exterior styling
  • High handling abilities
  • Fun to drive¨Safety features

What we don’t like:

  • Minimal Luggage Space
  • Engine could use a touch more power
  • Dash configuration an acquired taste

Toyota Yaris RS (2009) – Specifications


* In-line, 4 Cylinder, 16 Valve, DOHC with Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i)
* 1.8 Litre
* 98kW @ 6000 rpm
* 173Nm @ 4400 rpm
* Fuel consumption is 7.2 L/100km (based on EU durective 70/220/EEC (combined))
* 6 speed manual transmission


* 6.5JJ x 17″ Alloy Wheels
* 205/45 R17 Steel Belted Radial Ply Yokohama Tyres
* Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist (BA)
* Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)
* Traction Control (TRC)
* Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)


* 3800 mm long
* 1695 mm wide
* 1530 mm high
* 42 litre fuel capacity
* Seating capacity for 5
* 272 litres of boot space
* Gross vehicle weight of 1545kg


* Body Coloured Electric Exterior Rear View Mirrors, door handles and front and rear bumpers
* Chrome Exhaust
* Front Fog Lights
* Rear Spoiler
* Side Skirts
* Sports Style Front Grille


* Driver and Passenger Front, Side, Drivers Knee and Front/Rear Curtain Shield Air Bags
* 3 Spoke Sports Style Leather Steering Wheel
* AM/FM Radio and Single Disc In-Dash CD/MP3 Player with Audio Input Jack, 6 Speakers and Security System
* Chrome Plated Inside Door Handles
* Engine Immobiliser
* Leather Gear Shift Lever
* Smart Entry and Start System
* Sports Style Front Seats with Slide and Recline Functions

Words and Photos, Adam Mamo

Page 1 of 212