Toyota has just released an almost 4,000 word press release about the new 2017 Yaris for the European market but even if it had been four words, the importance of this little car can’t be underestimated. You see these on every street corner – and indeed the numbers are rising across Europe (over 200,000 were sold there last year) - and it’s been a massive sales success from the day it was launched way back in 1999.
Now for 2017, Toyota says more than 900 new parts have gone into the model even though strictly speaking this is a facelift. But, it’s a very extensive one at that as it’s been thoroughly updated both inside and out. It looks larger than before due to the cosmetic tweaks to the exterior but in actual fact the proportions have not changed; the new larger grille and wider taillights on the revised tailgate are just playing tricks on your eyes. It features new lower door mouldings that help emphasise the new Yaris’ athletic profile and also gains new bumpers and fresh 15in alloy wheels and rounding off the new look body are new paints options - Tokyo Red and Hydro Blue.
As for the interior, there are an extended array of upholstery, trim, and colour options to choose from but the most significant change is the addition of a new4.2in colour display. The blue instrumentation light is a nice touch while the switchgear has been revamped and the dash too. Toyota Safety Sense is a standard feature on all new Yaris models and this features Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Automatic High Beam, Lane Departure Alert and, on models higher than Entry grade, Road Sign Assist.
As for the drivetrain, the old 1.3-litre four-cylinder has been dropped for a brand new naturally aspirated 1.5-litre that makes 111 horsepower and 136Nm of torque. It can do 0-100kph in 11 seconds which is 0.8 seconds faster than before. But, that’s still slow, not that performance matters with a Yaris. People buy it because it is practical and affordable so it’s good to know that it is considerably thriftier than before - fuel consumption drops by 12 percent. That’s all fine and dandy but we can’t wait to see the range-topping version which will make its debut next month in Geneva; the three-door sports variant will have more than 210 horses! That’s our kind of Yaris.