TOYOTA’S shiny new 2021 Yaris has arrived in Australia, setting a new benchmark for compact cars with its stylish design, dynamic performance and the clever application of new technologies, leaving the sub-$20,000 price bracket behind in the process.
The fourth generation Yaris sits on a new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that delivers a step change in styling appeal, ride comfort and agility, advances already seen with TNGA platforms in cars like RAV4, Camry and Corolla.
Complementing the 2021 Yaris GA-B platform are new 1.5-litre three cylinder power trains that develop more power than their four cylinder predecessors, while using substantially less fuel and cutting emissions.
The stand out is Toyota’s latest hybrid system that also generates higher power output while achieving the best fuel economy of any Toyota ever offered in Australia, at only 3.3-litres/100km.
Advances in active and passive systems are designed to create the world’s safest compact car, with the Yaris the only vehicle in its class with front centre airbags, designed to protect the heads of front seat occupants.
A driver assist system that can detect and automatically brake to help avoid pedestrians and vehicles at intersections is also standard. The new generation Yaris retaining its Ascent Sport, SX and ZR equipment levels.
The new Yaris is shorter and lower than its predecessor, with a longer wheelbase for maximum interior space and stability. A sporty exterior design comprises a cascading grille, longer bonnet, sculpted door panels, dynamic lines and shorter rear overhang.
There are 12 exterior colours, with ZR variants also available with two-tone paint. The interior offers an open, spacious and comfortable cabin with ample headroom, a wider centre console and an up-market ambience with high-quality seat fabrics.
The Ascent Sport has an all-black interior, the SX gains silver highlights, while the ZR is distinguished by sporty red inserts. A safety-inspired ‘hands on the wheel, eyes on the road’ concept results in intuitive placement of controls and a smaller steering wheel.
Linked driver information sources include a 7.0-inch touchscreen and a 4.2-inch multi-information display in the instrument cluster. SX and ZR speedo and tacho/hybrid meter dials are digital. ZR variants have a 10-inch colour head-up display.
The 2021 Yaris is powered by a 1.5 litre inline three cylinder Dynamic Force engine with the choice of a six-speed intelligent manual gearbox on Ascent Sport or Direct Shift CVT. SX and ZR grades can also be specified with Toyota’s latest hybrid system.
The new direct injection 1.5-litre petrol engine’s 88kW and 145Nm represent gains of 10 per cent and 2.7 per cent over the previous engine, courtesy of a lighter block and crankshaft, reduced frictional losses and high speed combustion technology.
At the same time, new Yaris uses less fuel, just 5.4 litres/100km for the manual and 4.9 litres/100km for the CVT. The latter is an improvement of more than 23 per cent over the equivalent outgoing model.
Impressively, these fuel consumption figures are also superior to the discontinued 1.3 litre engine by up to 6.9 per cent. Toyota’s fourth generation hybrid system’s petrol engine adopts port injection with 10 hole injectors for the first time.
Variable valve timing and the world’s fastest combustion speed have also been added. An electric motor, instead of oil pressure, controls intake variable valve timing, resulting in a wider adjustment angle.
Operating on the Atkinson Cycle, its 67kW/120Nm outputs are supplemented by a 59kW/141Nm electric motor generator and a compact lithium-ion battery. Combined maximum power output is 85kW.
The Yaris hybrid can be operated in a fuel saving eco mode or a more responsive power mode. As a full hybrid, it can also run on electric power alone, a noticeable contributor to its urban-cycle fuel economy of just 2.8-litres/100km.
Ground-breaking safety features include sensors that can detect vehicles or pedestrians at intersections when making turns, and a secondary collision brake. These new potentially life-saving features are firsts for the Yaris segment.
It’s also the first time they’ve been offered on a Toyota vehicle in Australia. They are expected to be progressively introduced to the brand’s other models.
Other advanced safety technologies include a pre-collision safety system with autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, automatic high beam, and technologies to assist with cornering, staying in the intended lane and detecting speed signs.
A reversing camera and a full suite of brake assist and traction-control systems including active cornering assist are also standard.
ZR variants gain front and rear parking sensors and a parking support brake system that can warn the driver of objects around the vehicle and even apply the brakes if necessary.
Other standard equipment on Ascent Sport include Apple Carplay and Android Auto, LED daytime running lamps, tail and stop lamps, auto retractable door mirrors with LED turn signal lamps, and power windows.
Additional standard equipment on mid-range SX includes satellite navigation with pinch-and-zoom capability, speed-limit display and warnings, automatic air-conditioning, key-less smart entry, and a smart-start ignition button.
Also included is a soft-touch instrument panel, 15-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, indicators and rear combination lamps and privacy glass. The range topping ZR gains 16-inch alloys, a rear spoiler, head-up display, and sports front seats.
It also gets blind-spot monitor, intelligent clearance sonar, parking support brake system, and paddle shifters on the petrol variant. The 2021 Yaris starts from $22,130 plus on roads, with the ZR Hybrid CVT priced at $32,100 plus on roads.