The Toyota Yaris has undergone a significant upgrade, scoring a fresh look, refined interior and equipment upgrades including a fresh 1.5-litre engine.
The company claims the upgrade goes much deeper than a simple mid-life “facelift,” with the $125 million program introducing 900 new parts to improve the city car’s design, performance and safety.
Its new look, with significant changes to the front and rear styling, has been created at Toyota’s ED2design studio in the South of France.
Design-wise it has a “more active and dynamic look” with redesigned front and rear ends and a greater emphasis on horizontal lines to express a wider stance.
The new front bumper creates a “catamaran” shape with broad sections flowing down from new headlight units, flanking the wide, trapezoidal grille.
The grille itself looks more aggressive and is further enhanced by new fog light recesses on each side.
New headlamp units also contribute to the new look with LED daytime running lights in upper spec models.
The rear gets a new tailgate design and new light clusters that extend from the rear wings onto the door itself. The “catamaran” styling is also evident here with a new bumper design.
The interior gains new upholsteries, colours and trim details and upgraded instrumentation and controls. The gauges are arranged in a new “binocular” arrangement of twin analogue dials flanking a new 4.2-inch colour TFT multi-information display in all but entry-level models.
Other detail changes include new propeller-style air vents, cool blue instrument illumination and centre console switches.
New safety equipment includes a Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Automatic High Beam and Lane Departure Alert.
In Australia these will be part of a “Toyota Safety Sense” package which will be a standard inclusion on the ZR grade and as an available option for the Ascent and SX grades.
The package will complement the reverse camera which is already standard across the range.
Ride and handling is improved thanks to a new engine mount design that reduces vehicle shake caused by engine movement when driving over uneven surfaces. Changes have also been made to the shock absorbers’ damping force and valve design to enhance comfort while maintaining handling performance.
The electric power steering has been tuned for less friction feel and smoother response to driver inputs.
A newer 1.5-litre engine will now be available across the range, however Australian models will continue to come with the 1.3-litre petrol engine in the entry level Ascent and the existing 1.5-litre petrol unit in all other variants.
Full Australian specifications and pricing will be revealed shortly before the 2017 Yaris goes on sale next month.