Say hello to the European Toyota Yaris, the supermini which just received a facelift last month. Name’s the same, but this Yaris (Vitz in Japan) is a different car from the Toyota Yaris sold in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. Ours is essentially a Vios hatchback.
This latest Yaris is made in France for not just Europe, but North America as well. For the first time, the Product Planning Department and R&D Division based in Brussels and the European Design Centre at Sophia Antipolis near Nice worked hand in hand to develop a car. 85 million euros and 576,000 hours of R&D have been dedicated to it, more than 1,000 new parts have been designed and Toyota Motor Europe (TME) contributed 75% towards the car’s creation.
The work carried out in Belgium and France on fundamental aspects – exterior design, interior design and platform – has been fully adopted on some versions of the Vitz produced in Japan. This exchange of know-how is, for TME, the first tangible application of the new thinking advocated by Toyota’s Global Vision revealed in 2011 by company boss Akio Toyoda.
The Yaris adopts the new cross-face look first seen on the new Aygo city car. At the rear, the redesigned bumper incorporating a diffuser, the introduction of a new LED rear light cluster with light guide patterns and the sculpted licence plate garnish give the five-door hatch more presence on the road.
Inside, cabin materials have been upgraded in both feel and appearance, while equipment and choice of colours have also been diversified. The new Yaris has also benefited from “major work” aimed at significantly improving suspension comfort and sound insulation, including a new torsion beam.
The European Yaris remains available with 1.0 and 1.33 litre VVT-i petrol engines, a 1.4 D-4D oil burner and a 1.5 Hybrid Synergy Drive model, which makes up for almost one out of three sales. See our Yaris here.