The Toyota Yaris range has been updated in Thailand. The eco car, and Toyota’s entry level model in the kingdom, now complies with Phase 2 eco car regulations, which require improved fuel economy and lower emissions than the original batch of eco cars.

The main news is under the hood, which has a revised 3NR-FKE four-cylinder engine. Like the previous 3NR-FE, it’s a 1.2 litre unit, but the Dual VVT-i has been upgraded to Dual VVT-iE, and the compression ratio is now 13.5:1, up from 11.5:1.

It’s mainly for efficiency (auto start stop is now standard as well), but output figures are up slightly – from 86 hp/108 Nm to 92 hp/109 Nm. The E20 gasohol compliant engine is paired to a Super CVT-i auto transmission.

The Yaris variants have been streamlined too, from the previous five (J Eco, J, E, G, G+) to just Entry, Mid and High. The base Entry is equivalent to the previous J Eco, the Mid is E and High is G+. There are additional equipment and things such as a new 6.7 inch touchscreen and front/rear video recorder make their debut. Prices are from 539,000 baht (RM73,607) for the Entry (unchanged) to 649,000 baht (RM88,628) for the range topper, which is 10,000 baht costlier than before.

Safety wise, it’s ABS/EBD/BA, VSC, Hill Start Assist and seven airbags (front, side, curtain, driver’s knee) as standard across the board.

Looks wise, the ASEAN Yaris is unchanged, but there’s a new Yaris Cross optional pack that brings SUV-inspired looks to the five-door B-segment hatchback. It’s pretty much like our Perodua Axia Style, but the Yaris Cross isn’t a standalone variant, but a pack of accessories that you can add on to the regular car.

The package, which is now being offered at a promotional price of 35,000 baht (RM4,779), consists of front and rear black bumper skirting, which of course have silver “skid plates” in them to emphasise “SUV”. Also in black are the matching side skirts, wheel arch cladding and the roof. The wheels are 16-inch two-tone items, and they are indeed further away from the body when compared to the standard Yaris.

Unlike the Axia Style, the Yaris Cross sits on a unique spring and short absorber suspension set, which gives it an obvious 30 mm lift. There are no roof rails, but there’s a ‘Cross’ logo for the tailgate. What do you think of the SUVised Yaris Cross?

In Malaysia, the Yaris is powered by a 1.5 litre NR engine (as we don’t have eco car rules to contend with) with 107 PS and 140 Nm of torque. The Bukit Raja-assembled model comes in three trim levels – J, E and G -and is priced from RM70,888 to RM83,888 on-the-road without insurance.

GALLERY: Toyota Yaris in Malaysia