As stated by Jim Lentz, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager "the Yaris has been a hit in Europe and Toyota is looking forward to its debut in the U.S. As Toyota’s most affordable passenger car, the Yaris features modern exterior styling and a surprising and upscale interior. It is one of the most economic and youthful passenger cars Toyota has built."
In the new Yaris design process, Toyota Chief Engineer Kousuke Shibahara focused on three main aspects to explain the concept behind the project. Primarily, the new vehicle had to remain faithful to the Yaris heritage: an advanced product, high levels of interior comfort and modularity, use of high-tech, spaciousness, safety and performance. This step also includes a constant strive for the continuous improvement of every aspect of quality, durability and reliability.
Besides that, the Toyota Chief Engineer wanted to raise the level of complexity through a more distinguished execution. This has translated into improved quality, lower levels of sound and trembling, and more advanced drive-trains.
Finally, Toyota wanted for the new Yaris customer a more ‘upper-class’ experience compared to the previous model. The method used was that of taking an in-depth move toward to a multitude of diverse areas such as driving feel and overall worth, and even to more precise particulars, such as the sound made by the closing doors.
With the new Yaris that comes both as hatchback and sedan, Toyota wants to replace the previous Echo US model, that wasn’t much of a success. Expected customers for the new Yaris are mainly well-educated people with an energetic way of life, aged between 25 and 35. They are affectionate of high-tech and originality, appreciating Yaris for its smart design and sophisticated features in a compact wrap up.
The first Yaris was introduced to the market back in 1999. Since that launch, this B-segment compact car was a best seller in Europe and a vast success for Toyota, both on a profit-making plane and by completing the profile of the brand.
The original Yaris has won numerous titles. In the launch year, 1999, the car was awarded the prestigious ‘Japan’s Car of the Year’ as well as ‘European Car of the Year’, making it the initial model ever to attain such recognition all over the globe. The compact Yaris was also the car to receive the highest segment score in the Euro NCAP crash tests in 2001. With 29 points in total, it became the safest mini car that year.
The German TÜV Auto Report 2005 has declared the Yaris as the ‘Most Reliable Car in the 4-5 year category’. In addition, the recent 2005 J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index studies made in France and Germany have placed the Yaris Verso and Yaris Hatchback as first and second in their categories.
The initial Toyota Yaris had an inimitable life-cycle, with always-growing annual sales, seeing figures rise from 134,717 units in 1999 to an impressive 227,616 in 2004. The Yaris represented at generation change a quarter of Toyota ’s annual car sales across Europe, being simultaneously the best-seller in its class. Last year brought the 500,000th Yaris produced at the TMMF plant. In total, more than 1.2 million units were produced ands sold across Europe since 1999.
Before giving birth to the new Yaris, Toyota had tasked its designers with clear brief, based on four key-elements. The new car had to evoke the previous model, and posses the so called ‘Yarisness’; it should also posses a strong and unique charisma in order to differentiate it from other vehicles. Sophistication and refinement should be present anywhere in the car. And finally, the new Yaris should look even more dynamic, inspiring movement and relentless action.
A dynamic ‘mono-block’ shape that extends from the bonnet to the cabin dominates the new Yaris’ proportions. The domed belt line, providing a sense of frontward movement, further complements that. Wheels located at the extreme corners of the body create a solid stance.
The architecture, integrates a bumper shape and vertical lines extending from the bottom of the windscreen – a feature already seen in other Toyota models, like the Avensis - give the new compact car a strong fascia. When seen from a rear third quarter view, a powerful posture is created by the arched belt line, which expands to the back hatch glass and culminates in the Toyota badge. This mixture of convex and concave planes with sharp lines creates a near feeling of depth and strength beyond the physical size, completely gratifying the surface brief for the new Yaris.
Several other features, like the protuberance on the bonnet encircling the Toyota emblem and a particular honing treatment applied to the front lights’ inner lens (used to attain a special shiny look) make up the original touch element.
The Body length has been increased over the old Yaris by 4.33 in from the current Yaris, to 148 in. This, along with a lengthier wheelbase of 97 in (3.5 in longer than the old model), means the new Yaris can offer a substantially larger interior atmosphere. However, in spite of the large increase in external size, the turning radius is actually tighter than that of the outgoing model (from 192 to 173 in, with 14’’ wheels), beating also all its direct competitors.
Moreover, the car’s ‘cab-forward’ concept was supplementary improved by reducing the front overhang and moving the windscreen base 4.7 in forward, which allows for an even more efficient use of interior space. Due to this, the front-rear hip-point space has increased by as much as 1.8 in, now at 34 in – on par with bigger C-segment cars.
Vehicle Dimensions (sedan / hatchback)
Wheelbase 100.4 / 96.9
Overall Length 169.3 / 150.0
Overall Width 66.5 / 66.7
Overall Height 56.7 / 60.0
Tread Width Front: 57.9 (175/65R14) / 58.3 (185/60R15)
Rear: 57.5 (175/65R14) / 57.9 (185/60R15)
Front: 57.9 (175/65R14) / 58.3 (185/60R15)
Rear: 57.5 (175/65R14) / 57.9 (185/60R15)
Minimum Ground Clearance 5.8 / 5.5
Coefficient of Drag 0.29 / 0.29
Headroom (front/rear) 38.8/36.7 / 39.4/37.5
Legroom (front/rear) 42.2/35.6 / 40.3/33.8
Shoulder Room (front/rear) 51.6/50.2 / 51.4/48.3
Hip Room (front/rear) 49.8/50.1 / 50.0/48.3
EPA Passenger Volume 87.1 / 84.1
EPA Cargo Volume 12.9 cubic feet / 12.8 cubic feet
EPA Class Subcompact / Subcompact
Curb Weight 5M 2,293 4ECT 2,326 / 5M 2,293 4ECT 2,326
Engine & transmission
The 91.5 cui petrol engine is the same unit that drove the previous Yaris. The unit has VVT-i to improve low-end torque and high-end power output. The 106 bhp VVT-i engine propels 103 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm, giving the new Yaris a sporty yet smooth feel. A drive by-wire throttle design has been adopted, providing a more accurate throttle valve control, which, as a result, improves the engine’s refinement. It can carry out a non-linear throttle valve control, using the appropriate aperture angle for a specific accelerator pedal position and power-unit speed. In order to perk up levels of noise and vibration even further, this engine now features a hydraulic engine mount, together with a completely new mounting layout.
The Toyota engineering team has brought up shift improvements on every manual transmission in the Yaris range. The first gear received a multi-synchronizer ring that makes deployment easier. The further addition of a gate plate improves gear-change precision by reducing the amount of free-play when a gear is selected. Finally, by installing a big mass damper, Toyota has made obvious improvements to shift effortlessness and refinement.
The MultiMode is an electrically-operated (robotized) manual transmission, adopting two electric motors and an electronically-operated clutch to attain either automatic or sequential gear changes. The new Yaris is Toyota’s first vehicle to have MultiMode transmission available across its entire range. The MultiMode operates in three distinct ways: ‘M’, which allows sequential gearshift; ‘E’ for automatic gear change; and ‘Es’ for quicker automatic gear change. The MultiMode transmissions on the new Yaris now have a sportier tuning that provides a quicker gear change. The clutch-engaging time has been reduced for this purpose, which at the same time reduces shift-shock because of a reduced driveline-interruption time.
Displacement 91.5 cui
Torque 103 lb - ft. @ 4,200
Drive System Type Front-wheel drive
Differential Ratio 3.722
Differential Ratio 4.237
The new Yaris’ front McPherson strut suspension is a completely new design and features an optimized geometry to provide the best possible balance between steadiness and ride comfort. All of the components were designed using the latest technology in Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) analysis. This allowed Toyota engineers to further optimize the balance between component stiffness and lower weight.
On the rear suspension, Toyota engineers have introduced a brand new inverted-V design for the torsion beam. This includes a stabilizer function that eliminates the need for a dedicated stabilizer bar, which in turn further reduces weight and increases stiffness.
Concerning safety, Anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and, unusually in this segment, Brake Assist (BA) are standard equipment for all models. Disc diameter was increased and is now among the largest in the sector – 10.3 in at the front (ventilated) and 7.87 in drum at the rear. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC) will also be available across all power-trains. In selected models, the rear brake calipers are made of aluminum. In addition, the parking brake function is now incorporated in the rear discs. All of these actions allow for less unsprung weight. The brake booster is also new, featuring a bigger master cylinder (0.87 x 1.49 in). This in turn has improved the brake pedal feel, which is now more linear and incisive.
Front Ventilated disc
Front Diameter 10.03 inches
Rear Diameter 7.87 inches
ParkingCenter hand brake
The new Toyota Yaris uses the company’s latest-generation Electric Motor Power Steering (EMPS) – a system identical to the Avensis’. Firstly, EMPS ensures a smoother and linear steering experience on initial input. Secondly, steering power-assist has been optimized by improved ECU mapping. The structure and rigidity of the gear mount have also been strengthened. This effectively provides a more linear steering feel at all speeds.
Type Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Ratio (manual/power) 19.7:1
Turns (lock to lock) 3.02 turns
Turning circle 32.6 feet
Tires & wheels
Wheel size 14 inches
Tire Size P175/65 R14
The cockpit of the new Yaris was filled with elements that offer an emotional appearance but also have a coherent and functional purpose in mind. The vertically aligned centre console that culminates in the upper instrument cluster, offers a sense of proportion, simultaneously providing an individual touch to the dashboard. However, its vertical configuration provides supplementary space for the side pockets and additional legroom for the inhabitants.
The architecture of the cabin is brought to life by the implementation of light colors around the door armrest, pillars and headliner, named by the styling team as ‘loop style concept’. This offers an additional feel of spaciousness. A sustained effort was made to provide a feel of visual and tactile evenness around this area.
The upper dashboard is subjugated by clean surfaces and solid shapes, further reinforced by a flush constituent fitting (in some cases 30% better than in the old model), that hide the two upper glove-boxes (driver and passenger) and the passenger airbag cover. This area also features a new geometric grain pattern. Another particular touch is brought by the rear seat. Its design reunites a group of functionalities that are unique in this segment. Besides sliding and reclining independently for each side (on a 60/40 split), the Toyota Easy Flat allows the user to easily fold down the seat, delivering a fully flat cargo floor.
Other refinements have been fitted in order to confer a class-leading quality feel. Both upper glove-box lids and all assist grips are damped and there is a full color and illumination co-ordination on the centre console. The centre air registers also adopt fin-type shutters. The cabin of the new Yaris also presents considerably lower levels of noise and vibration than the outgoing model. This has been attained thanks to the application of several measures like, for instance, the adoption of double sealing for all side doors.
The final touch is given by a very important detail – the door closing sound – decisive from the very first contact with the new Yaris. The entire door structure has been reinforced so that it doesn’t resonate when closing and improved locks were also fitted. The result is a door closing sound that can compare with upper-segment cars.
Toyota’s own Easy Flat system ensures that full-flat folding is possible on the rear seats of the new Yaris – a unique feature in the segment, derived from Corolla Verso’s Toyota Easy Flat-7. The system allows the seat-folding operation to be accomplished 65% quicker than is possible in the current Yaris.
The Toyota Yaris trunk length has grown by 130 mm on the new Yaris to 535 mm. This adds a substantial amount of extra storage space in the boot area, ideal for carrying bigger items such as a baby buggy.
The new Toyota Yaris is available with the third generation of the Smart Entry & Start System. The latest evolution of this system has a lighter key, which is also 16% more compact. The cabin’s dome lamp will turn on as soon as it detects the presence of the key in the vicinity of the car. Additionally, the new Smart Entry & Start System doesn’t require a dashboard key slot. In case the key’s battery runs low, the driver only has to hold the key close to the start switch and press it afterwards to start the engine.
- Dual stage driver and front passenger advanced airbags
- Available front side airbags and side curtain airbags for both rows
- Child protector rear door locks
- Head-impact protection structure
- Three-point front seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters, ALR/ELR retractors on all
- passenger seatbelts, three-point rear seatbelts
- Available Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
- Daytime running lights (Liftback only)
- CRS top tether anchor brackets
TopSpeed artists tuning recommendation
We tried to underline even more the dynamic lines of the stock Yaris. In addition, as this is a budget model, we tried to keep all the upgrades as affordable as possible. The aerodynamic front spoiler and the side skirts are taken from the Yaris Sedan S, they are easy to fit and look great on the hatchback. An element that makes the car look even funkier is the “eye lids” that follow the bonnet line and cover the upper part of the front lights. The 16” wheels are the base model offered for the Toyota Celica , and they should be easy to attain. Set all of that together, and the little Yaris is now packed up with a lot more muscle and attitude.