2011 Toyota Yaris unveiling

2011 Toyota Yaris

New Yaris promises to continue the popular tradition of its predecessors when it goes on sale later this year

Japanese car maker Toyota has unveiled its new Yaris at the firm’s Valenciennes facility near Lille, France. The third generation car will hit the showrooms in September, and boasts a number of improvements over its predecessor.

With the B-sector accounting for approximately 40 per cent of sales in the European market, Toyota’s continued support of the Yaris brand is important to the firm’s bottom line.

As such, the company expects to sell 200,000 units in 2012, further underlining the car’s continued popularity despite increased competition from both European and Far Eastern manufacturers.

Styled to complement recent cars in Toyota’s range such as the Auris and Verso S, this latest Yaris is a little longer than before – 100mm, bringing its total length to 3.88m – yet is no wider. Even its height has been reduced slightly to lower its centre of gravity. The main beneficiary of the car’s extra length will be its occupants, as the car’s wheelbase has been extended by 50mm. Luggage space has also grown: 347 litres and 768 litres with the car’s rear seats up and folded respectively.

2011 Toyota YarisInside, overall cabin quality and ambience has been ramped up, with plenty of dark plastics and plush upholstery evident. The car’s trademark central instrument display has been replaced by a more conventional item located directly in front of the driver, however. By way of compensation, a new infotainment unit sits in the middle of the fascia.

Debuted on the Verso S, Toyota’s Touch and Go system offers an audio function along with Bluetooth telephone connectivity, USB port, reversing camera and touchscreen control. Upgrading to the sat-nav option results in Europe-wide navigation, speed and safety camera warnings plus access to Google’s Local Search to aid navigation and deliver weather and fuel price information.

Key to the appeal of the Yaris is its engine line-up. From launch the car will come with 1.0 and 1.33-litre petrol engines producing 68 and 98bhp respectively. There’s also a 1.4-litre, 89bhp diesel. With manual transmissions, CO2 is 111, 123 and 104g/km respectively. Toyota also announced fuel economy improvements with, for example, a four per cent lift for its 1.0-litre petrol unit resulting in 58.9mpg on the combined cycle. Diesel economy is up by seven per cent to 72.4mpg.

Once on sale the next big announcement regarding the Yaris will be the arrival of the hybrid variant, due in 2012. Boasting similar technology to the Auris and Prius models, company executives are already talking about emissions and economy figures the same or better than its existing petrol-electric models.

Available in four trim levels (T2, T3, T5, T Spirit) and in both three and five-door form, Toyota is pricing the Yaris from £11,170 for the entry-level 1.0 three-door model and to £15,385 for 1.33 T Spirit five-door model with continuously variable transmission (CVT). Generous levels of standard equipment are present across the range, with T3 and above models gaining the aforementioned Touch and Go system. An upgrade to full sat-nav functionality will be available for £500, although a free upgrade for a limited time is being offered to mark the car’s launch.

2011 Toyota YarisAt the unveiling Toyota executives routinely referenced the company’s ongoing quality drive though extended partnerships with its suppliers and the factory’s assembly processes. This was reinforced with reassurances that the company is back on track after Japan’s devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami earlier this year.

Speaking at the unveiling, Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe (TME), said that, despite the devastation to infrastructure and resources, production has recovered strongly to 100 per cent since June. Furthermore, Leroy said August will see the company catch up with delayed production targets, while the first six months of 2011 saw a 4.6 per cent rise in sales over the same period in 2010.

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