Toyota claims the cabin follows its principle of ‘hands on the wheel, eyes on the road’, with a minimalist dashboard and infotainment screen mounted within the driver’s eyeline, alongside ‘binocular-style’ instruments. The driving position has been improved, with a hip point 3.6cm lower than the old car and greater seat and wheel adjustment for a less upright seating point.
It’s the first car in its class to feature a centrally mounted airbag system between the driver and passenger, while a comprehensive suite of driver aids is standard.
The European Yaris will be available with three petrol engines, all with three cylinders. A base 1.0-litre will be offered with a five-speed manual gearbox, while a 1.5 will come with a six-speed manual or CVT automatic option. The UK will take the two 1.5s initially, with the 1.0-litre likely at a later date. The hybrid, set to account for more than 80% of sales, uses the 1.5-litre unit mated to a 79bhp, 103lb ft electric motor and an air-cooled lithium ion battery. That battery is 27% lighter than the nickel metal hydride pack it replaces, yet is capable of delivering more power at a faster rate than the old item.
Together with a new transaxle and more efficient motor, Toyota claims the powertrain is 15% more powerful than before yet produces around 20% less CO2. Power, torque and efficiency figures have yet to be released, however. What has been confirmed is that the Yaris hybrid can switch to electric-only mode at speeds of up to 80mph – far higher than previously. The engine itself runs on the Atkinson cycle for greater efficiency, has variable valve timing, has a thermal efficiency figure of 40% and runs at a diesel-like 14:1 compression ratio.
Toyota says the new GA-B platform, related to that of the Corolla and C-HR, offers best-in-class structural rigidity at 40% more than the Mk3 Yaris, thanks to the use of high-tensile steel. Despite this, and the hybrid tech developments, engineers told Autocar that the new Yaris will be around 20kg lighter than the old car, spec for spec. The platform’s lower centre of gravity, combined with the wider track and a stiffer rear torsion beam with softer spring rates, are said to improve both ride quality and handling composure.