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After breaking cover at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, the new Toyota Yaris is now on sale in South Africa in a revised range that offers customers much greater choice and improved equipment specifications across the board.

Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has badged the updated Yaris as Pulse across the range. Customers have a choice of three unicolour tones Рincluding Glacier White, Satin Silver Metallic and Cosmic Blue Рor Bi-tones (paired with black roofs), including Pearl White 2-Tone, Grey 2-Tone and Cinnabar Red 2-Tone.

Increased customer choice extends to a new 1.5-litre petrol engine, which delivers 12% more power and torque than the previous 1.3-litre engine, yet also posts an improvement of up to 12% in fuel economy.

Where the hybrid model is concerned, engineers have focused on achieving an even quieter ride, particularly under acceleration, introducing a raft of measures including new engine mounts, roll restrictor, front driveshafts and subframe. The design of the new engine mounts and adjustments to the shock absorbers and electric power steering have also improved the hybrid’s ride comfort and steering accuracy.

Exterior Design

The redesign of the front of the car features a new front bumper that creates a “catamaran” shape with broad sections flowing down from new headlight units, flanking the wide, trapezoidal grille. The result is a more pronounced three-dimensional effect, and the sense of a wider, more planted road stance. A simplified design in the area around the central Toyota emblem adds to the overall dynamic impact.

The grille itself benefits from new treatments that contribute to the Yaris Pulse’s more resolute look, with an arrangement of “stepped” horizontal bars that deliver a more eye-catching, 3D effect. The integrated fog light housings either side of the grille have also been reworked with a more compact recess and a vertical line that arcs smoothly to follow the outer edge of the bumper – featuring a bright chrome trim detail on higher grade models.

The new headlamp units further develop the qualities of the frontal design, producing a new lighting signature that expresses confidence and individuality. The most striking detail is around the main lamp, where a distinctive forked pattern is created using slim chrome trim bars within the unit.

Revised rear design with new tailgate, bumper and lamp clusters

At the rear the added sense of refinement and the appearance of a broader stance is created by a new tailgate design that extends the horizontal emphasis with new rear light clusters that stretch from the rear wings to the door.

Following the same concept as the new frontal design, a “catamaran” architecture has also been created at the rear with a new bumper design that harmonises perfectly with the lines of the tailgate, projecting a low centre of gravity and wide on-road stance.

The powerful quality of this design is supported by re-shaping the area framing the licence plate and the addition of black garnish details in the lower bumper, edged with a reflector and finished with a pattern of horizontal lines.

Interior design

The focus for changes to Yaris Pulse’s interior has been to keep the look and ambience of the cabin feeling fresh and modern, introducing new upholsteries, colours and trim details and upgrading the instrumentation and controls to ensure excellent ergonomics.

Changes to the interior promote a more modern feel, in particular with new colours, trims and improvements to the instruments and controls. Interior trim is a fashionable black and light grey on all models with the exception of the generously specced Yaris Pulse Plus CVT, which features a black trim.

The three-spoke steering wheel has a new look and boasts the addition of piano black trim inserts. A new chrome trim frames the combimeter, adding to the more refined effect.

Other detail changes include new propeller-style air vents, seamless execution of the multimedia screen and controls in the centre console, including new switches that are both neater in appearance and easier to operate.

Dynamic performance

Under the bonnet of the Yaris Pulse, resides a new 1.5-litre petrol engine with VVT-iE, offering more torque and power but higher efficiency and lower emissions than previous 1.3-litre unit. This powerplant is mated to a six-speed manual transmission or CVT (7 simulated gears with steering paddle shift), which helps to improve the fuel economy by up to 12%.

Compared to the 1.3-litre unit, it is 0.8 seconds quicker in acceleration from 0-100km (11 seconds in the 1.5 MT and 11.2 seconds in the CVT) while at overtaking speed in fifth gear the improvement is more than a second.

A testament to what Toyota can do to a naturally aspirated engine to make it more fuel-efficient, is imbue it with a high thermal efficiency value: 38,5%. In addition, the new 1.5-litre engine is now also part of the ESTEC (Economy with Superior Thermal Efficient Combustion) engine family. It runs on a high compression ratio (13.5) and a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system.

Last but certainly not least, the 2017 Yaris 1.5 benefits from something called VVT-iE, with iE standing for “Intelligent System Electric motor.” This allows the phase shift of the intake camshaft to be controlled electrically, whereas the phase shift of the exhaust camshaft is hydraulic.

Yaris Pulse remains the only local car in its segment available with hybrid power. Toyota has taken extra measures with the new model to improve the hybrid driving experience, introducing a new subframe, engine mounts, front driveshafts and roll restrictor that make it even quieter and smoother, particularly under acceleration.

The choice of powertrains is completed by the established 1.0-litre VVT-i three-cylinder petrol engine with five-speed manual transmission.

All models of the Yaris comes with a three year or 45 000 km service plan and a three year or 100 000 km warranty. Pricing for the range is as follows:

  • 1.0 Pulse MT: R199 000
  • 1.5 Pulse MT: R228 700
  • 1.5 Pulse CVT: R241 400
  • 1.5 Pulse Plus CVT: R249 600
  • Hybrid: R307 200

In other motoring related news, GWM’s Haval recently landed in the local motoring market.

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