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One of the most popular small cars in Ireland is the Toyota Yaris and now we have the fourth generation series which has been designed and developed for European customers and has been engineered to be the safest compact car with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.

With 114bhp, courtesy of the new hybrid system, fuel economy and emissions benefit and overall efficiency has increased by 22 per cent. Typically, this  would be at the cost of performance but power is 16 per cent higher with a 15 per cent improvement in 0- 100kph (62mph) acceleration in 9.7 seconds, and sharper response to the driver’s use of the accelerator. The new hybrid electric powertrain greatly enhances capability to operate on its electric power alone, at higher speeds and over longer distances. In fact, on urban journeys, new Yaris can operate for a significant amount of the time with zero emissions, just like a battery electric vehicle, but with no concerns about recharging. This is relevant as many motorists I have spoken to are not at all keen on a purely electric driven car. The Yaris is agile in town, reflected in its compact proportions and tight turning radius, while at the same time providing a spacious, comfortable and high-quality interior with equipment specifications that meet all today’s customer priorities for connectivity and seamless access to information.

The key to Toyota meeting its ambitions for the new model is its first application of the Toyota New Global Architecture, TNGA to a small car, introducing the modular GA-B platform that will underpin a series of new models. This platform is central to Yaris’ improved dynamic performance, giving a lower centre of gravity and much greater body rigidity. It also enabled the designers to create a more distinctive and powerful-looking car with an appealing and individual identity. The functionality of the Pre-Collision System has been increased so that it can detect pedestrians by day and night and cyclists in daytime driving and the new model also offers segment first Intersection Turn Assistance to recognise collision risks with oncoming traffic and pedestrians when making a turn at a junction, and it is the first Toyota to be equipped with centre airbags. These help prevent driver and passenger colliding with each other in a side impact. The new model is actually shorter than the current model and although overall length has decreased to less than four metres, the wheelbase has been extended by 50mm, giving extra cabin space. The GA-B platform has allowed the overall height to come down by 40mm, while an increase in the vehicle’s width by 50mm and an extra 57mm in the track add to the car’s overall low, wide and powerful stance. The overhangs have been reduced with 10mm taken from the front and 50mm from the rear, further accentuating the overall compact dimensions and giving a tight 5.2m turning radius (with 16-inch wheels), ideal for negotiating urban streets and parking spaces.

The new platform also gave the designers more freedom to produce an eye-catching, impactful design and emphasise Toyota’s individual design identity compared to its market rivals. The frontal design is focused on the large grille and central Toyota emblem and the designers have added to the dynamic look by pulling the base of the A-pillar rearwards (which also improves the driver’s forward view) and increasing the bonnet length. The new light units (Design grade and above) feature LED technology and include turn indicators that alternate with the daytime running lights. The headlights extend towards the front wheels in a strong styling feature that also reduces the perceived length of the front overhang and the wheels are available in 16 and 17-inch diameter, according to model grade. The interior reflects an overall less is more concept, a sharply designed space that has the solid and high sensory quality and spacious feel of a car from a class above. For the driver’s cockpit, the concept is eyes on the road, hands on the wheel with the arrangement of displays and controls organised to ensure the driver can focus on the road and keep informed of key vehicle data with the least distraction, and excellent all-round visibility.

Depending on the market, in the Republic of Ireland Luna and Luna Sport while in Northern Ireland four equipment grades, Icon, Design, Dynamic and Excel and special high-specification launch Edition model give customers maximum choice for the best equipped Yaris to date with such features as Toyota Safety Sense, auto headlights, electronic parking brake and smartphone integration.

Ian Lynas


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