These are the first official images of Toyota’s next-gen Yaris — or Vitz, as it’s known in the Japanese manufacturer’s home market.
The new Yaris was previewed in Japan just before Christmas but it won’t reach the UK until September, after a mid-summer launch in mainland Europe.
The new Yaris is 100mm longer than the current car, with an extra 50mm in its wheelbase. It’s the same width, at 1695mm, but 20mm lower, at 1500mm, and 30kg lighter, at 1000kg. Rear passengers get an extra 35mm of legroom.
The first two generations of the Yaris have traditionally attracted female buyers, but the new one will target a different market. “This car gets a sportier body with stronger street presence,” chief engineer Hirofumi Yamamoto told Autocar, “so we expect a larger proportion of male buyers this time.”The revised styling features protruding headlights, edgier side profile and pronounced bumpers that echo the look of the Prius.
The cabin gets improved materials and more effective noise and vibration insulation. The list of safety kit includes traction and stability control systems, ABS and Brake Assist.
The new model will feature two petrol motors: a 1.0 with 68bhp and 68lb ft, and a 1.33 with 93bhp and 89lb ft. The larger engine will also be offered with start-stop functionality, improving its fuel economy to a claimed 75mpg. Japanese models get a CVT gearbox, but a five-speed manual will be standard in Europe. A diesel variant and a hybrid Yaris will be offered in 2012.
The Japanese line-up includes an RS model. It offers a 107bhp 1.5-litre powerplant, 16in alloy wheels, a modified bumper, a small rear diffuser and a choice of a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT with a seven-speed sequential shift. It’s not expected to reach Europe, although market conditions could yet persuade Toyota to sell this variant in the UK later in its lifecycle.