The same can be said of the interior, the changes to which have gone well beyond the realms of a usual facelift. Almost the entire dashboard has been overhauled, and it now looks more premium than before. Upping the fit and finish has worked wonders, too, especially with a soft-touch strip running the length of the fascia.
There are still some rough edges and hard plastics elsewhere - and, if anything, they're highlighted in contrast to the new furnishings. For the most part, though, the Yaris' cabin remains one of its strongest selling points.
It's relatively spacious up front, too, and adults will be comfortable on the back bench for short journeys. Boot space is unchanged over the outgoing model, meaning there's 286 litres of space available with the rear seats in place. They do also fold forwards - but not flat - to create a decent 768-litre loading bay.
Our 1.33-litre model, in mid-level Icon specification, is expected to be the biggest seller in the range. While it's undoubtedly the pick of the range, sitting alongside 1.0-litre petrol, 1.4-litre diesel and 1.5-litre hybrid options, it's still a little unrefined for our liking.
Progress from a standing start is slow, and reaching 62mph takes 11.7 seconds - slower than the 1.0-litre Ford Fiesta EcoBoost.
The engine is also noisy under load, which is a shame because this unit needs to be worked hard to perform at its best. There's little vibration intrusion into the cabin, but noise can become an issue when cruising at motorway speeds.
Speaking of noise, Toyota has worked hard to quieten the cabin, with a re-engineered dashboard silencer and upgraded carpetting among the new additions to the car. Mostly it's been successful and it's only at speed when wind noise – particularly from around the side mirrors – finds its way inside.
We tested a version with a six-speed manual transmission. It's serviceable, but out of town the urban-biased gearing can become an issue. Be ready for cruising at 70mph to sit you at around 3000rpm, for example. An automated manual is also available, should you require it.
Things are better on the economy and efficiency front, with CO2 emissions rated at 114g/km and a claimed average of 57.6mpg.
The updated car has a significantly re-worked suspension setup, with a stiffer torsion beam at the rear and softer springs up front aiming to improve the ride and handling.
It's again only partly successful, because while the ride is undoubtedly improved over the old car it now feels unsettled over rough surfaces, especially at the rear.
Steering remains light and well weighted at speed, but as with most electric systems there's no feeling through the wheel - arguably not a big miss considering the Yaris' core market. There's more than the fair share of body roll through corner, too.