12:07pm Friday 27th January 2012
By David Duffy
A car's name can easily lead to some preconceived notions about its character.
Say Toyota Yaris, a car that has been around for 13 years, and you think natty, nippy city car with cute, clever and cuddly styling.
But don’t be fooled. The 2012 third-generation Yaris is a sharper, edgier and altogether more grown-up car.
The SR specification test model bristled with macho detailing, from 16in alloy wheels, rear roof spoiler and sports suspension to part-leather upholstery, darkened headlamp covers and rear privacy glass.
The overtly feminine styling of the earlier models has been replaced by a longer, lower, more masculine look.
Drop into the driver’s seat and the cabin that surrounds you is an extremely classy place.
Instrumentation has been repositioned from the centre of the console to behind the steering wheel, with the large central speedometer flanked by rev counter and fuel gauge backlit in red.
Driver’s instruments, multimedia touchscreen and air vents are trimmed in a gun metal finish, while the controls and switchgear have chrome-plated detailing. The three-spoke steering wheel – trimmed with perforated leather on all bar the entry level model – has a more comfortable grip and a flat bottom section.
The front seats have better body-holding performance and comfort, with wider seat cushions and higher side sections.
While comfort is a priority, even more emphasis has been placed on making the new Yaris a safe place, with seven airbags fitted as standard, along with front seats that use a system to reduce whiplash injuries As standard, all versions of the new Yaris are equipped with safety systems that include anti-lock brakes,vehicle stability control and traction control. Engine choice remains as before, with 1.0 and 1.33-litre petrol units and a 1.4-litre D-4D turbodiesel.
The French-built car is as roomy, versatile and easy-to-drive as previous models, but has had an upgrade in technology, with all models, apart from the entry-level version, fitted with the Toyota Touch system, featuring a full-colour touchscreen for audio, telephone and Bluetooth controls.
An upgrade to Toyota Touch and Go delivers a six-speaker audio system, satnav with speed camera alerts, Bluetooth for hands-free phone operation and audio streaming, automatic phonebook download, USB port for MP3 player/iPod, six-inch touchscreen and a rear-view camera.
My 17-year-old niece recently bought an eight-year-old Yaris as her first car and is absolutely delighted with it. Future generations who eventually get to drive the 2012 model will be equally pleased.
Auto facts Toyota Yaris NG SR 1.33 CVT
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