Top of the class

Top of the class

Toyota updates its Yaris ATIV eco sedan with a refined engine and new standard safety features

Toyota is raising the bar further in the eco car segment with the new Yaris ATIV sedan, which made its world premiere in Thailand last week.

There are four trim levels for the new Yaris ATIV depending on equipment level: Sport (539,000 baht), Smart (584,000 baht), Premium (659,000 baht) and Premium Luxury (689,000 baht).

Toyota plans to sell up to 3,500 units of the Yaris ATIV monthly -- it had invested over 5 billion baht for the project at its Gateway plant and will export the new model to over 35 emerging markets around the world.

While the first-gen Yaris ATIV launched in 2017 has become the best-selling eco sedan in Thailand with an accumulated sales of 133,000 units, Toyota hopes to maintain its leadership in this market segment with the second-gen model. The new Yaris ATIV is larger than its predecessor and will replace the 1.5-litre Vios, as Toyota decided to discontinue this model due to difficulty in meeting strict Euro 5 emission standards.

The Yaris ATIV is powered by a re-tuned 1.2-litre engine carried over from the previous generation that now produces 94hp and 110Nm, with an average fuel economy of 23.3kpl. According to sources, a turbocharged 1.2-litre engine as well as a hybrid powertrain will be offered in Thailand.

Apart from the engine, everything else in the Yaris ATIV is new. Toyota says the car is built on a newly developed platform and gets a new CVT with sequential shift and eco/normal/sport modes, along with a long list of new features. Toyota says the new gearbox and updated engine offer responsiveness for city driving with more agility.

The suspension setup features McPherson struts in the front and rear torsion beam, with stabilisers in the front and rear. Disc brakes offer improved stopping performance over the previous generation.

The exterior design is one of the highlights in the Yaris, which now takes on a fastback styling (a hatchback variant will be coming as well), allowing for a Cd value of 0.284. Being a replacement for the Vios, the exterior dimensions have also grown, with the new car running on a longer wheelbase and wider tracks.

Hideyuki Kamino, the Yaris's chief engineer, said that as an entry-level car, being easy to drive is a "must" for the Yaris ATIV.

"The newly developed platform provides an easy to drive experience by upgrading the basic performance, providing an outstanding field of view, and enhancing turning and manoeuvring in small spaces. In the rear seat area, we have focused on providing a roomy and relaxing space and generously sized seats to accommodate precious people including parents and friends. A lightweight new platform provides a light and linear steering feel and comfortable flat ride. I can say that the new Yaris ATIV has top-class basic performance in the ECO segment."

The redesigned interior comes with a 7-inch digital dashboard as well as 64-colour ambient lighting. All variants come with LED headlights and tail lights, smart entry and 16in alloy wheels. There are soft-touch materials (including a classy red leather interior for the Premium Luxury) and electronic parking brake with auto brake hold.

The 8-inch touchscreen in the Sport model is upgraded to 9-inch in the upper three variants which come with interesting features such as front recording camera, 360-degree camera, automatic climate control, rear aircon vents and four USB ports, as well as Pioneer speakers.

The Yaris ATIV is available with Toyota's T-Connect infotainment and Toyota Safety Sense package (Smart trim and above) consisting of pre-collision system, automatic high beam, lane departure and front departure alert, and adaptive cruise control.

The new Toyota Yaris ATIV sedan. Toyota

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