Toyota has revealed the all-new Yaris, its compact supermini that rivals the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta. Despite the recent Yaris’s brilliantly unexpected GRMN model, it has classically been a bit of a deadbeat supermini to drive, but this is something Toyota is hoping to change in confirming a new focus on driving pleasure.
As it stands, the new Yaris has been redesigned from the ground up with a smaller and lower body that takes advantage of Toyota’s catalogue of modular TNGA components from elsewhere in the range. Despite the shrunken exterior dimensions in comparison to before, Toyota has pushed each of the four wheels right to the edge of the body, increasing the wheelbase by a substantial 50mm and leading to its almost Smart car-like profile.
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As well as improving interior space, the extended wheelbase has also given engineers a more solid foundation to work on for both the proposed Gazoo Racing models and future World Rally Championship car it’ll soon reveal. The underlying ingredients are somewhat more predictable though, with a combination of MacPherson strut front and a torsion bar rear suspension layout.
Toyota even confirmed it will reveal a homologation model with elements designed specifically to benefit the WRC car, such as revised suspension pick-up points, reformed aero and even new lightweight material uses in specific areas of the chassis. In order to comply with the regulations, Toyota will need to produce upwards of 25,000 units, meaning it won’t be a GRMN-style limited-run special either.
For now though, the Yaris will initially arrive as a somewhat more sensible supermini initially available in the UK with a three-cylinder hybridised petrol engine and CVT transmission. Other markets will also offer standard non-hybrid versions of the three-cylinder petrol engine, as well as optional all-wheel drive and manual transmissions, although final UK specifications will be finalised closer to its release next year.
The new Yaris’s emphasis on driving dynamics has also extended into its cabin, with a new driver seat placement in the chassis that’s further back and lower down than in the previous somewhat MPV-like model. The dash is also new with a lower scuttle and new digital interfaces. The cabin might lack the originality of a Peugeot 208’s, or the plushness of the Renault Clio’s, but it’s a vast improvement on the previous model and will incorporate some impressive tech such as a large colour head-up display.
A three-cylinder hybrid supermini might not usually peak our interest, but thanks to Toyota’s recently renewed focus on driving dynamics, the effort made to make the new Yaris lower, stiffer and wider will only mean good things for the incoming hot variants. If the new Corolla and it’s surprisingly capable chassis is anything to go by, this new Yaris might actually be one worth getting excited about.