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Major facelift for Toyota Yaris revealed, Hybrid power for lithium-ion batteries

Details of the Toyota Yaris facelift have been released in Europe and are expected to go on sale in the second half of next year. In addition to the introduction of the new TNGA GA-B modular chassis, the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine of the Euro model is powered by Toyota’s latest fourth-generation hybrid powertrain, and the high quality interior and new driver safety technologies such as Active Cruise Control are some of the notable highlights of this facelift.

Styling

The revised Yaris is slightly shorter than its predecessor by 5 mm and the wheelbase has been extended by 50 mm, in the hope of maintaining driving agility and parking convenience, while retaining ample cabin space and comfort. The introduction of the new GA-B chassis structure has also lowered the height of the car by 40mm, which the original manufacturer claimed would result in less headroom due to the lowering of the front seats at the same time, and with the 50mm increase in width, the interior is significantly more spacious than its predecessor.

The car’s muscular appearance is reinforced by the significantly swollen wheel arches and side lines, and the sculpted doors and front and rear deflectors show off the car’s agile character. The headlamps feature new LED technology, which alternately integrates the daytime running lights and the directional lights, while the large water tank cover and fog lamp holders characteristic of the European model also reinforce its lively character.

Interior design

The interior follows the traditional layout of the centre console and gearbox, but the instrument panel is thinner and lower, the centre console is wider and higher, and the steering wheel is smaller. For the first time, the interior has been fitted with high-grade trim and soft surfaces are used to get rid of the cheap look. All vehicle information is conveyed to the driver via the central touchscreen, the in-dash multifunction display and the 10″ head-up display. The more important vehicle and warning information (e.g. navigation alerts, speed alerts, etc.) is also displayed simultaneously in the HUD.

The new Yaris also introduces convenient technology such as wireless charging and offers options such as a heated steering wheel and colour-changing mood lighting. Dual digital displays are used on both sides of the instrument to display vehicle information.

Chassis structure

The GA-B platform, introduced with the Yaris facelift, is the first TNGA chassis architecture to be applied to a small car. The steering wheel has been brought closer to the driver’s seat and the tilt angle has been increased by 6 degrees.

Better body weighting also helps to reduce cornering roll and improve efficiency and stability when braking. The suspension structure of the front MacPherson and rear torsion beams has also been improved, including softer springs and reduced friction in the shock absorbers, while the rear rolling stiffness has been increased from 320 Nm/ deg to 580 Nm/ deg.

Powertrain

The overhauled Yaris is the first B-segment compact car to feature Toyota’s fourth-generation hybrid powertrain. It is powered by an Atkinson-cycle 1.5-litre Dynamic Force petrol engine with variable valve timing, which Toyota claims is the fastest-burning engine in the world, with a thermal efficiency of 40%, higher than that of a typical diesel engine. As a result, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are 20% lower than before, while output power is 15% higher.

The new complex powertrain is more compact and is powered by a new Hybrid lithium-ion battery, which is 27% lighter and more powerful than a nickel-metal hydride battery. The first European launches will be for the Hybrid model only, but the 1.5-litre and 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engines will also be available in some markets, although more details on power are yet to be announced.

Safety features

The new Yaris is equipped with a number of advanced driver assistance systems, including the same all-speed intelligent active cruise control and lane guidance assistance as the (Euro) Corolla, all of which are standard on the Euro Yaris. In anticipation of the stringent new crash tests to be implemented in 2020, the Yaris also introduces a central airbag for enhanced protection in the event of a side impact. As for other more detailed active and passive safety features, not much information has been made public at this stage.

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