What's all this about?
Toyota was trumpeting the Yaris supermini at the Geneva Motor Show, as the B-segment hatch has been on the receiving end of around £78 million of investment. That's all well and good, and we'll come onto the regular range in a moment, but we've got a bit more detail on the Yaris that matters the most to us, the 1.8-litre, supercharged GRMN hot version.
Have we finally got the full technical run-down, then?
Er... no. We're still working on a power figure that is 'more than 210hp', which is the line Toyota has been trotting out ever since this car first came to light. However, we now know the following: this Ford Fiesta ST rival will have a Torsen mechanical limited-slip diff on its front axle, which is a feature found on the sublime 208 GTi by Peugeot Sport and the not-quite-so-sublime-but-still-good Vauxhall Corsa VXR PP; its suspension is toughened up, courtesy of Sachs-developed dampers, shorter springs and a fatter front anti-roll bar; 17-inch BBS alloys reside in its wheel arches; there's a stubby little roof spoiler jutting out from the top of the boot; all GRMNs will be three-door cars and no five-door version is forthcoming; and inside are a set of sports seats and a steering wheel from the GT86. That's an interesting car to mention, actually.
What, the GT86?
Yes, because the man now in charge of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Development Division is Tetsuya Tada, the very guy who led the development of Toyota's best-driving current model, the GT86. So the Yaris should be a little cracker, if it follows the dynamic lead of the coupe (albeit, the GRMN - it stands for Gazoo Racing Masters of Nürburgring, in case you're wondering - is front-wheel drive while the GT86 sends power to the rear).
Have any performance stats or prices been announced?
Nothing set in stone yet, although a 0-62mph time of around six seconds has been mooted - that's considerably quicker than the 200hp three-pot Fiesta ST (6.7 seconds) announced by Ford just prior to the Geneva showpiece. It's also expected that cars will go on sale here in the UK in summer, ahead of first deliveries later this year, and the price is likely to be in excess of £20,000.
OK, what about the regular Yaris range?
It's had its second facelift in its seven-year-long production life so far. The Japanese supermini got the phizog of an Aygo and supposedly better interior materials in 2014. Now it's on the receiving end of another new mug and supposedly better interior materials for update v2.0.
And so what are the key points?
The front-end styling is a little neater, with a large trapezoidal grille and sleeker headlamp units, but the basic architecture of the 2014 update remains. At the back, much wider, two-piece light clusters now bleed into the rear hatch, while along the side of the car is a lower-door trim to break up the flanks. Three new designs of wheel are offered, two in 15-inch diameter (one is a wheel trim, one is an alloy), while there's a larger 16-inch alloy rim as well. Inside are blue-backlit instruments, new upholsteries and dash trims, fresh switchgear and a revised infotainment screen on the models equipped with such technology. All of the above is the result of a huge investment programme and the addition of 'more than 900' new parts for the Yaris.
So are all the engines the same as before?
Almost, yes - the Hybrid model still continues, for example. But the old 1.33-litre VVT-i four-pot, rated at 99hp and 125Nm, has been replaced by a newly developed 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit with 111hp and 136Nm; that's enough to take 0.8 seconds off the 1.33's 0-62mph time, the 1.5 capable of completing the sprint in 11 seconds flat.
Matt Robinson - 7 Mar 2017