AGAINST a backdrop of street culture pomp, thumping music, dazzling lights and song-and-dance cheese, all of which supposedly evoked the energy and vibe of New York’s Times Square, the new Toyota Yaris was launched in the Philippines. And not without a fashion show preceding the unveil, too.
The message is clear; Toyota Motor Phils. (TMP) pitches its latest model as a, well, ramp model that should appeal to the young and stylish.
TMP President Michinobu Sugata said the new Yaris will “further stir waku-doki in the automotive industry,” referring to Toyota’s term for “heart-racing fun.”
“This makes me quite eager because it has an extra stylish appearance that will definitely make people stop and stare. It is fashion-forward, sleek and indulgently good-looking,” Sugata said in introducing the car.
The new Yaris follows the arrival of Toyota’s 11th-gen Corolla Altis (launched in January), the locally manufactured Innova, and the Wigo, the Yaris’s smaller hatchback cousin. Both models were introduced in February.
Now on its third generation, the latest Yaris continues the nameplate that first appeared in the Philippines in 2006. Preceding both generations of the Yaris was the Echo, launched locally in 2000, and which was also called the Yaris in other markets. In all three generations, the model was—and still is—the more dynamic spinoff of the Toyota Vios. (The present European rendition of the Yaris is completely unrelated to the new model launched here, which is intended for Asean and China.)
“Following our new design language in a more modern guise, the new Yaris is every inch dashing. We have personally made this vehicle relevant to the stylish and youthful consumer in mirroring their lifestyle,” Sugata said.
The latest Yaris carries over Toyota’s 1NZ-FE 1.5-liter engine—the same one found under the hood of the second-gen model. With the carmaker’s VVT-i variable valve timing system, this four-cylinder, 16-valve, twin cam engine makes 106hp at 6,000rpm and 141Nm at 4,200rpm. A four-speed automatic transmission sends this power to one of the car’s front wheels.
Unlike in the previous-gen Yaris, the new one is offered with a 1.3-liter engine option—Toyota’s 2NZ-FE, which powered the Echo. Also equipped with VVT-i and 16 valves managed by two cams, the smaller engine is rated at 84hp at 6,000rpm and 121Nm at 4,400rpm. A five-speed manual transmission is an added choice for the 1.3-liter mill.
The latest Yaris has become an even more roomy car, all because of its taller, wider and longer dimensions, as well as a wheelbase that was marginally stretched to 2,550 millimeters. Offered in three variants, the car packs identical mechanical components—MacPherson struts and torsion beam suspension, disc/drum brakes combo, 15-inch alloy wheels shod with 185/60 tires, electric power assist steering, ABS with EBD and brake assist—as well as cabin appointments like fabric seats, a 60/40 split backseat, a multi-information display, a four-speaker audio with USB port and auxiliary jack, and manual air-conditioning, among others.
The top 1.5 G variant, offered solely with the bigger engine and an automatic gearbox, can easily be identified by its silver colored trim in front (the 1.3-liter ones come with black trim), fog lamps and projector headlights. Inside, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift, and audio controls on the steering wheel set the 1.5 G apart from the 1.3 E pair.
TMP prices the 1.3 E with manual transmission at P720,000; the 1.3 E with automatic transmission at P755,000; and the 1.5 G at P845,000. Color choices are Freedom White, Thermalyte, Frozen Blue Mica Metallic, Grey Metallic, Attitude Black, Red Mica Metallic and the signature Orange Mica Metallic.
WITH A REPORT FROM RUBEN D. MANAHAN 4TH