By Mike Torpey on 2017-11-04 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Toyota Yaris 1.5
IT'S the mid-life facelift that's a lot more than just a simple revamp - a helluva a lot more.
Determined to attract a fresh wave of buyers to its Yaris small hatchback, Toyota embarked on a £76 million programme that heralded the introduction of over 900 new parts.
Such was the success of the improvements, led by the brand's European design team, that they were immediately adopted for the sister Vitz model, built in Japan.
The result is a Yaris that really looks the part, a genuinely classy looking vehicle with an interior to match.
Two key features of the latest Yaris are a new 1.5-litre VVT-iE petrol engine and a UK line-up that includes a fresh trim grade called Bi-tone, both of which were included on the tested model.
The powerplant is not only designed to meet more stringent Euro 6c emissions standards but also improve fuel economy.
To that end it delivers 10 per cent more punch and torque than the previous 1.33-litre unit but also posts a fuel economy improvement of almost 12 per cent.
In real-world driving terms you're looking at an average fuel return of near 52 miles per gallon, compared to an official combined figure of 58.9mpg.
As for the driving experience it's not the quickest off the mark, as a 0-62mph acceleration time of 11.0 seconds would indicate.
However when it comes to overtaking in fifth gear, moving from 50 to 75mph, the difference is noticeable - and more relaxed.
But the most striking aspect of the new Yaris, visually at least, is the Bi-tone trim grade which targets younger more style-conscious buyers with its contrasting exterior paint jobs.
So the four colour choices - Nebula Blue, Tokyo Red, Glacier Pearl White and Platinum Bronze - are matched with a black finish for the roof and pillars.
The effect is striking and extends to the cabin where there are matching trims for the dashboard and door panels while the upholstery reflects the Bi-tone colour.
All Yaris models are five-door and include Toyota Safety Sense, equipping the car with a pre-collision system, lane departure alert and automatic high beam plus rain-sensing wipers, power front windows, Bluetooth and a six-speaker audio set-up.
Kit increases as you move up the six trim levels and Bi-tone, which sits just below the flagship Excel grade, boasts features like 16-inch alloy wheels, a honeycomb mesh grille, rear spoiler, piano black side mouldings and LED daytime running lights.
Toyota Yaris 1.5 Bi-tone
Mechanical: 110bhp, 1,496cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 11.0 seconds
Combined MPG: 5.9
Insurance Group: 10
C02 emissions: 109g/km
Bik rating: 20%
Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles
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