THE £76 million Toyota recently splashed out revamping the Yaris looks money well spent as the new Bi-tone model hits the right note with an eye-catching exterior and modern interior.
The supermini has come a long way from the original launched in 1999 and is now a stylish, modern motor with bundles of appeal for young and old alike.
Toyota has resisted the urge to bulk up the Yaris, unlike some competitors, and this gives it two advantages.
Firstly, it is nippy and fun to drive thanks to a lack of unnecessary flab and second it is easy to slot into those tight city centre parking spaces.
Built in France since 2001, refinement is a given as the cabin has received a thorough reboot with efficient sound-proofing and anything resembling cheap, shiny plastics removed. There is also a marked step up in the amount of kit provided.
All versions of the Yaris include Toyota Safety Sense which boasts natty features to keep you out of trouble - although the warning beeps from the lane departure alert are a little quick to deploy so can be a bit annoying - as well as power front windows, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth and an audio system with six speakers.
There are six trims available with all being family-friendly five-door models. The £17,595 range-topping Bi-tone version sports a seven-inch touchscreen that dominates the dashboard. The Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system features a simple to use sat nav that is easy on the eye as well as housing controls for the air con and social media apps.
Thanks to its upright stance the Yaris offers a surprising amount of space for all occupants and their luggage while three adults can be accommodated in rear of this supermini without risking crush injuries. A decent driving position is a cinch to sort out and there are plenty of cup holders and cubby holes for your nik-naks.
It is clearly aimed at capturing the youth vote as it is a fashion conscious individual with an exterior boasting LED daytime running lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, piano black side mouldings and a honeycombe grille. There is also a distinctive ‘X' that runs from the bumpers through the Toyota badge to the headlights.
Sharp angles and sleek design are complemented by contrasting paint jobs with four choices available for the Bi tone including Nebula Blue, Tokyo Red, Glacier Pearl White and Platinum Bronze. These are partnered by a black finish for the pillars and roof.
It makes an instant impression and is mirrored inside by matching trims for the door panels and dashboard while the seat upholstery mirrors the Bi-tone shade.
Under the bonnet lurks Toyota's latest 1.5-litre petrol powerplant - aided and abetted by a six-speed manaual gearbox - which is nippy without setting anyone's hair on fire. It is reasonably efficient with a claimed fuel economy figure of 58.9mpg which in the real world comes in at around 50, while carbon dioxide emissions are 112g/km. There's also a three-cylinder petrol 1.0-litre model and a hybrid version.
The Yaris offers an engaging drive with good levels of grip and decent handling characteristics while the new suspension handles most of the humps and hollows put in its path.