Buyers' advice, Motoring News, new models, toyota

2018 Toyota Yaris: High-tech goodies, fun for faster drivers

  • Five models, but only one engine – a 1.5
  • Manual or constantly variable transmission
  • Sport model with a whole raft of goodies
2018 TOYOTA YARIS: Image: Toyota SA / Motorpress
2018 TOYOTA YARIS: Image: Toyota SA / Motorpress

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – The first Yaris was launched in South Africa in 2005, has been updated four times, and now comes version Number 5. Toyota SA says its ”bigger and better” so follows the growth trend while still claiming to be a ”compact” hatchback.

Yaris 5 is 16.5cm longer but only a miserly half-centimetre wider. Contradictorially, the shell is 4.5cm less tall. It also follows many style changes made by other brands: headlights that flow backwards (but with identifying black ‘fins’ each side of the bonnet badge) and with chromed inner ”accents”.

Toyota describes the car’s profile as ”classic hatchback”,  tapering to the rear glass and blacked-out rear pillars.

2018 TOYOTA YARIS: Image: Toyota SA / Motorpress
2018 TOYOTA YARIS: Image: Toyota SA / Motorpress

”Aero-stabilising” fins (how effective they might be at sub-supersonic speed is arguable!) have been incorporated into the rear light clusters and the rear bumper, Toyota says, also includes aerodynamic fins to smooth airflow through the wheel arches to reduce aerodynamic drag.


Seven shell colours: silver metalllic, black, white, crimson, metallic, grey, ‘Inferno’ metallic (?) and dark blue metallic.

Toyota describes the cabin as ”spacious and inviting” with a cigar-shaped upper facia (see below) with metal accents around the air vents. The vertical centre section has (see image) a prominent silver frame.

The driver’s side has shiny black trim and chromed switches. There are two cup-holders with ”mood light” diode illumination.

2018 TOYOTA YARIS: Image: Toyota SA / Motorpress
2018 TOYOTA YARIS: Image: Toyota SA / Motorpress

All seats, Toyota says, ”have been designed with comfort and ergonomics in mind”(well, what else would one expect?).

There is but one engine across the model range: a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, double overhead cam, petrol unit with variable valve timing and said to be capable of 79kW/140Nm for which the buyer can chose either a five-speed manual or a constantly variable (CVT) ‘auto’ transmission (Xs model only) with, respectively, top speeds of 180 and 170km and fuel consumption of 5.9 and 5.8 litres/100km.

Depending on model, the cars ride on either 15 or 16” wheels rims, the larger ones alloy and shod with 195/50 radial tyres.

2018 TOYOTA YARIS: Image: Toyota SA / Motorpress
2018 TOYOTA YARIS: Image: Toyota SA / Motorpress

Four model options: entry is an Xi, followed by Xs, Cross and Sport – the last two with ”bespoke exterior treatment to deliver unique personalities”.


The cars, Toyota says, have ”a very comprehensive” specification list.  Even the entry-level Xi models has keyless entry and push-button start, four-speaker audio with USB and Bluetooth, multi-information display, power external mirrors, front power windows, electric power steering and manual aircon.

Xs models add automatic lights, 16” alloy wheel rims, folding exterior mirrors, rear power windows, leather on the steering-wheel and gear-shifter, steering-wheel switches and daytime running lights.

The Cross adds roof rails, black side mouldings, brushed-metal apron (front and rear) and black over-fenders and the ”flagship” Sport has a list of ‘extras’: red stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, six audio speakers, high-definition instruments, leather upholstery, auto aircon, front foul-weather lights and ‘projector’ headlights, diode-lit rear lights, rear spoiler, shark-fin antenna, skirts and a dark metallic grille,


All but the Xi units have a touchscreen AM/FM/Bluetooth infotainment system with smartphone support. The screen can be customised and apps added wirelessly. Satnav is included, with speed-limit identification and accurate vehicle speed display.

Luggage capacity is eight percent great than the previous model at 310 litres.

READ MORE Toyota features on Carman’s Corner

Toyota says ”strong focus” has been placed on active and passive safety. Xi, Xs and Cross units have: front crash-bags, IsofFix child-seat anchors, anti-lock brakes with emergency extra pressure and electronic pressure distribution, stability control, seat belt pretensioner and hill-start assistance.

Sport derivatives add side, curtain and driver’s knee crash bag.

And so to the models and prices…

1.5 Xi MT – R 230 800
1.5 Xs MT – R 253 400
1.5 Xs CVT – R 268 500
1.5 Cross – R 268 500
1.5 Sport – R 286 000

…and warranty and maintenance plan

Each model will be delivered with a  three-year or 45 000km service plan and three-year or 100 000km warranty (each pretty miserly against other brands (particulaly Hyunda). Buyers, Toyota says, can however upgrade to longer times/distance as extra cost.

Service intervals: 15 000km (you might want to compare that distance, too).

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