Of all the new or updated vehicles that were unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the 2017 Toyota Yaris would have easily been among the least exciting if not for the introduction a new performance variant. Even so, as a vehicle for the pragmatic-minded, it can never be ignored.
Despite its size, the small hatchback is a bigger deal for Toyota than you might have realized, more so in hyper-competitive Europe than in North America. As such, quite a lot of effort was put into its long overdue refresh.
Learn more — here are eight interesting facts about the significantly updated, 2017 Toyota Yaris subcompact car…
1. What is It?
This is not an all-new Yaris. Rather, it is the third-generation model that first went on sale in 2011, having received many notable updates aimed at improving its competitiveness.
The updated Yaris is the result of a 90-million-Euro investment that granted it some 900 new or redesigned parts. It competes in the subcompact segment — the heart of Europe’s car market — against other popular hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Renault Clio, and Opel Corsa.
Toyota offers both a patrol-powered and an electrified hybrid versions of its small hatchback.
2. Important Global Car
Though not a big deal in North America, where there is a strong distaste for everything small (Canada to a lesser extent), the third-gen Yaris has been a big seller in Western Europe, where it has continued to increase its share of the B-segment (supermini) market since its launch, with over 208,000 units sold in 2016 alone.
The Yaris has been manufactured at Toyota Motor Manufacturing France’s Valenciennes factory since 2001 and is exported around the world, including Africa, North America and the Middle East. Production passed the three million mark in 2016.
Interestingly, nearly 40 percent of all third-gen Yaris sold in Europe are of the hybrid version.
3. More Interesting Design
As a car that prioritizes practicality and fuel efficiency, the updated Yaris isn’t going to set anyone’s pants on fire. Even so, it is more aggressive than before, featuring a bolder front fascia with new headlights and a catamaran-shaped bumper. The rear end sports a new horizontal tail lamps that stretch into the hatch.
Ten different colors are now offered, while the even more thrifty Yaris hybrid comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, the largest set you can get.
4. Quieter, More Modern Interior
Toyota’s engineers have made the interior of the Yaris more user-friendly and modern. Every trim level except for the base model now comes with a thin-film transistor (TFT) information screen embedded in the instrument cluster, while new upholsteries, colours and trim details heighten its overall appeal.
The Yaris Hybrid is also quieter inside, largely thanks to tweaks made to the engine and exhaust system.
5. Brand-New Engine
Speaking of engine, as part of its comprehensive update, the 2017 Yaris benefits from a brand-new, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that replaces the previous model’s 1.3-liter unit. The small powerplant produces 111 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque, allowing the hatchback to accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h (60 mph) in 11 seconds flat, almost a full second faster than before.
Power is transferred to the front wheels by a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic (talk about ancient tech…).
6. Meet the Yaris GRMN, the Hot Family Member
And there is the new Yaris GRMN, the hottest member of the Yaris family…
GRMN stands for “Gazoo Racing Masters of the Nürburgring”. As with just about anything with “Nürburgring”, the Yaris GRMN is a performance machine and is inspired by Toyota’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship. It is the Yaris of choice for those who place driving exhilaration above all else, competing against other hot rods like the Ford Fiesta ST, Opel Corsa PC, Volkswagen Polo GTI, and Renault Clio RS.
The Yaris GRMN’s performance enhancements include a supercharged, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces more than 210 horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission that routes torque through a Torsen limited-slip differential, a revised suspension system and, of course, bigger brakes.
It is visually distinguished from the lesser Yaris models by a more muscular sheetmetal characterized by unique front and rear bumpers, a rear diffuser, a black spoiler, center-mounted tailpipe and 17-inch BBS wheels.
Inside, it sports specially-designed front seats, a steering wheel that’s shared with the GT86 sports car, and aluminum-covered pedals.
7. Better Safety Out of the Box
To provide driver and passengers more peace of mind, Toyota has made its suite of safety features (Safety Sense) standard on every Yaris trim.
The package includes a Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Automatic High Beam, Lane Departure Alert and Road Sign Assist.
8. Just in Time for Summer
The updated, 2017 Toyota Yaris and new Yaris GRMN go on sale in Europe in the first half of 2017, while the North American version arrives a few months later. It will be interesting to see if Toyota follows Ford’s footsteps and offer its performance-tuned hot hatch in the United States and Canada.
Considering that the Toyota GT86 is the only sports car it has in its product portfolio, the brand is seriously lacking the fun factor, especially when compared to many of its competitors, which have fully-fledged performance divisions.
Regardless, with the introduction of the Yaris GRMN, the Yaris lineup is no longer a complete bore.
What Do You Think?
Did Toyota do enough with the updated, 2017 Toyota Yaris? Did you find our eight facts about the little hatchback interesting, and would you choose the Yaris GRMN over, say, a Fiesta ST?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, and also check out our 8 Fun Facts About The New, 2018 Ford Fiesta ST.
Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster Is One Exclusive Convertible
Production of this drop-top German will be limited to just 750 units.
Just four months after the four-door Mercedes-AMG GT made its debut, the Mercedes-AMG GT family has grown yet again with the addition of the GT R Roadster.
Arriving just in time for summer, the limited-edition convertible features a three-layer fabric soft top with lightweight aluminum and magnesium construction and an acoustic mat that helps absorb wind noise.
Power is provided by AMG’s 4.0-liter V8 Bitrubo engine, producing 577 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) is complete in 3.5 seconds and top speed is reached at 197 mph (317 km/h).
Like the GT R coupe, the GT R Roadster boasts a long list of exterior upgrades that include a wider stance, a larger rear wing, exclusive 20-inch wheels in the rear and 19-inch rims up front, and an adjustable coil-over suspension with active rear axle steering
A number of active aerodynamic components have been implemented to manage airflow around the engine and underneath the car, reducing lift and maximizing efficiency and downforce.
Notable interior touches include AMG black carbon fiber trim elements, AMG Performance seats wrapped in Nappa leather, and an AMG Performance steering wheel.
Mercedes plans to build just 750 examples of the GT R Roadster, so act fast if you want one.
Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV Concept Previews Alfa’s First Electrified Vehicle
The Italian automaker is getting ready to enter the electric vehicle segment.
Alfa Romeo used the 2019 Geneva Motor show to debut the Tonale Concept, previewing its first plug-in hybrid.
Sharing a design language with the larger Stelvio, the sleek compact crossover stands out with a large lower grille flanked by LED-array headlights that are thinner than those on the Stelvio and retro design elements like Alfa Romeo’s characteristic phone-dial wheel, which as borrowed from the 33 Stradale of the 1960s.
Highlights of the interior include a 12.3-inch full digital instrument cluster, a large 10.25-inch touchscreen for the central head unit, and premium materials ranging from aluminum to Alcantara and leather.
Technical details or a launch window for the production Tonale were not revealed, but the model was envisioned with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Alfa Romeo plans to launch a total of six PHEVs by the end of 2022, and the Tonale will certainly be one of them.
Polestar 2 Electric Car Charges Up To Battle Tesla Model 3
Sweden delivers yet another promising electrified vehicle.
The Polestar 2 has arrived, and it’s ready to do battle with the Tesla Model 3 and other premium compact electric cars.
As Polestar’s first fully-electric vehicle, the Polestar 2 draws heavy inspiration from the Volvo 40.2 concept that debuted in 2016, featuring a relatively high ride height for a sedan and a five-door fastback design that makes it more versatile.
In fact, the Polestar 2 is based on Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture platform and is powered by a drivetrain consisting of two electric motors and a 78 kWh battery that deliver a combined 408 horsepower and 487 lb-ft. of torque, enough power to accelerate it from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in under five seconds.
The 27-module battery pack also integrated into the floor to improve the rigidity of the chassis and improve noise, vibration and harshness levels. It provides the Swedish electric car with a driving range of around 275 miles (443 km) on a single charge.
For those interested in a sportier driving experience, the Polestar 2 will be available with a Performance Pack that adds Öhlins dampers, Brembo brakes and unique 20-inch forged wheels. It also adds gold seat belts, brake calipers and valve caps.
Highlights of the interior include an 11-inch touchscreen that runs an Android-based infotainment system, granting owners access to Google Assistant, Google Maps and a number of other vehicle-based apps.
Production of the Polestar 2 kicks off in China in early 2020, with pricing starting at 39,900 Euros in Europe and at $55,000 in the United States.
Like the Polestar 1, it will be available exclusively via an online ordering system, and there will also eventually be a subscription program to broaden its reach.
Polestar will also introduce a less expensive version of the Polestar 2 down the road.