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 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 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.
Bentley Bentayga Speed Nabs “World’s Fastest SUV” Title
The luxury SUV can launch to 62 mph in under 4 seconds.
Bentley proudly boasts that, with a top speed of 190 mph (306 km/h), the Bentayga Speed is the world’s fastest production SUV.
The 6.0-liter W12 engine found in the standard Bentayga has been tweaked to put out 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, providing enough propulsion to hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in just 3.9 seconds.
It’s worth noting that the 641 hp, V8-powered Lamborghini Urus is actually lighter and more powerful yet has the same top speed. The fact that the two SUVs are closely related makes us think there were some politics behind this head-scratching outcome.
In addition to the extra power, the Bentayga Speed provides a more dynamic driving experience than the regular Bentayga thanks to a retuned Sport mode and a stiffened suspension, while the exhaust note is throatier.
Designer gave the exterior a performance-theme characterized by dark-tint headlights, blacked-out grilles, a tailgate spoiler, and unique 22-inch wheels available in three finishes. Inside, one finds contrast stitching on the diamond-quilted upholstery and Alcantara trim, the first time the material has been used in a Bentayga.
The Bentley Bentayga Speed goes on sale in the second half of 2019 after making its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show.
BMW M2 Coupe Edition Black Shadow Celebrates Success
The BMW M2 has surpassed the M3 as the best-selling M model, and the M2-Coupe Edition Black Shadow is a celebration of that sales triumph.
Unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the special blacked out M2 comes exclusively in Sapphire Black metallic and rides on 19-inch, black matte forged light alloys with a Y-spoke design. It also boasts a high-gloss black grille, a carbon finish for the exterior mirrors and rear diffuser, and race-inspired accents.
All mechanical bits remain unchanged from the regular M2, so power is provided by a turbocharged, 370 horsepower 3.0-liter straight-six engine that, when equipped with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, allows the Black Shadow M2 to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 4.3 seconds.
Compact dimensions combined with the exceptional chassis tuning gives it the handling chops to match the impressive speed.
Considered by many enthusiasts to be the true successor to the E36 M3, the BMW M2 managed to sell more than 12,000 examples in 2017. It is one of the finest performance cars on the market right now.
New Lexus UX Unveiled, Joins Crowded Small SUV Segment
Toyota’s luxury division has bolstered its SUV-crossover lineup with a compact CUV, the new Lexus UX.
Debuting at the 2018 Geneva Motor show and billed as a ‘gateway model’ for new urban customers “in a dynamic and growing” segment, the UX is essentially a Toyota C-HR but, fortunately, looks more expensive and upscale inside and out.
It rides on Lexus’ new GA-C (Global Architecture – Compact) platform — a variation of the Toyota New Global Architecture — and measures five inches shorter than the Lexus NX crossover at 177 inches (4,495 mm) long, which should make it easier to fit into those tight city parking spaces.
The exterior adopts many of the larger sibling’s styling cues such as the polarizing spindle grille and sculpted panels, though the full-width taillights are distinct. The interior is also an upgrade over the C-HR, featuring new seats, new materials, new tech and more refinement.
The Lexus UX launches in two flavors — UX 200 and UX 250h. The UX 200 gets its power from a new 168-hp 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that’s mated to a CVT, while the UX 250h pairs the same engine with a new fourth generation hybrid drive system that produces 176-hp. A new E-Four system grants the hybrid UX all-wheel drive capabilities by employing an additional electric motor on the rear axle.
The new Lexus UX goes on sale in December 2018.