Anticipation is high. We’ve broken the news that the new Yaris Hybrid will be London Congestion Charge free, learnt last night why this is one of Toyota’s biggest facelifts on record… and now I’m itching to drive it.
Yes, honestly. OK, the current Yaris isn’t the most thrilling car in the supermini parc, but it’s still a sturdy and solid base, says Toyota – perfect for investing nearly £70 million to improve the obvious weak points that were glaringly obvious from launch and, hopefully, create a more well rounded supermini.
Those weak points, I always thought, were a pity. Toyotas are, generally, fantastically well assembled cars, for example. The current Yaris ruins this with awful perceived quality thanks to its low-rent, scratchy and plasticky interior. Such a shame: this one cures that.
There’s some clever tech below the bonnet too, not least the still-sector-unique Hybrid model, but mundane driving dynamics clothed all that. This one, they tell us, loses the sensible-shoes approach and is aiming for competitiveness with the class best: Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, Volkswagen Polo.
I’ve just stepped from a current-shape Fiesta. Admittedly it’s the ST3, but it still helped to remind me of how brilliant all the other ones are too. Sean reports the revised Polo is a super thing, and he’s besotted with his Clio long-termer. Those are the cars Toyota’s up against with the Yaris; the old one was worthy but not up to par.
This one, it sounds will be much more like it… but how much more? Today, I’ll find out.