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The underrated Toyota Yaris gets a facial treatment

Is it enough to woo style-conscious buyers?

If you owned 40% of the market and new products kept arriving, you'd be grinning from ear to ear, too. PHOTO BY VERNON B. SARNE

During their annual Christmas luncheon for the media held this week at the barely finished Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bonifacio Global City, Toyota Motor Philippines executives were all in a jolly good mood. And why wouldn’t they be? The company president, Satoru Suzuki, announced that they had already outdone their 2016 sales total of 158,728 units in just 11 months this year. With still the month of December to be tallied, TMP has already moved 166,601 units in 2017.

And to show the press just what kind of hardworking overachievers they are, the executives presented the face-lifted new Yaris hatchback. Granted that it is just a minor model change, but the Yaris being at arm’s length from us while we partook of Toyota’s Yuletide meal once again verified what we had always known to be true: The Japanese automaker never takes its foot off the throttle even when everyone else has already clocked out for the holidays. No wonder the brand owns nearly 40% of the Philippine automotive market.

Pardon the right-hand-drive orientation of the Yaris in these photos. They were just sent to us. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

Anyway, the new Yaris wears a fresh face now. And among the improvements to the stylish hatchback—at least based on our understanding of the press material sent to us—are the daytime running lights, push-start system, eco and sport modes, six audio speakers and seven airbags now standard across all variants.

Speaking of variants, the top-of-the-line 1.5 S now replaces the previous 1.5 G, and most of the features we mentioned above are found in this variant.

Now, just so you can visualize the Yaris’s new countenance more accurately, here are all the other colors the new Yaris is available in—including the new Citrus Mica Metallic paint job.

The new Yaris is available in seven colors that will please millennials: Freedom White, Attitude Black (no kidding), Red Mica Metallic, Orange Metallic, Thermalyte, Gray Metallic and Citrus Mica Metallic. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

Powering the revised Yaris is still the same pair of 1.3- and 1.5-liter VVT-i gasoline engines shoehorned under the hood of the outgoing model. So if you’re considering getting this car now, just know that the upgrade bestowed upon this version is mainly cosmetic.

If you’re still interested, Toyota’s hatchback now has the following updated prices:

  • 1.5 S automatic – P1,006,000;
  • 1.3 E automatic – P877,000; and
  • 1.3 E manual – P825,000.

We know you didn’t ask, but we’d go for the ebony exterior. It had us at “Attitude Black.”

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.