Six years ago the Europe-built Yaris was the Japanese company’s entry-level model. Now it is its leading edge. Today the Aygo is playing the same entry-level role in the Toyota world; in future it could in its turn become the brand’s biggest seller, which would leave the Yaris having to find a new position. “This explains why the new Yaris has grown, to create some distance between itself and the Aygo”, explains Tokuo Fukuichi, head of the Toyota design centre in Nice, France. “Right from the beginning, however, we tried to give it the same look as the previous model, and the work was done with many designers of the first Yaris”.

The new architecture, with wheelbase increased from 2370 mm to 2460 mm, has opened the way to greater structural changes in terms of dimensions and proportions, than would have been possible with a straightforward re-design of the bodywork. The higher bonnet meets the most advanced requirements in terms of pedestrian safety and the bumpers, which have been moved higher, contribute to the balance of the overall side profile.

As the Yaris plays such a key role, Fuduichi and his team have devoted a great deal of attention to the essential brand values “expressed by the typical design of the front which includes the grille and the integration of our oval logo, but we have also tried to take up the vertical movement of Toyota’s other European models, expressed by the marked ribbing down the whole length of the bonnet”.

The styling cue of the vertical movement is mirrored in the interior by the central console, itself enclosed by two ascending lines as on the Corolla and the Avensis. In the Yaris, however, this effect is further underlined by the central display of the dashboard, so typical of the model.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 155

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