To a good many people, the Toyota Yaris is considered a perfectly serviceable runabout but a tad pedestrian. The arrival of the SR versions should change their minds.
While the SR grade has been introduced for the newly-enhanced 1.4 D4-D and 1.3 VVT-I models, the 1.8 SR is considered the flagship of the range - and rightly so.
The current Yaris is the second generation and is set to follow in the tyre tracks of its predecessor, which was a ‘top performer’ for Toyota. Under the banner, ‘Big Car Thinking’, the new Yaris is almost TARDIS-like with exterior dimensions belying the spaciousness of the interior.
Although the test car was a three-door, the SR 1.8 is also available as a five door, which, as you’d expect, is a bit more practical, especially for families and older people. Nonetheless, it is fairly easy to get in and out of the 3-door version thanks to the long front doors and easily moved front seats.
The SR dressing has made it look like a completely different vehicle to the others in the range and one or two people had to ask what it was. Blatantly sporty, the SR comes with side skirts; chrome, sports exhaust, which makes a very nice noise; LED taillights, deep front and rear bumpers with integrated fog lamps and the ubiquitous but discrete, roof spoiler.
The body of the SR is slightly different to the 1.3 and 1.4 versions, in that the front bumper is smoother and the front grilles are more pronounced; this is especially noticeable in the darker colours. The body looks to be made from a single fabrication such is the smoothness and tightness of the joins.
The high shoulder-line and wide stance serve to give an impression of sturdiness and stability. This is particularly the case when viewed from the rear where the wheel-in-every-corner layout is more visible.
Based on an all-new platform, the second generation Yaris benefits from 50 per cent more torsional stiffness, which together with improvements to the shock absorbers and anti-roll bar, improves the handling. There’s a new torsion beam at the rear, too. That’s a general upgrade, throughout the range, and the SR 1.8 has even more tuning to the chassis and suspension, which is somewhat lower. The end result is a very sporty Yaris with attitude to match.
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