Toyota has thrown down the gauntlet to the Mazda2 by restyling its Yaris hatch and adding a new safety pack.
The new machine features significant design changes to the front and rear, introducing reshaped lights and new bumpers with bold black elements.
Toyota says the "catamaran" look is more refined than the outgoing model, using simplified design language with fewer graphic elements.
On the inside, silver-finished elements have been replaced by gloss black touches on the dash, steering wheel and gear selector.
But the most important news is the addition of a safety system fitted as standard to the top-line Yaris ZR, and as an option to the entry-level Yaris Ascent and mid-range SX.
The suite includes pre-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, visual and audible lane departure warning and automatic high beam systems usually found on more expensive models.
The basic Yaris Ascent continues with a 1.3-litre engine that makes 63kW and 120Nm, while the Yaris SX and ZR get a 1.5-litre motor with 80kW and 141Nm.
Entry and mid-grade models are fitted with a five-speed manual transmission as standard, with an optional four-speed automatic available for a further $1530.
Toyota kept existing prices for the Ascent ($15,290) and SX ($17,330), but added $650 to the auto-only $22,470 Yaris ZR to account for its new safety system.
2017 Toyota Yaris pricing and specifications
Yaris Ascent - $15,290
Yaris SX - $17,330
Yaris ZR - $22,470
(plus on-road and dealer costs)
Engine: 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power: 63kW or 80kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 120Nm at 4600rpm or 141Nm at 4400rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic
Fuel use: 5.8-6.4L/100km
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