For the longest time, we've considered the Vios and Yaris as practically twins. In the Philippine market, they share the same engine, transmission, and suspension bits, and the only visible difference is their body styles. But now, it looks like we should get used to the two nameplates as separate models.
The Vios, at least in other ASEAN markets, is now in its fifth generation with the DNGA platform. However, the Yaris hatchback looks like it will soldier on using the fourth-generation platform for at least a few more years.
Toyota Motor Thailand has launched a minor model change for the Yaris, keeping the hatchback fresh with a new front fascia, updated interior bits, and a new intelligent safety package.
For starters, the Yaris is now wearing an otherwise busier face. It gets a new set of projector LED headlights and a huge front grille, resembling the front-end treatment done to the current-generation Corolla Altis. Large honeycomb mesh openings on the lower intakes coupled with gloss black trims give it an aggressive and sporty look.
Aside from the rear which gets a diffuser-style trim on the bumper, the rest of the body remained unchanged. Lastly, the other new exterior bit is a set of 15-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, Toyota has retained the cabin layout of the Yaris and resorted to updating the upholstery on the seats, which will vary depending on the model variant. Rear passengers get additional USB charging ports, while some variants of the Yaris will now have a 360-degree panoramic view monitor and auto-dimming rearview mirror as a standard feature.
Perhaps, the biggest update in the Yaris hatchback is with its intelligent safety features, as the refreshed model now gets Toyota Safety Sense. This means the hatchback gets modern safety functions like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, pre-collision braking, and lane departure alert.
The new Thai-spec Yaris remains powered by the 1.2-liter 3NR-FKE engine with 92 PS and 109 Nm of torque. It's paired with Toyota's Super CVT transmission which sends power to the front wheels.
As of the moment, it remains to be seen if Toyota Motor Philippines will still offer the updated Yaris in the country. The hatchback segment is shrinking as of late when manufacturers started offering subcompact crossovers. Speaking of which, Toyota themselves are also poised to offer the Japan-sourced Yaris Cross, so the future of the Yaris hatchback in the country is not exactly looking bright. Hopefully, we'll get more information about this soon.