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RAY MASSEY: New Toyota Yaris dodges the cardinal sin of being boring


For motorists looking for a highly reliable, economical car, Toyota has traditionally been a safe bet, if a little unadventurous.

But Toyota’s anglophile president Akio Toyoda, who when living and working in London in the Eighties used to whizz around in an original Mini, wanted to add some pizzazz.

Toyotas ‘must not be boring’, he decreed, ahead of the launch of the new fourth generation Yaris supermini. 

Zippy: The new Toyota Yaris petrol-electric hybrid is  both lively and economical with a 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds and a stated fuel economy of between 65.7 mpg to 68.9 mpg

Zippy: The new Toyota Yaris petrol-electric hybrid is  both lively and economical with a 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds and a stated fuel economy of between 65.7 mpg to 68.9 mpg

What a turnaround. The striking new Yaris, which promises improved fuel economy, lower emissions and more oomph, has dramatic styling and bold looks.

It is powered by a lean and frugal 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid that propels it from rest to 62 mph in 9.7 seconds up to a top speed of 109 mph.

Priced from £19,910 to £24,005, there are five versions: Icon, Design (which from £20,970 will be the biggest seller accounting for nearly half of sales), Dynamic, Excel and a Launch Edition.

Ray Massey with the new Toyota Yaris with promises which promises improved fuel economy, lower emissions and more oomph over its predecessor as well as  a little more pizzazz

Ray Massey with the new Toyota Yaris with promises which promises improved fuel economy, lower emissions and more oomph over its predecessor as well as  a little more pizzazz

With a PCP retail offer, however, the Design trim can come to £189 per month over 42 months, plus a deposit of £4,311.

Ahead of first deliveries to British customers — when the new ’70’ registration plate begins from September — I drove a Continental left-hand drive version running on 17in wheels rather than the standard 16in variety.

It was zippy around town and sufficiently long-legged on dual carriagweways and motorways.  

Priced from £19,910 to £24,005, there are five versions: Icon, Design (which from £20,970 will be the biggest seller accounting for nearly half of sales), Dynamic, Excel and a Launch Edition

 Priced from £19,910 to £24,005, there are five versions: Icon, Design (which from £20,970 will be the biggest seller accounting for nearly half of sales), Dynamic, Excel and a Launch Edition

It’s a fun, lively and engaging drive and a worthy rival to the likes of the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta.

There are four driving modes: the default ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’, a jaunty ‘Power’, and ‘EV’ for short pure electric runs.

As a hybrid, electric power is in use for around half the time, rising to about 80 per cent around town.  

Interior: The five-door hatchback seats four comfortably and five at a squeeze with three in the rear

Interior: The five-door hatchback seats four comfortably and five at a squeeze with three in the rear

Running costs should be easier on the pocket, with fuel economy of between 65.7 mpg to 68.9 mpg.

I was comfortably into the 60s, despite some energetic driving. CO2 emissions range from 92g/km to 98g/km.

With a smart, sporty interior, the five-door hatchback seats four comfortably and five at a squeeze with three in the rear.

Makeover for monster Bentley

Bentley’s second generation Bentayga 4X4, pictured, has been given a significant makeover to take on rivals including the Aston Martin DBX, below, the Porsche Cayenne GTS and Range Rover.

The upgrade includes styling tweaks, more comfortable seats, and greater rear passenger legroom.

Bentley's second generation Bentayga 4X4, pictured, has been given a significant makeover including styling tweaks, more comfortable seats, and greater rear passenger legroom

Bentley’s second generation Bentayga 4X4, pictured, has been given a significant makeover including styling tweaks, more comfortable seats, and greater rear passenger legroom

It’s a big beast that fires up with a deep, throaty and satisfying growl. My car came in bright Orange Flame paintwork. It’s priced from £146,700, an increase of £7,100 on the outgoing model.

However, my fully-loaded Bentayga riding on 22in wheels was fitted with more than £50,000 of extras.

Powered by a 4-litre twin-turbo-charged 550 hp V8 petrol engine, with an eight-speed, automatic gearbox, it zips from rest to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds up to a top speed of 180 mph. 

Fuel economy is 21.2 mpg with CO2 emissions of 302 g km, which will annoy the green brigade.

Aston 4×4 may leave you stirred not shaken

I’ve just been one of the first journalists to get behind the wheel of the new Aston Martin’s DBX off-roader from James Bond’s favourite car firm. 

And the exhilarating drive in this sporty but elegant 4X4 left me stirred, but not shaken.

The DBX has a 4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine linked to a 9-speed automatic, developing 550hp, it accelerates from rest to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds up to a top speed of 181 mph

The DBX has a 4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine linked to a 9-speed automatic, developing 550hp, it accelerates from rest to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds up to a top speed of 181 mph

The British car-firm’s future depends on the success of the new 181 mph, £158,000 DBX built at St Athan, Wales. 

The five-door, five-seater crossover is designed to look and feel a leaner and smaller SUV than it really is.

Driving is a delight. Propelled by a powerful 4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine linked to a 9-speed automatic, developing 550hp, it accelerates with gusto from rest to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds up to a top speed of 181 mph. 

But, unlike Bond, don’t expect it to save the planet. It manages a miserly average 19.73 mpg with CO2 emissions of 325 g/km.

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