Japanese car giant Toyota has launched a compact sedan called Yaris at the Auto Expo in New Delhi to take on the successful Honda City in the competitive mid-sized premium segment in Asia’s third biggest car market.
The maker of the popular Innova Crysta and Fortuner will introduce the new car in India in April this year and it will also compete against models like Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Hyundai Verna.
While the Yaris is a global product, this new sedan version is mainly sold in ASEAN and developing markets.
Toyota is betting big on the car’s interior space, safety qualifications and styling to turn it into a volumes churner in the country.
The made-in-India new Yaris will be powered by the 108 hp, 1.5 litre dual VVT-i petrol engine with the option of a 6-speed manual or 7-speed CVT-based automatic gearbox.
Although Japanese automaker has not ruled out a diesel engine for the future, it will most likely first bring a hybrid powertrain to the Indian market.
Interestingly, dimensionally, the Yaris is a bit shorter than the Honda City as the latter has the longer wheelbase. But like its sibling, the Etios, the new sedan is wider, and that will mean a wider cabin too.
On safety front, the car will come with a class-leading seven airbags, including a knee bag, disc brakes on all four wheels (currently the only one in its class), get ESP, traction control and even a tyre pressure monitoring system. It is no surprise therefore that a similarly specified car has been awarded a five-star rating by NCAP for ASEAN countries.
Undoubtedly, Toyota would price the Yaris competitively to take on rival Honda City in India and the tag could be between Rs 9 lakh and Rs 14 lakh range.
“We are delighted to mark Toyota’s entry in the B-high segment in India with the Yaris. We have developed our new sedan without compromise to embody the Indian car buyers’ overarching desires for a premium and high-performance vehicle,” Takatomo Suzuki, chief engineer at Toyota Motor Corporation, said.
N Raja, deputy managing director, sales & service at Toyota Kirloskar Motor said bookings for the new sedan will start from April onwards.
“Yaris is built on the Toyota philosophy of QDR offering 12 first in segment features like power driver seat, 7 SRS airbags, roof mounted air vents, TPMS, front parking sensors, all wheel disc brakes,” he said.
Raja said Yaris commands attention and connects emotionally with globalized young aspirational buyers with its cutting edge exterior design and state of the art interior design.