Toyota has released first images of its fourth generation Yaris due here in the middle of next year.

All-new Yaris showcases a powerful new look that is more compact and sportier, and offers leading safety as the first car in its segment to incorporate a centre airbag to protect front-seat occupants in the event of a side impact.

It also adopts a pre-collision safety system that goes beyond the current ability to detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists to prevent collisions or mitigate damage.

The latest system can prevent accidents when turning at intersections by detecting oncoming vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing the road.

Toyota says these features will be standard on Yaris for Australia, in addition to autonomous emergency braking, all-speed active cruise control, lane-centring and other advanced technologies.

The new, fourth generation Yaris sits on a newly developed TNGA platform, with responsive and efficient 1.5-litre petrol or hybrid-electric powertrains, a spacious interior with a higher level of quality, and advanced safety technologies across the range.

The body is 30 per cent stronger, with a 15mm low centre of gravity, and optimised driving position.

A 50mm longer wheelbase ensures the car is agile and manoeuvrable in city driving and parking, while contributing to generous occupant space.

The new platform has also enabled a 40mm reduction in overall height, but without compromising headroom due to clever packaging, including lower seating for the driver and passengers.

Toyota Australia’s Sean Hanley said all-new Yaris has been designed to be Australia’s safest compact car while meeting the increasing challenges of everyday urban life.

“It offers responsive new drivetrains with the lowest possible running costs and class-leading safety while being agile and easy to park in the city as well as comfortable on longer journeys,” he said.

All-new Yaris will be offered in Australia with two newly developed powertrains that use high-speed combustion technology to achieve low fuel consumption and high output.

The new 1.5-litre three-cylinder Dynamic Force petrol engine is mated to a direct-shift CVT style automatic transmission with mechanical launch gear while a new-generation hybrid system employs an Atkinson-Cycle version of the engine and a high-density lithium-ion battery.

Both systems are said to deliver an engaging and crisp response around town while delivering smooth, relaxed and comfortable driving on longer journeys.

The 1.5-litre hybrid system is new to Toyota and achieves remarkably high levels of fuel efficiency with acceleration tuned for both performance and economy.

It is derived from the larger systems introduced locally in the new Corolla hatch, RAV4 and Camry models.

Sharp new headlights feature LED technology while the rear view integrates the combination tail lights and rear window into a new three-dimensional form.

The interior design follows a ‘less-is-more’ principle, creating an open and spacious area for occupants with high-quality materials that deliver a warmer cabin ambience.

Information is presented clearly and directly to the driver from up to three interlinked sources: the central touch display screen, a multi-information display in the instrument cluster and an optional 10.0-inch colour heads-up display.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.