Thursday, January 12, 2017

Third-Generation Toyota Vitz (2017 minor change) and Vitz Hybrid

2017 Toyota Vitz

So, the current-generation Toyota Vitz has been around since December 2010 and while the sharper looks captures most baby boomers and millennials alike, its driving can be somewhat "regular". It's been on the block for about seven years and for the second time, the third-generation Vitz has been given a minor change for the 2017 model year.

2017 Toyota Vitz
2017 Toyota Vitz interior

For the 2017 minor change, the Vitz now features a brand new exterior design that keeps it edgier than the previous facelift. First, there's a new, sleeker, front nose that makes it very sleek for a compact hatchback made for baby boomers and millennials alike, and then the rear view has been drastically altered to resemble more of its big brother, the Auris. Although not much has changed on the interior, the lineup is what gets you noticed. You still have a choice of either a 1.0L or a 1.3L 1NR-FKE engine mated with a Super CVT-i gearbox but there's bad news for speedo boys in the world; the RS variant has been sadly deleted from the lineup, which is very disappointing for the speedo boys despite hearing the news that the Vitz will be ready for the World Rally Championship for the first time after 18 years. Sure is sad to see the hotter Vitz go away for the 2017 model year but there's one major addition in the 2017 Vitz range that will get you noticed also and let's cut to the chase; there's a hybrid variant.

You heard it right. There's now a hybrid variant on the Vitz and while it can be questionable to sell it alongside its relative, the Aqua, because both of them are hybrid compacts, it's undeniable proof that no car in Japan is safe from being turned into a hybrid. That's political climate for you. Anyway, the hybrid variant features a 1.5L 1NZ-FXE engine connected to an electric motor and a nickel metal battery, which Toyota keeps on using it on their hybrids rather than the Li-ion batteries most carmakers are using right now. Taking advantage of the THS II and the CVT mated on it, the Vitz Hybrid produces a total power output of 100PS and fuel efficiency of 34.4km/L. In general, that's about 2.6km/L less than the Aqua relative.

Although it isn't as enjoyable as the Vitz you are familiar with seven years ago, its compact sizing makes it good for a daily driver for work and play. The 4.5m turning radius makes it easier to park and easier to get in and out in the narrowest of situations. As for safety, the Vitz offers the Toyota Safety Sense C, comprising of Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and the Automatic High Beam function.

2017 Toyota Vitz
The Vitz Hybrid starts at 1,819,800 Japanese Yen while the regular Vitz lineup starts at 1,181,520 Yen. Needless to say, while the new exterior design is a major improvement for the aging third-generation Vitz, the fun factor as a compact is already gone and in return, it's still a regular compact with regular tastes that is somewhat too normal for its own kind and with the addition of the hybrid variant, resistance is futile because as Japan keeps on selling more and more hybrids, the definition of "fun" will soon be wiped out from their vocabulary and who can blame them?

Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation

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