Joel Helmes reviews the Toyota Yaris.
If you’re in the market for a small hatch and have a budget of around $20,000 you certainly have a plethora of choice.
Every major manufacturer has an option in this category and generally speaking they’re all pretty darn good.
The obvious choices include the Honda Jazz, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and i20, Holden Barina, Kia Rio, Mazda 2, Suzuki Swift and the VW Polo.
If that’s not enough you could also look at models such as the Proton Gen2, Mitsubishi Colt, Nissan Micra, Nissan Tiida, and Citroen C3.
There’s also the choice of going for lower spec models of vehicles such as the VW Golf, Holden Cruze, Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato and Mazda 3 – all of which start below or at about $23,000.
Then of course there’s the always popular Toyota Yaris to consider.
The Yaris range starts at just under $15,000 and runs up to just under $22,000 and there’s the choice of models with either a 1.3 or 1.5 litre four cylinder petrol engine.
I had a week in the top of the range YRX with the larger engine and the four speed automatic transmission.
I must admit when I went to pick it up I wasn’t really looking forward to a week in a little four cylinder auto, I’m really pleased to say however that the baby Toyota was a bit of a surprise packet.
The Toyota Yaris does just about everything with ease and is actually a fair bit of fun to get around in as well.
Acceleration is more than reasonable and even on hills its surprisingly spritely thanks to the auto being quick to respond and find a lower gear.
The 1.5 litre engine produces 80kW and 141Nm and uses a combined 6.3 litres.
In my week getting about in the city I managed exactly 8.0 litres per 100 which is pretty much right on the claimed urban consumption of 7.9L/100.
The steering in the Yaris is really nice, light but with plenty of feedback, ride and handling both get a pass mark and despite the rear brakes being of the very much out-dated drum variety the Yaris pulls up quite well.
Despite the brakes being of the older technology the Toyota Yaris boasts a 5 star ANCAP rating thanks to a long list of standard safety features including – dual front airbags, side airbags, head-protecting side curtains and a driver knee airbag.
ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), emergency brake assist (EBA) and electronic stability control (ESC) are also standard.
Inside the cabin I couldn’t help but have a laugh at the diamond style pattern on the dash and door inserts – it looks almost like thousands of little Mitsubishi logos!
Throughout the cabin there’s a fair bit of hard plastic but it’s a well laid out and functional design.
There are a number of little storage spots and the glove box is of reasonable size.
Just like the long list of safety features the Yaris YRX gets quite a few nice add-ons inside including a very good stereo/sat-nav system with USB input, Bluetooth, tilt and reach adjust steering wheel, cruise control, power windows and power mirrors.
The seats are firm but adequate, there’s no centre arm rest or foot rest however and these would both lift cabin comfort levels.
Leg room is ok front and back, the boot space suffers from a simple lack of depth and is probably a bit smaller than some of the competition.
On the outside the styling is as nice as any of the competition, nice touches such as the 15” alloy wheels and front driving lights on the YRX version of the Toyota Yaris help to lift the whole package.
As you would expect from Toyota everything has a quality feel about it and the paint work in particular was very impressive.
I honestly couldn’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t buy this well designed and nicely executed little vehicle.
NUTS & BOLTS
Engine: 1.5 litre petrol four cylinder delivering 80kW and 141Nm.
Transmission: 4 speed auto.
Safety: 5 star ANCAP rated.
Environment: 4 star Green Vehicle Guide rated.
Price: From $14,990 – YRX hatch (as tested) – $21,390