Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2014 Toyota Yaris hatch.
If there’s one thing Toyota does as good, or even better, than the other car manufacturer it’s producing affordable, efficient and reliable small cars.
The Corolla and its sustained success in Australia and across the globe is testament to this. The Yaris, probably even by Toyota’s admission, has never reached the same heights.
Sure, it’s tough living in big brothers shadow, but I’ve always felt the Yaris has a good story to tell.
The new generation Toyota Yaris was launched recently, the biggest differences are the more rounded external edges, a few cabin tweaks and the dropping of the optional three-door version.
As you probably know, the Yaris continues to provide a good mix of pricing, features and relatively good driving performance.
The range kicks off at $15,690; this gets you a manual version with the smaller 1.3 litre engine. The ZR Yaris, which I checked out, features a 1.5 litre engine that produces 80kW and 141Nm, this grade is auto-only – a four speed unit.
Prices for the Toyota Yaris ZR start at $22,690.
On the road the Yaris does everything you might expect, acceleration is fairly spirited, despite only featuring four ratios the transmission keeps up alright and provides smooth and stress-free changes.
The steering is nicely weighted and the feel is really good, ride, handling and brakes all get a pass mark. Fuel economy is listed at a combined 6.3L/100kms, I drove the Yaris in the city and averaged 8.1L/100kms – this was just a little more than I might have expected.
Inside the cabin, well things aren’t revolutionary different to the old model. The big addition is the touchscreen multi-media unit incorporating a reversing camera and sat-nav. In all, yes, the unit worked really well and it was an easy operation synching my iPhone with the Bluetooth system.
You get power windows all round, power mirrors, central locking, trip computer and tilt and reach adjustable steering. The steering wheel is a real highlight – as nice as you might expect to find on a car twice this price.
One thing that did let the Yaris down though was a particularly wobbly brake pedal – lateral movement was very noticeable and it did work to take off some of the shine.
The seats are a bit firm but are comfortable enough, legroom all round is good too and the glove box is pretty well sized. Cargo space in the back is a little limited though, but there is a sub-floor compartment and the back-seats fold down almost completely flat.
A centre arm-rest would increase front seat comfort levels. Overall though the Yaris cabin is a pleasant place to be, everything fits well and has a nice feel about it.
Visibility from the driver’s seat is very good and this is only aided by pretty well-sized wing mirrors.
Summing it up; The Toyota Yaris continues to be a sensible, well-priced and well-executed little vehicle. Aside from the wobbly brake pedal, the Yaris exhibits fit and finish both inside and out that many of the other budget-priced hatchbacks on the market just can’t match.
With some funky new colours on offer, refreshed styling and very competitive pricing, the Yaris should continue to be on the test-drive list of Australian small five-door hatch buyers.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 1.5 litre petrol producing 80kW and 141Nm
Transmission: Four-speed auto (ZR)
Safety: Not tested
Price: Yaris ZR from $22,690