Toyota’s light hatch had a recent facelift which gave it sharper looks, a refreshed interior and additional technology including an advanced safety package including pre-collision system, lane departure alert and auto high-beam. The Yaris SX with four-speed automatic transmission we tested is priced from $18,860, which is a $1530 premium over the five-speed manual.
- The 1.5-litre engine is a definite improvement over the 1.3-litre version in the entry-level Ascent, providing more power but similar fuel economy – both engines have a combined fuel economy rating of 6.3L/100kms when coupled with the automatic transmission which was just below our test car in mostly city conditions. It’s adequate for city driving though it’s not very responsive.
- Vision is excellent especially the front half thanks to a large windscreen and a low ‘sill’ on the front doors.
- Standard equipment includes reversing camera and 6.1-inch touchscreen, cruise control, and front fog lamps, however the advanced safety package is a $650 option at this level.
- It’s a doddle to reverse park, with a short rear overhang and good all-round vision helped by the reversing camera.
- The refreshed interior looks good and feels more premium than most cars in this segment. Yaris’s fabric-upholstered seats feel good and have attractive striped patterns .
- The rear seats have decent leg room for such a small car and an elevated seating position that provides good forward vision, though this is hampered a little by the unnecessarily large front headrests.
- Its 268-litre boot is larger than some of its competitors and rear seat back folds 60/40 to expand this capacity to 768 litres.
- Service intervals are every 10,000km, with capped price servicing for first three years or up to 60,000km.
- The driver’s seat doesn’t go low enough even for an average sized person which gives a feeling of sitting on the seat rather than in it, meaning get comfortable enough behind the wheel may be a challenge depending on your body size.
- The steering wheel has a height and reach adjust, though reach adjustment is very minimal and may not be sufficient if you have longer legs and need to sit further back.
- The recent facelift did nothing to improve the Yaris’s refinement, the shortcomings of which are exposed in terms of ride comfort and road/tyre noise.
- The steering feels very light, unlike some cars in its class which feel a lot more connected when cornering.
- It’s not as much fun to drive as some of its competitors such as the Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER
The light car segment is packed with worthy, similarly equipped and priced competitors including the Ford Fiesta Trend, Holden Barina LS, Honda Jazz VTi, Hyundai Accent SR, Kia Rio S, Mazda 2 Maxx, Mitsubishi Mirage LS, Skoda Fabia 81TSI, Volkswagen Polo Trendline and the recently-arrived Suzuki Swift.