Reviewed for you: Toyota Yaris
The Toyota Yaris has been a mainstay of the motoring landscape in Australia since October 2005 and has sold more than 220,000, although when it first arrived here we knew it as the Echo. It is regularly a bestseller in the light car segment only now copping some competition from the Kia Rio.
What’s the price, and what do you get?
The Yaris underwent a refresh in 2017, and despite significant styling and safety improvements, there was no change to pricing. The entry-level Yaris Ascent is $15,290+ORCs, the SX at $17,330+ORCs with tan automatic transmission adding $1,530 to that price. Indeed, only the ZR saw a price increase, jumping to $22,470+ORCs to cover the cost of the extra safety equipment which includes, autonomous emergency braking, automatic high beam and lane departure warning (a $650 cost option on other variants).
As standard, Yaris comes with:
- cruise control
- display audio system with controls on the steering wheel spokes
- multi-information display
- electric power steering
- power windows and mirrors
- 12-volt accessory socket
- seven airbags
- reversing camera
- vehicle stability and traction control
- anti-skid brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist
- an emergency brake signal that flashes the hazard lights.
SX variants, in addition to the bigger engine, get front fog lights, privacy glass, and a “premium” steering wheel and gear shifter.
ZR varian ts add automatic climate control for the air-conditioning, satellite navigation, Toyota Link, a rear spoiler and auto-levelling headlamps, pre-collision safety system, lane departure alert and automatic high beam.
What’s the interior like?
The dashboard design is one of the more interesting in the segment with its circular central instrument cluster. In typical Toyota fashion, the interior features a lot of hard, black plastic which is scratchy to the touch but, hey, the Yaris is built to a price and the design and layout of the interior, if not the materials used, help to make it feel a little more special than others in the segment.
It’s a small car, so storage isn’t amazing, and there’s no centre console storage bin, but there are enough places to stash your phone, wallet, etc. and there are cup holders at the base of the dashboard. The main difference between the old car and this refreshed one is the addition of some gloss black trims. There’s no Apple or Android connectivity via the infotainment system.
What’s the passenger space like?
The front is the place to be with broad but flat seats that are more comfortable than they look. There’s good adjustment so even taller drivers will be able to get comfortable behind the wheel. Over in the back things are a little tighter, but there’s still enough room for two adults to sit comfortably.
What’s the boot space like?
Don’t raise the tailgate expecting to find a big boot with the Yaris offering 286 litres of storage space, beyond the incredibly versatile Honda Jazz which beats all others in the segment for storage practicality, the Yaris is on par for the segment. There’s a hidden second level to the boot which allows you to stash small items out of sight and a space saver spare wheel.
What’s under the bonnet?
Depending on the variant, there’s either a 63kW/120Nm 1.3-litre four-cylinder (Ascent) or an 80kW/141Nm 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine (SX and ZR). The 1.3-litre engine in the Ascent can be optioned with either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual, which is also available on the Ascent, while the 1.5-litre engine for the SX and ZR variants gets a five-speed automatic only. Neither engine is going to throw you back into the seat but there’s enough get-up-and-go to keep up with traffic around town and on the highway. If you’re looking for a little more pep, then the bigger engine in the SX and ZR variants is the way to go, and with the five-speed automatic, performance is good.
What’s it like on the road?
The Yaris is nice and easy to thread through inner-city traffic feeling comfortable and nimble. And being small enough to just about fit in your pocket, it’s a cinch to park in even the tightest of spaces. Despite the new look on the outside, the Yaris is largely the same as the new generation car from 2015; and the ride and handling - either around town or on the highway - is right at the sharp end of this compact car segment.
What safety features does it get?
Every Yaris is fitted with seven airbags, a reversing camera, vehicle stability and traction control, anti-skid brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, and an emergency brake signal that flashes the hazard lights.
Standard on the ZR (optional on Ascent and SX) is autonomous emergency braking (although not able to detect pedestrians or cyclists); there’s also lane departure warning which will chime if you veer out of your lane without using the indicators, and automatic high beam which will turn on and off faster than you can do manually.
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