- Published On: 19 April 2018
- 4 min read
Just how good is Toyota’s new Honda City and Hyundai Verna challenger.
The company has been wanting to take the fight to the Honda and the Hyundai and with this car, the Yaris, it hopes that it can offer a credible rival. The Yaris will get both manual and automatic versions right from the word go and prices will be competitive since the company sources a lot of its content locally. The car looks quite mature, and it comes with a sporty air dam, an aggressive nose, headlights and badge that gel nicely with the rest of the nose. The Yaris looks a bit smaller in the flesh than you expect though. Also, the Yaris in India will only be available with a petrol engine that makes 107hp. The 1.5-litre petrol is mated to a six-speed manual or a seven-step CVT automatic.
This car has a lot of safety tech – it comes with seven airbags, including a knee bag as standard – on all variants. You also get disc brakes on all four wheels (on the V and VX versions), ESP, traction control, and a tyre pressure warning system. The 1.5-litre unit is smooth at idle and is very responsive to initial taps on the accelerator. The engine prefers to be driven in a relaxed manner – revs build at a leisurely pace and progress is so relaxed. But you end up having to downshift quite often when overtaking because of this. The gearshift is easy to engage and only needs an extra nudge or push occasionally. The clutch is nicely weighted too and driving with the CVT automatic is even nicer. There's even a 'manual mode' via the paddles behind the steering. Where this car shines is ride quality – while there is a hint of firmness at low speeds - but overall speed and comfort is very impressive. The ride is silent; there's no secondary movement and the car remains stable throughout, you don’t get tossed around like you do in the Verna and City do. There are disc brakes on all four wheels (V and VX versions), so you feel pretty secure at high speeds. This is definitely not a fun car to drive – the steering feels vague and lifeless; there's almost no connection with the front wheels as speeds rise and cross triple- digit figures.
On the inside, there’s a beige and black scheme and 'waterfall' centre console, which works well. There’s a powered driver seat with a range of adjustment. The seats are wide and comfortable and this cabin almost feels like it’s from its bigger sister, the Corolla. The layered dash, the chunky steering wheel, the bulging doorpads; there's a lot of Corolla bits. You also get a 4.2-inch colour TFT screen with soft-touch air-con buttons function that work quite well. Fit and finish isn’t the best in its class – there are lots hard and unyielding plastics on the dash, and lower down the cabin you go, the worse it gets. While the gesture control has myriad gesture controls is a nice addition, and the car is available with Apple Car Play or Android Auto. You get a large boot that stands at 476 litres and is extremely practical too. The front seats are also extremely comfortable. Rear-seat comfort is also good and there's a fair amount of legroom as well. Headroom is a bit tight if you are over 6ft tall and though the Yaris does have a good back seat, it isn't nearly as nice as that of the City.
So, the Yaris is a jack of all trades, it does almost everything quite well, but it doesn’t really stand out in many departments. It’s a car that’s quite typically a Toyota, and if the reliability of the Toyota brand appeals to you, the Yaris is a car you’ll be happy with.