Toyota has always been known for its reliable and hassle-free ownership experience for its products, and this is exactly why a lot of Indians buy Innovas and Fortuners, but those are cars that cater to a different audience. Until 2018, Maruti, Hyundai and Honda were the only players in the mid-size sedan segment. Toyota felt like it was missing out on the action and launched the Toyota Yaris – a car that had to prove itself in a competitive segment, and in its third-generation avatar, the Yaris comes packed with features like hill launch assist, 7 airbags, ABS with EBD, all-wheel disc brakes and traction control. It is also the priciest car in its class, but Toyota offers a 3 year/unlimited km warranty that can be extended to 7 years. Let’s see if the Yaris has what it takes to pip its rivals.
The Toyota Yaris is made on the ‘B platform’. This third-generation model was introduced in overseas markets back 2013, while a facelift followed later in 2017 – and it is this very model that our market saw. Over generations, cars are bound to grow in size but the Yaris seems to be the smallest in its segment. The Yaris doesn’t come with sharp lines and angles; instead, the design cues are softer with rounded panels all over. There are some nice design elements giving it a stylish look – like the big headlights and a trapezoidal front air dam. We also like the floating body-coloured panel on the base of the air dam. You will also notice LED DRL strips, a horizontal air intake and vertical fog light housings. On the bonnet, sharp creases give it a bold appearance and the sides too, get some lovely character lines. But if you look closer, you’ll notice some awkward angles and the 15-inch wheels aren’t big enough, partly because of the car’s ride height having been increased for our market. The rear looks a bit better with those elongated tail lights and the smooth-surfaced bumper.
The cabin of the Toyota Yaris has a lot of beige, giving it a bright look. The dashboard is nicely done and the matte silver accents add to its appeal. Soft-touch plastics aren’t too many and the materials feel hard. The steering and the dashboard get artificial stitching. What we also liked was the piano-black finish on the fascia of the dashboard with silver-finish buttons for the climate control. The big fonts on the dials are easy to read and the front seats are electrically controlled – there’s good comfort on offer, but the ergonomics could’ve been better. There’s even a front armrest, which is very useful. We didn’t like how particularly cramped the footwell is..
The glass used by Toyota Cars, controls the amount of noise that gets in from outside, while the windscreen is designed keeping in mind the harmful rays from the sun. We were very happy to note how quickly the AC cools the cabin and passengers at the rear are pampered with a roof-mounted blower. Now while the backrest of the rear is a bit too upright, the seat base is definitely very comfortable, thanks to good width and under-thigh support. Headroom is a bit of an issue for tall passengers, while legroom is decent. Practicality-wise, you do get some bottle holders and cup holders, a big glovebox and 476-litres of boot capacity.
Powering the Toyota Yaris is a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine, producing 105bhp and 140Nm of torque. The engine responds well at low revs and ambles along smoothly in traffic. But it isn’t an engine that likes being hurried and the mid-range is disappointing. You tend to feel the engine’s performance only after 3500rpm and post 5800rpm, the motor begins to feel enthusiastic. The 6-speed manual ‘box works efficiently and the short throws make it a breeze to use in the city. Even the 7-step CVT works in a slick manner, making driving an effortless exercise. However, the rubber-band effect is evident but still manages to be the smoothest auto ‘box in its segment. You get paddle-shifters too, which respond quite well. The braking performance is great, thanks to discs on all four corners. The springs do feel a bit stiff but this also helps when dealing with our kind of roads, and thanks to the great ground clearance, big bumps aren’t a bother. Also, read the latest car comparisons, only at autoX.