Toyota is desperate for a mass hit. The companies Innova and Fortuner are hits in their respective segments but fail to utilise the companies full capacity at the plant. The Corolla too, though a strong seller, fails to deliver the manufacturing capabilities the carmaker has. With only 50 percent capacity utilisation, the carmaker desperately needs a mass car, and the Yaris could well be it. But the going won’t be easy since the carmaker has to take on the likes of the Honda City and Hyundai Verna, heavyweights in their own right.
The Yaris looks like a miniature version of the Corolla Altis and that’s a good thing. The car is visually appealing and has the flair to pull in buyers to showrooms. Buyers will like the raked lamps in the front along with the heavily sculpted bumper as well. The side profile showcases the relatively compact wheelbase of the car when compared to its main rivals but that said, it is almost as wide as the leader in width, the Ciaz. The rear end is similar to the Corolla as well with its shapely lamps.
Taking on the likes of the Honda City and Hyundai Verna isn’t going to be an easy task and Toyota knows this. The carmaker has given solid equipment inside the car. You get electrical adjusted driver’s seat, seven airbags across the range, cruise control, gesture control for the stereo, auto lamps and wipers among other things. The car also gets a cooled glovebox to keep your beverages chilled on the warmest of warm days.
Buyers will also appreciate the nicely cushioned seats of the car. You get the right amount of support for the lower back and the seats are generous too for long legs. Backseat passengers will truly appreciate the roof mounted AC vents, which have a very strong throw of air. It’s surprising to see that no one else thought of this before. It’s a thoughtful touch from Toyota. The rear seat is better than the Verna’s for sheer legroom but can’t match the City for sheer space. That said, the flat floorboard and generous width ensures that the Yaris can sit three abreast over the longest of long journeys.
Engine, performance and gearbox
You get only one engine option and that’s a 1.5-litre petrol with around 108bhp. The highlight of the engine is its refinement and sheer willingness to run to it’s redline. It’s a typical Japanese motor which loves to be revved. Performance levels are adequate too and even though this engine is down on power compared to its rivals, it never feels underwhelming. The CVT-auto gearbox also does a good job of ensuring you remain relaxed. Infact this car is meant for relaxing drivers and won’t really appeal to the enthusiasts, because the engine does suffer from a bit of laziness when the revs are low. This is more pronounced if you drive the manual version.
Talking about the gearboxes, you will love the CVT. Its hassle-free nature will delight you and the step-up function means that you can change gears manually too using paddle shifters. It’s a nice and easy gearbox for the city. The manual is a typical Japanese unit, with short, sporty shifts and a positive action. The light clutch means you will enjoy shifting the gears too.
Ride and Handling
The Yaris errs on the side of comfort and is excellent for anyone who enjoys the backseat. The car glides over surfaces at slower city speeds and even as the speeds increase the car will simply stick onto the road like jelly. The car offers a nice and cosseting ride with minimal intrusion from the surfaces of the road affecting it.
The steering though is a bit soggy and doesn’t offer the same sharp feedback as the Verna or City. This isn’t a car for the keen driver and that’s something you will notice when you push it into a corner. There is plenty of roll and you would want for better feedback from the steering.
Don’t think of the Yaris as just a rival for the Honda City and Hyundai Verna but think of it as a miniature version of the Altis. Yes, it offers you about 90 percent of what the Altis does at only 75 percent of the price. Yes, it has been worth the long wait.