The much anticipated Toyota Yaris is here, and will take on the incumbents in the C-segments like the Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna and the Czech-German duo of the Skoda Rapid and VW Vento. Toyota has loaded the Yaris with segment first features and its build quality and finish is something that we haven’t seen in Toyota cars in the sub-10 lakh rupee segment till date. It’s got a super insulated cabin, rich interior, a fabulous ride quality and dependable handling. Sure, it has its own downsides too, and we’re going to discuss all the pros and cons in this detailed review
Toyota Yaris India Video Review
For those of you who would rather watch the video than read the review, here’s our super exhaustive video review covering the new Toyota Yaris to the last detail.
Toyota Yaris Engine and performance
To start off, there’s no diesel on offer here, and we don’t think Toyota is planning to plonk in an oil burner into the Yaris’ engine bay either. It’s powered by a 1.5 litre naturally aspirated dual VVT-i engine, which has dual variable valve timing for inlet as well as exhaust valves for oodles of torque across the rev range. The power output is rated at 107PS @ 6000 rpm, while the peak torque is 140 Nm @ 4200 revs. The engine is mated with a 7-speed CVT-i auto, as well as a six speed manual transmission. The fuel efficiency for the Yaris is rated at 17.1 kmpl for the manual version, while the CVT-i version, surprisingly, offers a higher mileage figure of 17.8 kmpl. The engine isn’t class leading in terms of power, with the Honda City and the Hyundai Verna delivering better figures, though it’s better than the Ciaz and the Skoda Rapid.
The engine feels strong at the bottom and mid revs. It isn’t the most free-revving units within the segment though. It gets noisy past 3500 mark, and not in a very enthusiast friendly way. It’s very refined in the lower to mid revs though and part throttle is responded to very well with reassuring in gear acceleration. Mash the right pedal, and the CVT’s limitations in swapping ratios very swiftly are apparent, though for a CVT it does its job quite well. You can also choose to shift manually through the drive selector or the steering mounted paddle shifter. In manual mode, the transmission hangs on to the revs until its 6200 revs redline before upshifting automatically in lower gears, though post 3rd gear it tends to upshift slightly earlier.
The six speed manual transmission stick-shifter knob is finished very well and feels nice to hold. It has short throws, though there is a wee bit of rubberiness to the shift action. It’s not the slickest manual shift units out there, though it isn’t too bad either as it slots into the gates with reasonable reassurance. The engine feels noisy after 3500-4000 revs on the manual transmission version as well.
The engine’s highlight is its fuss-free nature, good tractability at the lower end, where it’ll trundle along in low revs in high gears all day long and its suitability for relaxed driving in city as well as on the highway. In-city fuel efficiency for both variants can be extended to 13-14 kmpl with a light foot, and on the highway with a very light foot, at cruising speeds, we actually saw the MID showing an average economy of up to 20 kmpl.
All in all, it’s a practical engine which performs well from an everyday use perspective and should return respectable fuel efficiency in both manual and auto variants. It is not well suited for enthusiasts though, and if you wish to buy the Yaris to drive sportily, you should probably be looking elsewhere.
Toyota Yaris Interior, Features, Space and Comfort
To start off, the Yaris comes loaded with features. There are four variants in all – J, G, V and VX. The manual version is available only until the V variant though. Of these, even the base J variant comes loaded with goodies such as 7 airbags, ABS with EBD + BA, projector headlamps, keyless entry, 60:40 split seats with ISOFIX mounts and seat height adjustment for the driver. The base variant also gets special High Solar Energy Absorption (HSEA) glass with Infra Red cutting (IR cut) tech, which helps keep the cabin cooler and reduces A/C power consumption to enhance fuel efficiency by some margin.
The G variant gets push button start, automatic climate control, roof mounted rear A/C vents with ambient light, a 4.2 inch colour TFT screen in the instrument console for the multi information display, rear parking sensors, and a seven inch touch-screen infotainment system. This variant also gets special glass on the windows that absorbs vibrations and cuts noise inside the cabin. The variant also gets rear parking sensors, speed sensitive door locks which unlock upon sensing impact.
Over and above the features in the J and G trims, the V variant, which is also the top end variant for the manual version, gets alloy wheels, LED line-guide on headlamps, auto headlamps with follow me home function, rain sensing wipers, rear disc brakes, front parking sensors, LED rear combination lamps and cruise control.
Finally, the top of the line VX variant, available only with CVT transmission gets leather seats, LED DRLs, chrome door handles, rear sun blinds, 8-way adjustable powered driver seat, paddle shifter on steering wheel, vehicle stability control, hill start assist and tyre-pressure monitoring system. It’s notable that while the 7-inch screen on the VX is same in size as the V version, it gets additional features such as Air Gestures, MirrorLink and Wi-Fi hotspot along with an SD card driven Navigation system.
While the infotainment system is very feature rich, sounds well and can play media through almost every medium you can imagine, it’s not Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compliant, and that’s a bit of downer for us.
The front seats are very comfortable with great bolstering and support and give you a nice snug fit as soon as you get seated. The dashboard is finished in black-beige and the materials, as well as the finish is easily one of the best in segment. The centre console gets a nice piano black finish with silver accents in places. The dash itself is a two layered waterfall design and looks very nice. The automatic air-conditioning works very well, and chills the cabin in good time.
The leather wrapped steering wheel feels nice to hold and comes with mounted controls. It’s adjustable only for rake though and is not telescopic. You get two cup-holders under the instrument console, which can double up as a space for putting your wallet or a cellphone. There’s another little slot as a cellphone stand followed by a twelve volt socket. There’s an armrest too, which has some space underneath – enough to store a wallet along with a couple of cellphones. The roof area between the front passengers gets a sun shade compartment, and there’s a coin compartment too next to the steering wheel. The front door panels have space for a large sized one litre bottle, though the rear panels can store only a half litre unit. The rear passengers also get a central armrest with a pair of cup-holders.
Back at the second row, the width and headroom is not too generous. If you’re over 5’11” you’re going to be brushing your head with the roof at all times. The leg and knee room is decent though and isn’t worth complaining. The central passenger gets his own proper seat belt and an adjustable head-rest. The Yaris’ rear seat contouring for the side passengers is pretty good and it’s a very comfortable seat for long distances if you’re going to be seating only two average sized passengers at the back. There’s a pair of 12 volt sockets for the rear passengers too and the roof mounted AC vents deflect air through flaps, which works very well. The back benchers also get a pair of roof mounted reading lights.
Boot space on the Yaris is 476 litres, which is par for the course, and is less compared only to the Ciaz and City, both of which get 510 litres of boot space. Under the floorboard you get a full sized spare on a steel wheel.
A standout feature of the Yaris’ cabin is its fantastic noise and vibration insulation. It has to be the best insulated cabin in its segment. Also, coupled with the fabulous ride quality, which is the best in segment, the comfort quotient inside the cabin goes up a few notches. The space at the rear is not the best in class, but if there are only four occupants in the car, with the back benchers being less than 5′ 11″, the comfort levels would be pretty high.
Toyota Yaris Design and Styling
The Yaris looks like a premium, well-finished product in the flesh. The front section, with its detailed horizontally set headlamps unit looks very nice. The Toyota badge sits in the middle of the body coloured nose between the two headlamps. The bumper gets a wide, and tall central air dam with horizontal elements to make the front look quite distinctive and premium, and is flanked by two curvy aprons housing the fog-lamps, further adding to the premium appearance of the car. We quite like the way the front of the car looks, with all its attention to detail and those nicely styled headlamps with LED guide lights and DRLs, which give it a mini-Corolla look.
On the sides, the car gets 15 inch wheels, a gently downward sloping roofline mid-roof onwards with a shark fin antenna and a sharply tapering pointy end to the green-house into the C pillar. The car looks smart from the sides and the gentle creases on the doors add some visual attraction to an otherwise simplistic, sophisticated treatment. The door handles are finished in chrome for the top of the line VX variant, with ORVM mounted blinkers and a blacked out B-pillar. At the rear, the car gets horizontally set tail-lamps with an LED combination lamp, fog lamps, as well as an LED guide light to make it stand out in the dark as well.
Overall, the Yaris looks like a premium product. It’s visibly smaller than its rivals though the quality and attention to detail is very apparent on the exterior. It’s an international product, and while it isn’t too flashy, it did manage to impress us with its fine build quality, fabulous paint quality, and sophisticated, well-detailed design which adds to its premium appeal.
Toyota Yaris Ride, Handling and Driving Dynamics
Without a shade of doubt, the Yaris offers the best ride quality in the class. It simply glides over even the more vicious potholes and filters out the resultant jerk in the most amazing way possible. It rides slightly on the firmer side, but is beautifully damped and the way it takes the jarring Indian surfaces in its stride is testimony to the quality of its heavy duty underpinnings. It’s very European in the way its rides, minus their overly firm, sometimes stiff nature – it’s really a beautiful suspension setup, which suits the Indian conditions very well. The noise insulation is fantastic too, and together with the beautiful ride quality, makes the cabin very quiet and comfortable.
The handling is very well sorted too and the Yaris maintains its line in a straight line and around bends very well. Even during our double lane change manoeuvres the car maintained its composure with very well controlled body roll, offering a very poised feel. The all disc brake setup on the top variants also makes the braking on this car one of the most reassuring within the segment.
Now while the Yaris is very stable and feels safe and solid in a straight line, as well as around bends, it isn’t really the best car for the enthusiasts. That engine isn’t the biggest smile inducer out there, and the steering too is rather light and lacks communication. For all practical purposes though, the Yaris offers a very fine blend of super absorbent ride quality and reliable handling.
Toyota Yaris Verdict
The Yaris has a premium design, fantastic build quality, tons of features, quality cabin, extraordinary ride quality, reassuring handling and a quality Toyota feel going for it. From a practical standpoint, it comes across as a fabulously well engineered product which is out to prove a point in terms of quality and attention to detail. It isn’t the best performer though, and will not appeal much to the enthusiasts. There isn’t a diesel option either, so if you want an oil burner, this one isn’t for you.
The Yaris, at this point is an absolute revelation for the segment in terms of the sheer quality feel about it, and the long list of features it has. It’s a premium product, and feels every bit that in the way it looks, feels and drives. The engine transmission combo too (both manual and auto), though not the best performer, is very well suited to those who want practicality.
Downsides include the lack of shoulder and head space at the rear, lack of outright performance and the engine which tends to get noisy after 4000 revs and the overall size which doesn’t look as big as the rivals.
We’ll wait for the prices to be announced, and will let you know our final verdict when he have them.