Toyota Yaris Review
Compact and classy, all grown up
When the original Yaris came out in 2005 it was the students and young professionals car of choice, combining economical motoring with class-leading features and a spacious interior. Fast forward 15 years or so and the Yaris is a completely different vehicle, but the reasons why it is still so popular haven’t changed: it’s still cheap to run, still has more space than most of its competitors, and leads the way when it comes to safety and comfort features.
These days the Yaris, launched in 2018, is a sexy, sporty and thoroughly modern vehicle. In line with the maxim that bigger is better, the new Yaris has grown 163mm in length over its immediate predecessor, as well as 5mm in width, which makes for a significant increase in interior space for both occupants and luggage. This means that it’s comfortable for taller than average occupants, while the 310 litres of luggage space is enough for a family weekend away.
The interior has more going for it than just being spacious though, and while Toyota has designed it to be hard-wearing and long-lived, a characteristic that has been common to every generation of Yaris, this has not been at the expense of style and sophistication. Metal accents create this classy feel, while the interior is softly illuminated by an LED light for ambiance. Finally, Toyota has kept user ergonomics front of mind in designing the cabin, so the seating and operating of the vehicle’s controls are comfortable and intuitive.
The entire range of Toyota small cars (Aygo, Yaris and Etios) have just been given a tweak to make them more compelling than ever. The Yaris was given an upgraded anti-theft system, while the Xs, Sport and Cross variants receive rear Park Distance Control (PDC) as standard. This is in addition to the comprehensive standard feature list, which includes keyless entry, driver and passenger airbags, ISOFIX provision, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Hill Assist Control (HAC). As before, the infotainment system is controlled via a touchscreen audio system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto+ and Bluetooth integration.
In terms of propulsion, a modern and economical 1.5-litre petrol engine does duty across the range, making use of dual VVT-i and a DOHC 16-valve layout to deliver 79kW of power and 140Nm of torque, which is enough to make the new Yaris a zippy performer. There are options when it comes to gearboxes though, with either a five-speed manual or a Multidrive CVT (continuously variable transmission) on offer. Both are entertaining to drive, while the CVT is marginally more fuel efficient, using 5.8L/100km as opposed to the 5.9L/100km of the manual.
The Yaris prices are as follows: R241 000 for the 1.5 Xi, R266 200 for the 1.5 Xs, R281 900 for the Cross,
R282 000 for the 1.5 Xs CVT and R300 100 for the Sport. The Yaris range is covered by a 3-service/45 000km service plan and 3-year/100 000km warranty.
Low cost of ownership
Tough and reliable
Compact for zippy town driving