Yaris is Toyota’s first serious attempt at penetrating into the mid-size car market in India, dominated by the two strong players Honda City & Hyundai Verna, over the years. Is this new entrant, armed with a host of segment first features strong enough to alter the segment positions? While we would come up with a detailed road test and a comparison story a little later, let’s look at the some first impressions from the test drive we had.
Toyota Yaris Exteriors
The Toyota Yaris displays bold character lines and a forward stooping stance that gives a sense of good aerodynamics to the car. A big front grille is complemented by a lean pair of projector headlamps that makes it look sleek & futuristic. The LED Day-time Running Lamps (DRLs) are interestingly placed atop the front grille, away from the headlamp cluster where one usually expects them to be. Split rear tail lamps at the back look smart and come with bright LEDs.
When viewed from the side, Yaris does not form a very sporty silhouette. The length of the car & its stout form however gives an impression of good space inside. Chunky chrome door handles are nice to hold. 15 inch alloys seems a bit small and leaves plenty of hollow space under the wheel arcs. Yaris styling may not be as pronounced (read attention seeking) as in the case with some of its segment competitors, however it does appear modern and very functional.
Toyota Yaris Interiors & Features
As you step in, you’ll notice beige and black interior colour scheme with bits of chrome around door & dashboard area. The steering is nice to hold and the door closes with a nice thud. Use of good quality materials inside gives a long lasting feel to the car. Top variant of Yaris comes with premium leather upholstery and 8-way electrically adjustable driver seat. Lower variants have beige fabric seats. Other premium features like the Push Start Button, Cruise Control & Paddle Shifters can be availed on higher versions of Yaris, thus making it an aspirational purchase for many.
Instrument panel embodies large, easy to read dials along with a bright TFT Multi information Display (MID). Central console houses a 7 inch touch screen navigation plus audio system with 6 speakers and equipped with the segment first air gesture control feature allowing you to carry out a host of tasks like swipe through screens, switch across radio channels & control audio levels, etc., without even touching the screen.
We didn’t however like some ergonomics bits in the car like the gear lever reach and the front armrest position. It’s almost impossible to make use of the driver armrest due to its pushed back position; slide adjustment is sorely missed here. Front armrest protruding in the rear passenger space makes things worse & takes away the advantage of a near flat floor in the rear.
The fully automatic temperature control is supported by roof mounted vents on the rear unlike others offering AC vents under front seats or at knee levels. This according to us is another nice segment first feature on Yaris, which ensures faster cooling for the rear passengers. The spread of air is even and a top mount makes it easy for the rear passenger to operate it as well. There is also a rear sun curtain on offer for enhanced comfort. Knee room for the rear passenger is good and the backrest recline angle provides for a comfortable posture during long highway runs. A proper under thigh support is lacking however & seating three adults in the rear may be an uncomfortable proposition.
Boot space at 476 Ltr isn’t the best in its segment, though you may split fold the seats (60:40) to accommodate long pieces of luggage, if needed.
Toyota Yaris Safety features
Toyota Yaris boasts of a bunch of advance safety features, some of these being the segment first for the Indian market. A standard 7 airbags are offered across the variant range. Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) & Brake Assist (BA) are also available right from the base variant onward. Yaris is also the first car in the segment to offer features like parking sensors in front bumper and a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) preventing it from being driven with low tyre pressure and thus help you avoid punctures. Even though it comes with two rear cameras for safe reversing, the image on the screen is not very sharp & clear and lack of graphic guide lines while reversing makes it cumbersome to judge obstacles behind.
Other safety features on offer include all four disc brakes, Hill Start Assist Control along with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).
Toyota Yaris Engine & Performance
One most noticeable thing about the Yaris range is the absence of a diesel powertrain on board. Yes, Yaris would be available with only one engine option i.e., Petrol 1.5 Ltr motor churning out 107 PS of power and 140 Nm of torque.
In terms of transmission, it comes mated with a 6 speed manual and a 7 speed CVT option. The engine feels refined and silent at usual cruising speeds, however lacks punch at the lower end. The engine feels very refined, however, is not a punchy performer, like say the City or Verna.
The car pulls late, post 3000rpm and driving enthusiasts will be a bit put-off by this fact. However, the ride quality is very good and superior to most of its competition. It is best suited for comfortable cruising and a supple ride quality ensures decent comfort for the passenger easily gliding through any bad roads & broken tarmac.
Toyota Yaris Mileage
The claimed fuel efficiency under test conditions is 17.1 for the Manual Transmission & 17.8 for the CVT. However, we expect that the car will return around 11 km/l in the city and around 15km/l on the highway for the manual. The CVT should return around 9-10km/l in the city and around 15km/l on the highway. These are in real driving conditions. However we will be able to conclude it better when we do a detailed road test.
Lack of a diesel powertrain option would make it unappealing to a large section of mid-size sedan buyers, but for those seeking a long lasting, reliable & efficient car for their everyday driving needs Toyota Yaris would be a good offering to rely upon. The CVT options available across all variants and therefore at different price points makes it more accessible for all. A higher emphasis on safety features together with rich features further support the case.
Very soon the bookings would begin and a formal price announcement in the month of May will eventually help us decide if this really would form a great value for your hard earned money. We are hoping it would..