It may be a daft name, but the Yaris is synonymous with reliability
Downsizing makes sense in this gridlocked world. The smaller models are now serious cars for most people rather than, as they once were, only for the cash-strapped.
Last decade, marketing men used terms like refined’’,
sophisticated’’ and safe’’— words that had not been synonymous with mini motors. The Yaris was Toyota’s entry in the new smallest car world. The stylish newcomer had broad appeal with the choice of three- or five-door hatch, sedan, two four-cylinder engines and five-star crash safety.
Compared to its predecessor, the Echo, the Yaris comes up trumps for its roominess and comfort. Front passengers are treated to improved comfort and rear occupants given more space.
The two engines are a 1.3-litre four-cylinder that delivered 63 kW/ 121 Nm, and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit that gave a more useful 80kW/ 141Nm.
With extra power and torque, and only marginally greater fuel consumption, the larger engine is clearly the one to go for. It delivers a smooth drive and sits comfortably on the highway speed limit. The smaller engine’s near-parity fuel use is due to it working harder to get the job done.
Transmission choices are a fivespeed manual gearbox and a fourspeed auto. The latter lacks a manual mode, but that’s nothing to be concerned about— those systems aren’t often used in any case.
Testers at the time praised the Yaris’s comfort and build quality, rating it higher than its rivals.
Its ride was rated as comfortable, its handling responsive. The cabin had ample hidden cubbies.
There’s a perception of Toyota quality and reliability but the reality is they can all break down.
The Yaris is generally sound and has no serious flaws that would concer potential buyers. The engines are robust and reliable, as are transmissions and drivelines.
Reports we have received from Yaris owners show they are happy with the reliability and resale values of their cars. They also praise the roomy cabin, the storage space, the performance and the fuel economy.
Their criticisms are that the headlights are inadequate outside urban areas, the seats are small and unsupportive, the throttle is jerky, and the front grounds out when crossing drains and gutters. Tyres cost $200 each and generally wear out in 30,000km.
Check for a record that shows a regular routine of servicing (at 10,000km intervals). The Yaris, as with all modern cars, thrives on fresh oil and clean filters and missing regulat services only leads to greater expense in the long term. As it’s a small car and often bought by those on a tight budget, servicing can be neglected, with some owners hoping to pass the vehicle on before trouble strikes.
If you’re a small-car shopper, give the Yaris a go. It’s a good little car.