Lit­tle won­der

It may be a daft name, but the Yaris is syn­ony­mous with re­li­a­bil­ity

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

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.

NOW

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.

SMITHY SAYS

If you’re a small-car shop­per, give the Yaris a go. It’s a good lit­tle car.

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