The Advertiser - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -


At $17,990 drive-away, the Yaris As­cent is one of the best buys in the city-car class. That price takes it about $2000 below its full RRP, although it has been in dis­count mode for the bet­ter part of a year. Stan­dard fare in­cludes cruise con­trol, rear-view cam­era, au­dio touch­screen, steer­ing wheel au­dio con­trols and auto up driver’s power win­dow. Service costs ($840 over three years) are the low­est in the busi­ness. Metal­lic paint adds $450.


The gar­ish grille may not ap­peal to ev­ery­one but for a small car the Yaris is big in­side. There’s enough room for four to travel in com­fort and rea­son­able space for lug­gage or shop­ping. The rims are the same size as the Holden (15 inches in di­am­e­ter) but they’re steel wheels with plas­tic cov­ers — they’ll be cheaper to re­place if you scratch them.


The 1.3-litre four-cylin­der has served the Yaris well. It’s fairly eco­nom­i­cal (5.7L/100km) de­spite be­ing matched to an out­dated four-speed auto. How­ever, the en­gine and trans­mis­sion get the job done and work smoothly — if a lit­tle more nois­ily than the lat­est com­bi­na­tions.


Seven airbags and five-star safety rat­ing. A rearview cam­era also takes the guess­work out of re­verse park­ing. The Blue­tooth works re­ally well and phone calls can be an­swered or can­celled at the press of a but­ton on the steer­ing wheel.


The Yaris isn’t go­ing to win a For­mula One grand prix but it drives bet­ter than most peo­ple re­alise. It feels sure-footed on the road — wet or dry — and the steer­ing and brakes are sharp and pre­cise for such a small car. The im­age may be bor­ing but the car cer­tainly isn’t.

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