COM­ING UP

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Used Car -

NEW These days, driv­ing a small car like the Toy­ota Yaris doesn’t mean you are poverty stricken — it of­ten means you’re smarter than the rest.

Con­ges­tion makes small cars a sen­si­ble choice for many who en­dure the daily com­mute. They’re easy to drive, easy to park and eco­nom­i­cal, with none of the pri­va­tions that made ear­lier small cars so hard to live with.

The Yaris slot­ted into the Toy­ota range un­der the Corolla when it ar­rived in 2005. Its three- and five-door hatch and four-door sedan vari­ants came in YR, YRS and YRX spec.

De­spite its di­men­sions, it was rel­a­tively roomy in­side. Front pas­sen­gers had de­cent head and legroom and those in the rear were sim­i­larly treated to sur­pris­ing space and com­fort.

The boot space wasn’t overly gen­er­ous but the rear seats folded to in­crease the space for car­ry­ing life’s ne­ces­si­ties.

Power came from a pair of four-cylin­dar en­gines, a 1.3-litre for the YR and a 1.5 for the YRS and YRX. Both were ac­cept­able per­form­ers but with more power and torque the larger en­gine was nat­u­rally the bet­ter choice, given that it was only marginally thirstier.

Trans­mis­sions were fivespeed man­ual or con­ven­tional four-speed au­to­matic. Most buy­ers chose the lat­ter de­spite the few ra­tios and the lack of a sporty man­ual shift func­tion.

On the road the Yaris was easy to drive, the han­dling was balanced and as­sured and the ride, though it could be firm, was not un­com­fort­able. NOW Such is Toy­ota’s rep­u­ta­tion that the mere men­tion of the brand con­jures the im­pres­sion of qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity. Re­view­ing the feed­back from Yaris own­ers tells a sim­i­lar tale, one of im­pec­ca­ble re­li­a­bil­ity and few, if any, prob­lems to con­cern prospec­tive own­ers.

In a model that has been around for so long, re­li­a­bil­ity and build qual­ity are par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to look for in a sec­ond-hand ex­am­ple.

They are paramount if the car the car is in­tended for a young son or daugh­ter.

Own­ers of cars that have done up to 200,000km are still happy with them and this should give shop­pers con­fi­dence to buy.

We fielded one com­plaint about tyre life but it was the only one on that sub­ject. One owner told us about the amaz­ing brake life he has ex­pe­ri­enced, he has yet to re­place the pads af­ter 11 years.

An­other owner re­ported prob­lems with peel­ing paint leav­ing con­spic­u­ous blotches, ap­par­ently an iso­lated ex­am­ple.

The Yaris en­gines have a tim­ing chain, which means there’s no re­quire­ment for reg­u­lar re­place­ment.

Ser­vic­ing is all-im­por­tant; it’s what gives cars long and re­li­able lives. Check for a ser­vice record to en­sure the one you’ve cho­sen has been well looked af­ter.

With four safety stars, the Yaris isn’t at the top of the cur­rent safety tree but it has dual front airbags, most im­por­tant for young drivers, as well as anti-lock brakes, elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion and emer­gency brake as­sist. The Yaris was re­leased be­fore elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol was man­dated. Do you own or have you owned a Mercedes-Benz ML? Send your com­ments to Gra­ham Smith at [email protected]­pond. com or Carsguide, PO Box 4245, Syd­ney, NSW 2010. OWN­ERS SAY

I have owned a 2006 YRS since new. It now has over 200,000km on the clock. It is sur­pris­ingly spa­cious, re­li­able and eco­nom­i­cal, if not the most ex­cit­ing drive. I have still to get the brake pads re­placed and usu­ally av­er­age 6.0L/100km. I in­tend to keep it for years to come, as it is yet to let me down.

I’ve had my man­ual YRS since 2006 and ab­so­lutely love it! It is such an eco­nom­i­cal car and has never let me down. It has done 101,121km and my me­chanic tells me it’s age­ing beau­ti­fully!

I find my 2009 model zippy and spa­cious for a small car, I adore the ease of ex­tend­ing the boot for gro­ceries or drop­ping the seats for some­thing big­ger. I also re­ally like the mul­ti­ple glove boxes. It’s eco­nom­i­cal on fuel, easy to park and a great ve­hi­cle.

We have owned a 2007 YRS five­door from new. Our ex­pe­ri­ence has been a pleas­ant one. We like the per­for­mance and have never been let down. We feel the car re­quires new tyres more of­ten than ex­pected; it’s now on its third set with only 73,000km on the clock. We also feel the one re­vers­ing light is to­tally in­ad­e­quate. But the com­fort, road noise, cargo ca­pac­ity, ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity and park­ing are good. SMITHY SAYS A sound sec­ond-hand choice for par­ents want­ing a safe, re­li­able car for young­sters.

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