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.