Toy­ota Yaris

Safest B-seg­ment con­tender lands in In­dia

Auto Today - - Dashboard - PIC­TURES Nis­hant Jhamb

Toy­ota’s new mid-size sedan packs in safety and fea­tures from a seg­ment above. Does that mean it can hit above its own seg­ment?

Seven airbags are of­fered across the range on the new Yaris. Not just as an op­tion but as stan­dard. That’s a game-changer. And Toy­ota needs to make that kind of state­ment, con­sid­er­ing they’re late to the B seg­ment party. This gen­er­a­tion Yaris sedan is sold in other South Asian mar­kets, as the Yaris Ativ or the Vios and gets a 5-star ASEAN NCAP rat­ing. It goes back to as far as five years prior, though it was facelifted last year.

That facelift brought with it won­der­fully ex­pres­sive head­lights, with halo­gen pro­jec­tor el­e­ments. The new Toy­ota fam­ily face utilises Toy­ota’s Un­der Pri­or­ity Cata­ma­ran de­sign phi­los­o­phy, which lit­er­ally means the lower grille over­pow­ers the up­per and is vaguely shaped like the hull of a cata­ma­ran. A row of LED day­time run­ning lights sit at the top of that “hull.” A sim­ple pro­file re­veals a slightly top heavy look, with the 15-inch wheels and spindly 185/60 Goodyears not re­ally help­ing mat­ters. The rear tail lights get classy LED brow lines and fins

SEVEN AIRBAGS AS STAN­DARD IS A REAL GAMECHANGER IN THE SEG­MENT. TOY­OTA’S MAK­ING A STRONG STATE­MENT HERE

that are said to help with aero­dy­nam­ics, im­prov­ing sta­bil­ity at speed. We quite like that the lead­ing edge of the boot pinches into a spoiler.

The Yaris is based on Toy­ota’s B plat­form and di­men­sions re­veal it’s smaller than the com­pe­ti­tion ex­cept in width. Specif­i­cally, it’s 15mm shorter than the Honda City and Hyundai Verna. The cabin is spa­cious though and feels it, helped by the large glass area and light up­hol­stery. The dash is cov­ered in hard plas­tic (not scratchy though), with molded stitch­ing com­ing close to fool­ing you into be­liev­ing it’s leather. An 8-inch touch­screen with DVD player is pro­vided on the VX trim, which has Ap­ple in­te­gra­tion only, apart from Blue­tooth, HDMI con­nec­tiv­ity and USB port for charg­ing. There’s a thought­ful slim cut out for your phone right next to the hand­brake, two cup hold­ers in the cen­tral tun­nel, space for bot­tles

BOASTS OF SEG­MENT-FIRSTS, LIKE IN­SU­LATED GLASS, POW­ERED DRIVER’S SEAT, ROOF MOUNTED REAR AC VENT AND MORE

in the doors and a cooled glove­box. There’s two 12V charg­ing points for the rear and one up front, though more USB charg­ing points would’ve been wel­come. Fit­ting three adults on the rear bench will be a cinch thanks to the flat floor, though the driver’s cen­tre arm rest robs a bit of legroom for the mid­dle pas­sen­ger. The an­gle of re­cline is com­fort­able but that also moves your head closer to the slope of the roof. If you’re over 5’10”, like me, you’ll prob­a­bly find your head brush­ing up against the head­liner, though legroom and un­der thigh sup­port is gen­er­ous enough to slump down the seat a lit­tle to avoid that. Boot space at 478 litres can be ex­tended, via a 60:40 split of the seats.

Com­ing to talk­ing points, the Yaris does get a bunch of seg­ment-firsts. Like sound deadening and UV-re­duc­ing glass, four­wheel disc brakes, a roof mounted rear AC vent, front and rear park­ing sen­sors, 8-way elec­tri­cally ad­justable driver’s seat and ges­ture con­trol in­fo­tain­ment, apart from a CVT op­tion right from the base vari­ant. A lot of the other fea­tures are avail­able from the mid-level V trim to the top-level VX trim. In­ter­est­ingly, even with all the safety equip­ment and CVT trans­mis­sion, the curb weight of the top end Yaris VX is 1,135kg, with the base man­ual com­ing in 45-odd ki­los lighter. The low weight and skinny tyres have no

POW­ER­TRAIN IM­PRESSES WITH LIN­EAR DE­LIV­ERY AND SMOOTH SHIFTS BE­TWEEN EACH PRESET OF THE TRANS­MIS­SION. THERE IS, HOW­EVER, RUB­BER BAND­ING WHEN YOU GO PAST 50 PER CENT THROT­TLE

doubt helped the Yaris achieve pretty im­pres­sive ARAI fuel ef­fi­ciency fig­ures of 17.8kmpl for the CVT and 17.1kmpl for the man­ual.

That’s im­pres­sive since un­der the hood is a 1.5-litre petrol en­gine, the same one that was once of­fered on the Liva TRD model which has since been dis­con­tin­ued. It has been re­tuned for this ap­pli­ca­tion, out­putting 107bhp and 140Nm torque. Our test car came with a 7-speed preset CVT trans­mis­sion with pad­dleshifters, though a 6-speed man­ual is also avail­able. On the CVT, get­ting away from a stand­still is smooth and un­der reg­u­lar city driv­ing con­di­tions, the pow­er­train im­presses with a lin­ear de­liv­ery of power and smooth shifts be­tween each preset of the trans­mis­sion. There is how­ever pro­nounced rub­ber band­ing when you go past, say, 50 per cent throt­tle to make an over­take. It’s man­age­able above speeds of 80kmph but be­low that, the car takes a bit of time to speed up,

es­pe­cially in the first three CVT pre­sets. Down­shifts are smooth and you can se­lect a preset that puts you right at the top of the rev range if you wanted. You wouldn’t need to though, con­sid­er­ing the mid range is ad­e­quate. At 100kmph, the en­gine is tick­ing over at just un­der 2,000rpm and NVH lev­els are very, very im­pres­sive.

There’s a bit of weight that’s tuned into the steer­ing even at low speeds, help­ing the car feel heav­ier than it is and in turn boost­ing con­fi­dence when speeds in­crease. Ride qual­ity is im­pres­sive too, with a con­trolled pli­ancy to the way the Yaris tack­les sharp joints, un­du­la­tions and bro­ken sec­tions of tar­mac. Body roll is sim­i­larly con­trolled on lane changes and the Yaris has a way of mak­ing you for­get what speeds you’re do­ing.

We are told ground clear­ance has been im­proved for In­dia with a bit of lift from the sus­pen­sion and we are glad it doesn’t man­i­fest in flaky road man­ners. With disc brakes all around on the VX model we drove, bite from the ini­tial travel of the pedal is strong but not over­pow­er­ing so as to make mod­u­la­tion tough.

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1. Com­pre­hen­sive in­stru­men­ta­tion is easy-to-read. 2. 8-way elec­tri­cally ad­justable driver’s seat a seg­ment-first. 3. Ex­cel­lent place­ment of phone/wal­let stor­age, makes reach­ing for it at a stop per­fectly nat­u­ral. 4. Roof-mounted AC is a re­cir­cu­la­tor but clever fins en­sure cool air can be di­rected to pas­sen­ger’s faces. 5. Head­room might be an is­sue for pas­sen­gers taller than the av­er­age In­dian height

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1. The 2NR FE en­gine is re­fined and smooth, at low to mid en­gine speeds. Paired to the 7-speed CVT, it shows it doesn’t like be­ing hus­tled though. 2. Deep 476-litre boot im­pres­sively man­aged the lug­gage and equip­ment of five peo­ple

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sim­ran.ras­togi@in­to­day.com @run­sim­run

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