Toyota Yaris Road Test, Review
While technically not a direct competitor – Yaris is classified a ‘light car’, the Kia a ‘micro car’, I tend to lump them all together.
From the outside the Yaris is actually pretty stylish.
Toyota ED2 design studio in the south of France performed most of the design work. From the front the bonnet and grill look quite bold and with purpose.
The Yaris has strong hip lines rising towards the back and the rear, an area where many hatch vehicles fall away, retains the bold stance.
So the first impression was pretty good, but I wasn’t looking forward to sitting inside.
My experience with a number of these smaller cars is that it is difficult and cramped for someone my size.
However there was more than enough seat slide for me to feel comfortable as well as enough head and shoulder room.
The seats are comfortable and I know the pricing is sharp, but I would really like a lumbar support.
You kind of adapt to the driving position, rather than specifically arranging it for you.
I like the dash dial arrangement. The large central dial with a heap of information is practical.
Toyota has introduced an upgraded feel to the dash and other areas with a darker tone. The 6.1-inch display audio screen provides touch, drag and flick operations familiar to users of smartphones or tablets.
While the dash and centre stack controls are well placed and easy to read and use, the centre console is lacking any form of arm rest.
That is annoying and would be uncomfortable on longer trips, and removes a useable storage area.
There is the usual cup holders etc, but to be honest the storage is something that could you could use more of.
The rear passengers have a fairly flat bench seat, but the flat footwall means that they have space for their feet.
There just isn’t much room for anyone there for longer than a trip to the shops. The boot area again is fairly large for this size vehicle and the rear seats fold to allow a practical larger area.
The Ascent-grade is well equipped, featuring cruise control, a display audio system with controls on the steering wheel spokes, a multi-information display, electric power steering, power windows and mirrors and a 12-volt accessory socket.
The Yaris Ascent we drove was powered (sorry that wasn’t meant to be a pun) by the 1.3 litre four-cylinder petrol engine.
This produces 63kW of power and 120Nm.
The Ascent comes with a 5 speed manual transmission.
For around town trips it is spritely enough. The transmission is smooth but the clutch had a high take up point which took more time to get used to.
The benefit of the smaller engine is fuel economy which is around 5.8 L/100 combined.
Driving the Yaris was actually a lot of fun. The small engine and manual transmission worked well together and I found myself actually enjoying my time with the car. It was also pretty quiet.
The key to this market is providing safety as a feature and the Yaris Ascent comes with a 5 star ANCAP safety rating.
Every Yaris is fitted with seven airbags, a reversing camera, vehicle stability and traction control, anti-skid brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, and an emergency brake signal that flashes the hazard lights.
This is in addition to a strong safety cell surrounding the passengers.
Advanced safety features are available as a $650 option on the Ascent.
These include – a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking, lane departure alert and automatic high beam.
So to sum up, the Toyota Yaris Ascent was surprisingly pleasant to drive.
It is very stylish for its size and barks above it weight in looks, so to speak. However the bark turns to no bite with the engine, but it is fun nevertheless.
Every new Yaris is covered by Toyota Service Advantage capped-price servicing at a maximum of $140 per service.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Toyota Yaris Ascent
- Engine: 1.3 litre petrol producing 63kW/120Nm
- Transmission: Five speed manual
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $18,765