The latest Toyota Yaris was launched just over a year ago and continues to perform well in the new light car segment, right up there with the Hyundai Accent and Mazda2.
In my hands were the keys to the middle of the range Yaris SX so let’s see what you get for $19,610.
With that update came new external styling, which is a boost for the model.
I’ve been critical of Toyotas for being too boring and uninspired (this is not taking into account their reputation for reliability and maintenance).
But the new design adds some flair producing an attractive car on par with the likes of the Mazda2.
The big wide-mouth grille, fog light surrounds, chrome highlights and swage lines mix it up a bit while maintaining its rounded, cute and compact look.
Hmm, though the same can’t be said about the interior. It still appears dated and on the simplistic side.
Though there are some glossy black inserts, the cabin is mostly black plastic with few features on the dashboard.
However, being a lower spec, entry level type car, I didn’t really expect more of the Toyota Yaris.
The seats are a soft fabric and Toyota does nice headrests that are shaped to blend in with rest of the seat.
To boot is small of course but still accommodating and is two-tiered.
The floor panel can be adjusted to make it higher to carry more stuff, or placed on a higher rung to be flush with the folded down rear seats.
Speaking of the rear seats, there are three tether points for child/baby seats – a feature not always included even in some larger cars.
And complimenting that are ISOFIX ports on the other side.
The Toyota Yaris SX has satellite navigation viewed on the partitioned, albeit small, touchscreen.
Gauges are classic with a little LCD driver info display lit in orange.
It comes with Bluetooth, cruise control and auto headlights as well as a single front windscreen wiper which is all you need for a small and narrow window.
A/C controls are manual but this keeps it straightforward and the rest of the switchgear are easy to operate with large buttons and knobs on the dash and steering wheel.
Only annoyances were the roof mounted middle seatbelt (may obstruct if hanging down or latched) and the long, skinny metal gearstick which could be improved by beefing it up or raising the floor console.
Not much can be expected of 80kW/141Nm coming from a 1.5 litre engine.
Despite this it move well for a car this small and is just easy and simple to operate with an uncomplicated gearbox and surprisingly direct steering.
It tends to rev high when pushed but once again, does well for the power it’s given.
Fuel economy was just under 8.0L /100km which is higher than I would have predicted.
Not much in this department apart from the usual airbags and the like.
But there is an optional extra to add a Toyota Safety Sense package only available in the top spec Yaris XR.
So, the model I tested was fitted with lane departure and autonomous emergency braking which can be included for $650 which I think is money well spent.
- Attractive appearance
- Fun to drive
- AEB (as optional extra)
Not so good bits
- Interior styling
- Minimal features
There’s something about driving a small, simple, no-frills car.
The Toyota Yaris is easy to park, steers well, big and basic controls, has just enough space in the boot for everyday needs, and great to scoot around in from side of town to the other.
Sure, the interior may be uninspired but improvements have been made to the outward appearance.
Additions of sat-nav, AEB and lane departure tech make it a winner for $19,610.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Toyota Yaris SX
- Engine: 1.5L petrol 80kW/141Nm
- Transmission: Four-speed automatic
- Warranty: 3 Yrs/100,000km
- Safety: Five Stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: From $19,61012