Automotive review : A glimpse at the Toyota Yaris

Statutory warning just so that you don’t waste your time : People who don’t like to read car reviews can skip this post. I don’t think this post will interest you.

Thanks to my friends (Vineeth and Romy) who helped me with some important edits

Some of the pics were taken in my mobile cam, and every time I had to blank the number plates for obvious reasons. 

The car has some layers of dust, let me blame the sand storm for making the car look dirty.


Hey folks,

We all know that Toyota as a car manufacturer, has been a major player in most of the continents across the globe. They sell cars like hot cakes, no matter which market they are competing in. So today I got the chance to experience hands on, one of the hottest selling entry level model of Toyota, the Yaris (sedan). It is one of the most ‘in demand’ cars  in the entire GCC market in the entry level sedan segment. Even after a major recall in 2014, it still pretty much continues its run on the top. Also in terms of resale value, there’s no beating Toyota. So I’m going to try and figure out what’s the reason that makes the new 2014 Yaris one of the most loved entry level cars.

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Reviewing the Yaris for its ability to deliver high performance or cornering would be like judging a fish based on its ability to climb a tree. Frankly, that is not the purpose of this car. Hence to do a fair review, I would stick to reviewing its purpose and check out where it excels/ where it is not up to the mark.

The car we are seeing today is the base SE version of the 2014 Toyota Yaris. It has 18,000 km on its odo and was purchased around a year ago. I drive this car with full load in the boot and the picture of which is shown in the interiors section of this post.

A Retrospect :

Talking about Yaris (in UAE), Toyota introduced the  Yaris in 2006, and it was an instant hit.  It was later updated  in 2009. Apart from visual updates, there were no changes in the mechanical side and the car continued to churn out 86 hp with some 120 N-m torque. It also came with a 5 speed manual box along with the 4 speed automatic, which is dropped in the recent 2014 update. So now the standard is 4 speed automatic across all variants. Some pics of the old Toyota Yaris,

2006 Yaris

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  2009 Toyota Yaris

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(Thanks Google for the images)

About the 2014 Toyota Yaris:

The late 2013 brought a smile to the common man’s face. He was overjoyed by the fact that Yaris no more looked and felt a cheap car anymore, thanks to Toyota’s design. The new Yaris was loaded with features (which is not common for a Toyota) and felt much more premium and executive than the previous generation.

To review the Yaris, I turned into a common man (which I am) and set my mind to expectations that a common man would have from his car.

In the UAE, there are three major types of roads and I tested our little Yaris in all those three road conditions before I wrote down this mini review.

Jam packed traffic condition:

A common sight in UAE, there is no avoiding traffic. If you don’t find traffic here, you will definitely find traffic there and sometimes everywhere. So I went through the heaviest of traffic in Sharjah Industrial area to see how restless I get with the car or how uncomfortable I feel at the end of the exercise.

Express highways:

For travelling from one emirate to another, there is no better option than an express highway. It is an unavoidable part of motoring in UAE and hence I test this car on E311 for its capabilities on express ways. I travelled around 30 kms on the E311 at the prescribed speed limit to check how well it goes.

Lonely deserted roads :

If a common man (he or she) gets frustrated with his life, with the mundane chores, with his/her noisy partner or his/her very naughty kid and decides to leave for somewhere calm for a while, how would this car be for that purpose. I have taken this car to the lost emirate of Umm-Al-Qwwain, as lonely as it can get to check if I would feel any good and refreshed.

Some facts and figures:

YARIS SE YARIS SE+ YARIS SE Sport
ENGINE

 1.5 L I4 FWD

POWER

107 hp @ 6000 rpm

TORQUE

141.2 Nm @ 4200 rpm

TOP SPEED

175 – 180 kmph

TRANSMISSION

4 speed Auto

PRICE 53,500 AED (ex-showroom) 56,700 AED (ex-showroom) 58,500 AED (ex-showroom)
DEALERS IN UAE

Al-Futtaim motors LLC

FEATURES:

The Yaris comes in 3 versions:

  1. SE
  2. SE +
  3. SE Sport

The Base SE variant gets features like Central locking, Power windows, 2 standard Airbags, ABS with brake assist, Anti-theft system with immobilizer, 4 speakers and USB/AUX ports, option for fog lamps.

SE+: 6 speakers, Steering mounted controls, Key less entry, Chrome door handle with push lock button, Auto air conditioning, Engine push start/stop button, Front fog lamps.

SE Sport: Rear spoilers, Mud flaps, 15” alloy wheels.

Apart from these 3 this year Toyota has launched a 60th anniversary edition- which adds Bluetooth connectivity and diamond stitched leather seats with all the above options, with the same price as the sport version. Pretty cool eyyy!

I have driven all the three generations of Yaris from 2006 to the recent one, and on basis of that let me go ahead compiling this post as follows,

Keys:

The base variant has the normal keys with mounted controls. The mid and top variants with full options get Smart keys.

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The normal base version key, with the spare for base variant
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Smart Key for the mid and top variant

Design & Exterior:

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In short, Toyota got it perfectly right here. They have nailed it. There is nothing more you can expect from an entry level sedan. The design and exteriors of the Yaris leaves me baffled as to why one should buy a Corolla. True that the Corolla has 2.0L engine and an extra addition of chrome lining at the front grill but if the eyes are not stressed hard enough, the Corolla can be easily mistaken for a Yaris and vice-versa.

The ORVM is painted same as the body color and the paint job is excellent, with the car having 8 shades on the whole including metallic grey and blue. Also, the new design language of the Yaris, especially from the side profile makes it look a lot longer than it really is, thus increasing the perceived size of the car and becoming very eye catchy as a bigger model.

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The rear looks very elegant and very similar to the design of Corolla. The higher end version has rear spoiler which I am yet to see on the roads.

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The top variant gets projector headlights as standard; but this market hardly notices because of the abundance of well lit streets.

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Yaris comes shod with 175/65 R14 for the low and mid variants, while the top variant gets bigger, wider rubber in 185/60 R15 size.

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The little curves and designs on the front and the fenders are appreciable. Overall it’s an amazing car to look at for an entry level sedan and looks very executive and looks quite grown up. The overall design is a very welcome change.

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The ground clearance is approximately 150 mm which is very decent considering the roads it is driven on. The wheelbase is 2550 mm. It’s 4620 mm long, 1776 mm wide and 1460 mm tall.

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The front grill points as a slight curve towards the logo and this design looks pleasant to our eyes.

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Interiors:

Open the doors and the first thing you notice is the beige fabric seats. Personally I am no fan of beige, I like my car seats black or in dark shades. But then Toyota offers an option for black fabric seats as well apart from the Ivory one. Actually they look much better than the Ivory and my money is always on the black blue shade.

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This is called Ivory fabric by Toyota.

The back seats have ample leg room. Kindly note that I am 5’11” and I find the leg room very comfy. This was not the scenario in previous Yaris model, which felt a bit cramped. (err… I never sat in the back seats of an old gen Yaris, hence this is a lie… sorry)

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Knee selfie. First of its kind 😀

You get two oval speakers at the back, and two oval speakers in the front. The quality of the sound system is decent and not great. It does meet my expectation though and I was happy with the sound.

One of the things that I noted, if I had no USB plugged in, then the head unit wouldn’t show the USB option. Similarly if the Aux cable was not plugged in, it wouldn’t show the Aux option in the different modes list. The switches on the ICE felt like the push switches on old school tape recorders but was rubberized. I liked that, it was nostalgic.

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The lever to adjust the seats are below and at the left side as in the normal case and is manual adjustment. (lol, that’s a keen observation)   There is one charging point which is just above the free space before the gear lever.

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The 3 spoke steering wheel looks good and it gets steering mounted controls from the mid SE+ variant. The indicators and wiper controls are short stalks located right behind the steering wheels. Apart from this there are cup holders towards the left end and right end of the dashboard, which comes out when pushed and can be pushed back again once the usage is complete. I find this very useful.

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Steering mounted controls on a SE+ full option

Indicators and wiper controls. tn_IMAG0337

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Glove box and cuppy holders

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The car is well insulated against the road noise and minimal intrusion in terms of noise from outside once the windows are rolled up (with the music ON I couldn’t hear the ambulance outside. hence good insulation)

The AC doesn’t have an auto mode. That is available only with the mid and top variant.

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Check out the SE+ full option variant. One cool feature about the temp control is that you can tap the temp switch and use the knob to adjust the temp. Tap the fan switch, and adjust the fan using the same knob (pic shown below)

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The boot has decent amount of space. Actually this car has been loaded with these cartons from before and I have driven this car extensively with all these junk in the boot. At 480 litres, it even beats the Corolla in terms of boot space. The 60:40 split seats is one good features which is offered in mid and top variant, if you want more luggage space.

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Half of the luggage which was inside the boot was sitting outside.

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Apart from this you also get floor mats with Yaris printed on them.

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The arm rest can hold all the smaller bits and pieces that you may require to carry. We often leave our Registration cards in the car and this place looks good to hold it.

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The other bits and pieces of interiors

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Drive, Handling and other related things:

As far as drivability and handling goes, if you ask a middle class non-auto enthusiast as to what his expectations from the car is, his reply would certainly be, “Should have 4 wheels and drive from point A to point B without a fuss”. In that aspect this car does what it is expected to do.

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The 1.5L powered Yaris is an amazing car for city use. The 107 hp motor makes sure that you can cruise all day long with zero worries. After taking it through the long industrial area traffic, I was happy to tell that I was not frustrated as usual.

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The suspension feels good. Thanks to the revamped front suspension in the new Yaris. The speed breakers are taken with a light thud and even with those heavy kilos in the boot.

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But then there is a problem. Now after all the city ride I just get on to the express highway and I must say the high speed stability of this car is scary. The steering feels light and doesn’t inspire confidence at all.

I doubt if it was due to the high load in the boot, but I must admit the drive above 130 kmph is not comfortable. You can feel the vibrations. It can probably reach a 170 or 180 kmph as mentioned in the User’s manual, but then I doubt if anyone would want to do that.

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The brakes felt good and spot on. The ABS helps a lot and not to forget the brake assist. The smaller engine makes sure that the fuel efficiency stays high. Even with some amount of spirited driving, it easily returns 12-13 Kmpl. The user manual states 7.2-7.4 liters to 100 kms. Let me put the pics of some relevant pages of owners manual,

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The headlights are decent and I have no complaints regarding them.

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The horn sounds OK and not very loud. The instrument cluster features an analog display the tachometer as well.

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The traditional 4 speed autobox doesn’t help on highway speeds.

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Service and Dealership:

Al-Futtaim happens to be the dealers of Toyota in UAE. They are quite reputed in the business and they have quite a few dealerships around UAE. Not to forget that Gulf region enjoys a one dealer monopoly per brand. Many times it happen that there are more than one brand under one dealership. Al-Futtaim is not just for Toyota, but Honda as well. Unlike in India, where there are different dealers for a single brand car manufacturer.

The dealership boasts of a 5 year unlimited miles warranty. This excludes battery (3 years) and tires (under tire manufacturer warranty). Though this car  has a maintenance schedule of 5000 kms, Toyota has introduced a 10,000 kms service package as well. I do not have a first-hand experience when it comes to the dealership here, but as of what I have heard every service costs 300-400 Aed in the dealership, where they would change the oil and oil filter, clean the air-filters and do the mandatory checks as in check-list. As far as I know, now the rates have gone up to 600 Aed.

My tip would be to ditch the dealership as soon as you are done with the warranty. Especially for toyota, just go by the manual and do the wear and tear repairs and you should be fine. But that does affect the resale value of the car. Dealership serviced car fetches more money than the one’s done in independent garage.

Main Competitors:

Nissan Sunny, Peugeot 301, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Sentra, Honda City.

+VE’s :

  1. Great styling, looks very neat as compared to the previous version.
  2. Spacious interiors
  3. Fuel efficient
  4. Bomb proof Toyota reliability
  5. Good amount of features, especially with the full option (keeping in mind that this is Toyota)

-VE’s :

  1. Engine runs out of breath at high speeds, good for city use only.
  2. No manual transmission to choose from.
  3. Not so confidence inspiring steering at higher speeds.
  4. 4 speed auto gearbox is age old, and doesn’t help at high speeds
  5. Not the best in it’s class in terms of both features and space.

My take on the car:

If you are a non-enthusiast who is not interested in performance, and need a decent car which offers maximum bang for the buck, then look no further. With great resale value and reliability, this car is an eye-shut buy for anyone who wishes to own an entry level sedan. Choose the SE+ full option version or the top sport version and you can’t go wrong in the longer run.

Some additional pictures of the car are below,

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Sitting down for tea, before deciding on the drive
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Engine start push button for SE+ and above full option variants
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Option to add fog lamps for SE variant
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Service interval with engine oil grade

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Airbags

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And finally some more pictures of the car,

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So that’s all about the Yaris from my end, hope to see you all some other day with some other content. Good night!


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51 thoughts on “Automotive review : A glimpse at the Toyota Yaris”

    1. Thank you so much Prajakta, I hope you enjoyed the pics at least. I took it to a beach nearby and did it while sun was setting 😀

    1. Yeah, it was quite a deal. Drive around a lot through various places, take it a good location and click, look into all the features and stuff, compile a report, attach all the pics and finally getting a car to review remains to be the biggest challenge as I am no professional automotive reviewer/journalist 😛

      1. Hmm… Maybe I should give it a try soon. But this is only my first one, let’s see if I can get to do a couple of more.

  1. I love cars but thanks for the statutory warning, I could read it further otherwise the post length would’ve stopped me. And except for the facts and figures which will take me some time to understand, I really enjoyed the rest part of it. The pictures get along the writes so well, it must’ve took much of your time on experimenting the car and on this post too.
    Great job! 🙂

    1. Hey Archita,

      This took me really long. Especially since I am not professionally doing it, I have to find time apart from work and take it locations. Drive a lot and find out how it feels, then look at all the features. Last not the least, type the entire thing and attach pics … :/

      It was tiring 😀

      1. Yes, but I can say that not being a professional in it, you did the work so perfectly, I bet you must be doing your work of profession undoubtedly well, that’s a different thing that you like it or not… 😉
        Driving around ang taking pics might have been an enjoyable task rather writing and adding up all the pics.
        Don’t it’ll pay off sometime in some way.! 🙂

      2. I am not this great at my profession. But just somewhat OK.. Oh, you should see some of those who review it professionally. They do an amazing job. I am nowhere near.

        Thank you so much for the wishes. Hope it pays off!

        Cheers!

  2. Just to let you know…the Toyota Yaris in the Netherlands is somehow smaller than the ones in your review. Just a differemt model. I only see the looks hehehe..so if you ask me about the cars in depth I will get confused!
    Good going with the review! Maybe next one Ford Fiesta review?

    1. Hey Indah,

      Is that a Yaris hatchback maybe? There is a hatchback version as well here but I didn’t get my hands on it. It’s essentially the same car except for the looks.

      Ford Fiesta, one day!

  3. Nice review, mate. You have covered pretty much everything. 😀

    How the Yaris has grown from the freckly little ragamuffin to the confident and handsome teenager. 🙂

    And as you have said, this being a Toyota, it will sell despite the comparatively high price and the lack of some ‘Wow” features. But then the typical Toyota customer just goes: Does it take me and my family to my destination in relative comfort and not throw any tantrums along the way? – check.
    And thus the cash registers at Toyota keep going “cha-ching!”

    PS: I can confirm that the back seat of the old Yaris was cramped. You know how short I am, and I couldn’t fit in properly. 😛

    1. Hey bwooy,

      Whats up? You guys did a pretty good job editing it 😛

      I don’t have to say much about this review thingy cos you guys know in and out of this but yeah, the rear is no more cramped. It feels spacious 🙂

  4. That was one helluva review!! Frankly, I didn’t understand the technical details except the torque thing. But I do understand how much effort you have put forth to come up with such a detailed review.Perhaps even the manufacturers don’t know this much about the car. 😛

    Nice detailed pictures and the pair of shades look good… 😀

    1. Thank you miss 🙂 As usual reading your comments make me very happy. Maybe cos you are a happy person.

      Did you notice something in one of those pics? There is something for you in one of the pics 🙂

      1. There is a Porsche Panamera in one of the pics that I shared. 🙂 A white car in the background, if you go through you will find. 🙂

        Have a great day!

    1. Thanks khloe for letting me know that you liked my pics, and most importantly accepting that you would sit in my passenger seat. Some people just don’t like to be my passenger. They say I am a bad driver 😛

  5. That is one very very detailed car review. And lots of pictures. The knee selfie and boot space picture shows the extra effort you took. Are you planning to do it professionally?! 😀
    Well I always wanted to know, why masking numbers? So that people would find someone’s address?

    1. Hi Jithin,

      Long time 🙂

      First of all, thank you so much for the compliment. I always wanted to do it professionally but didn’t give it a chance yet.

      Masking numbers due to copyright issues 😛

      Thanks once again! Take care 🙂

      1. Yea, long time. I am here ON and OFF 😀
        That is cool. May this post be the first step towards that 🙂
        So what if you are uploading your own car?

      2. Oh OK. Life is busy?

        Thanks bro for the wishes. Hope life has something good for me in store.

        I don’t hide the plates of my car 🙂 This was a friends car, and it was an unauthorized usage 😛

      3. Yea, life a bit busy, blog on scheduled posts 😉
        You’re welcome 🙂
        Alright. I always wondered about this masking thing. Even I try not to show any numbers on the plate. (without knowing the actual reason) 😉

      4. haha.. I guess I have some right reasons 😉
        Well basically they were random pictures of random people on their vehicles. So I put the water mark across the number plate 😉

  6. Others can think that (including me)that ,this might be the perfect example of your hard-work…but i think you had never felt that as hard-work as that is your area of interest…very well done by heart also…

    1. Yup. It was just like usual actually. Only thing odd was talking it out and clicking pics. Since it’s an ordinary car here, people were like who is this fool! lol

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