Toyota has unveiled the Yaris in India. Like the Corolla and the Camry, it is a global brand of the company, and marks a significant arrival in the market that also has the likes of Honda City and Hyundai Verna. Offered with a 107bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine only, the car, albeit in the form of a sedan unlike the more funky and capable hatchback version available in Europe, comes with either a manual transmission or a CVT automatic unit.
With a big, black air dam occupying much of the bumper at the front, and providing a touch of sportiness, the Yaris looks attractive with those streak-like head lamps and a badge at the centre. Flowing to rear after originating at the front, the lines carve out a shape that looks well-proportioned and attractive.
Looking smaller than the pictures may suggest, the car measures 4,425mm in length. The wheelbase is 2,550mm. In comparison, the City measures 4,440mm and has a wheelbase of 2,600mm. Marking the sides, the 15-inch wheels look a size lower in comparison to the sweep of the wheel arches. The mildly upswept window-line is a good design touch, and so is the belt-line. The sweeping wraparound lamps at the rear draw attention.
TYPICAL TOYOTA TOUCH
Done in beige and black, the cabin of the Yaris has a typical ‘Toyota’ touch to it. The ‘waterfall’ design of the centre console draws attention. The backlit instrument panel with a 4.4-inch TFT screen looks attractive, and the soft touch buttons feel nice to operate. The myriad gesture control enables volume to be increased or lowered by waving the hand. However, the entertainment system is devoid of Apple Car Play and Android Auto. There’s no dedicated USB slot either. The powered driver’s seat helps find the ideal driving position. The steering, lacking adjustment for reach, feels like it is close to the dash.
If the front seats are wide and comfy with good shoulder support, the rear 60: 40 split seats are wide. They are comfy (though not as good as the City), and accompanied by good amount of legroom. To ensure efficient cooling, the rear occupants are treated to an overhead blower. The unit looks aftermarket, but has good flow, and can be controlled independent of the front controls. The 476-litre storage space at the rear can be increased by dropping the back rest of either of the split rear seat. Fitted with taller springs and stiffer dampers, which results in increased ride height for India, the Yaris that comes to India is based on Toyota’s ‘B’ platform. Receiving additional insulation and acoustic windows to ensure better noise isolation, the car gets seven airbags, including a knee bag, as standard on all specs. The two top-spec versions get disc brakes all-round.
Apart from seven airbags, safety kit includes ESP, traction control and tyre pressure warning on some specs. Quite responsive and smooth in its delivery, the engine makes for relaxed and effortless driving. It exerts good traction at lower revs making it easy to drive in town. Feeling a bit slow to respond on the highway, a good way is to downshift to get the engine to deliver.
The engine is particularly vocal at higher revs, especially above 5000rpm. Performance clearly is not in the same league as the Verna. The six-speed manual gearbox is light to operate and the clutch weighs up well. The CVT auto transmission surprises with its ability to respond quickly.
With a price ranging between Rs 8.75 lakhs and Rs 14.07 lakhs, ex-showroom, the car offers good stability and impressive (all-round disc) brakes. Features like overhead blower at the rear and gesture recognising infotainment system are also cool. The safety kit is also a plus point when compared to its competitors. Easy to drive in the city, and on the highway, the Yaris may not stand out from the crowd, or be terrific value for money. But what it offers is Toyota’s reputation for reliability.
PROS: Easy to drive, kit (including safety features), stability, all-round disc brakes, Toyota reliability
CONS: Steering feel, engine could do with more response