Toyota Yaris review: Right car but too late to challenge Honda City, Hyundai Verna?

After contemplating for a long time, Toyota has finally brought in its Honda City, Hyundai Verna rival by bringing in its Toyota Yaris. SUVs might be posting growths in the Indian car industry but the year 2018 clearly belongs to the sedan segment. Toyota Yaris is the fourth sedan in company’s India portfolio and sits between the Toyota Etios and Toyota Corolla sedan. Toyota Kirloskar Motor has commenced the production of the Yaris sedan and is being offered only with a petrol engine with CVT.

One might argue that Toyota is late to enter the mid-size sedan space. Toyota’s other Japanese rivals Honda Cars India and Maruti Suzuki have tasted some good success with its City and Ciaz sedans and Hyundai Verna has also helped the segment to grow further. Toyota says that Indian buyer is now very matured and there is not any ‘first-mover’ advantage left and is not late to the party.

Toyota Yaris exteriors:

Toyota Yaris takes its design inspiration from the Toyota Corolla sedan. It gets a soft and subtle treatment to its front fascia. Toyota Yaris is not the bold or masculine looking car in this segment. Toyota Yaris will remind you of that newcomer in your high school whom you look at and think oh! He/She is cute but that’s it. There is no striking design feature you get away with. The wide lower front grille and some muscle on the bonnet further try to give that aggressive look. The sides of Toyota Yaris gets some nice character line which makes the car look premium and more appealing. The headlamp cluster with projector headlamp is very different from the Corolla sedan and is being offered as a standard feature. However, Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) are available only on the top VX variant of Toyota Yaris.

Toyota Yaris

The rear hosts fancy designed taillights that make the Toyota Yaris look pretty. The rear bumper is simple with a small plastic cladding below.

Toyota Yaris is built on company’s global ‘B’ platform but returned to give the best performance for the Indian road conditions. The car is 4425 mm in length, 1730 mm in width and stands tall at 1495 mm. It is shorter than the Honda City and does not come across as a large car. The proportion, however, works both aerodynamically and increases the overall cabin space.

Toyota Yaris Sedan first drive

Diesel powered cars and SUVs have played a major role in Toyota’s India growth. However, on the Toyota Yaris, the company has decided to skip the diesel engine completely. Toyota Kirloskar believes that the move towards petrol will happen only from a cost of ownership perspective. With not much difference left between petrol and diesel prices, the shift to petrol will happen sooner. The company do not expect the any further subsidies to diesel and this will help sales of petrol variants. Toyota Kirloskar Motor further confirmed that it does not plan a diesel version of Toyota Yaris in the current scenario.

Toyota Yaris Drive Performance:

We had the chance to drive the Toyota Yaris VX variant with CVT for a short duration on both crowded roads of Bengaluru and on the highway leading to Hosur. First driving impression is that the car is extremely well planted. The 1.5L petrol engine is smooth and very responsive. The power is delivered in a linear fashion. However do not expect quick acceleration on the Toyota Yaris, the engine mated to the CVT is slow to respond quickly. I did not have the option to drive the manual but the CVT is a welcome move in this segment. The gearshifts are quick initially and as you give more gas there are longer revs giving the car more power. Toyota Yaris also gets paddle shifts allowing the driver to take control of the car’s gearshifts.

Toyota Yaris feels a bit heavy and firm in initial speeds but that that further affirms high stability and good ride quality. The steering feels a bit heavy in traffic but is sharp and precise. The car takes on rough roads with ease and strong brakes increase the confidence on corners. The short length of the car has helped the Yaris to improve manoeuvrability. An existing Honda City or Hyundai Verna owner might find the Yaris performance average. But Toyota Yaris is certainly going to impress the first time buyer. The engine could have been a bit more refined.

Toyota Yaris Interiors:

Toyota Yaris interiors are finished in black and beige colour scheme with ‘waterfall’ centre console adding to the overall appeal of the cabin The interiors will remind you of its elder sibling Toyota Corolla. The centre console finished in glossy black is a bit shinier and reflects a lot. Toyota Yaris gets a4.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system with in-built navigation. It does not support Apple Car Play and Android Auto but gets the option of MirrorLink. The screen’s response to finger touch is decent, it supports gesture control which is first in this segment and works well but increases driver distraction. The automatic climate control gets soft buttons that enhance the overall cabin. The bulky steering wheel is mounted with controls. Front seats are very comfortable and give good side support.

The second row seats on the Toyota Yaris is nice and spacious for three-people seating. The rear A/C vents are placed on the roof of the car giving the middle rear passenger more legroom. If your height is over 6 feet the Yaris’ rear seat is not the best place to be in. The use of plastic by Toyota is not the best in the segment and the over fit and finish should have had been a bit better. The best part about the Toyota Yaris interiors is its centre console, finishing around the CVT gear lever and the steering wheel. It is certainly better than Honda City but not that great when compared to the new Hyundai Verna.

Toyota Yaris CVT Gearbox

Toyota Yaris misses out on sunroof but gets a cooled glovebox compartment and a manual rear sunblind. There is ample boot space on the Yaris of 476L and can further be expanded by folding the rear seats.

Should you buy the Toyota Yaris:

Toyota Yaris is not the best car in the segment but there is nothing wrong with the car as well. It scores top points in safety with 7 airbags, ABS with EBD, being offered as a standard offering right from the base variant. The top variants of Toyota Yaris also get Hill-assist control, vehicle stability control, reverse camera with sensors and many other safety features. This will give the Toyota Yaris a big boost. Remember, Toyota has already tasted success with the Yaris global especially in the ASEAN markets and Toyota has one of the best servicing and aftermarket sales reputation in the country. Toyota Yaris is an easy to drive city car and a good performing car on the highway.

Toyota Yaris is priced at Rs 8.75 to 14.07 lakh (Ex-showroom) and at these prices, it isn’t the most affordable car in the segment. However, the Toyota trust will see many brand loyalists turning to Yaris for extra safety and hassle-free ownership and we’ve seen it over years that Toyota does enjoy a strong brand following in India.