After a 5-year hiatus, UMW Toyota Motor has re-introduced the Toyota Yaris back to the Malaysian market.
Less than a week after its local debut, the company invited members of the media to sample the all-new Yaris.
Specifications for the all-new Toyota Yaris 1.5G
- Price: RM 83,888 (OTR without insurance)
- Engine: 2NR-FE, 1.5-litre, inline four-cylinder, Dual VVT-i
- Power: 107 PS @ 6,000 rpm
- Torque: 140 Nm @ 4,200 rpm
- Transmission: CVT-type automatic, front-wheel drive
- Safety: Seven airbags, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA), Panoramic View Monitor (PVM), Front Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
- Origin: Locally-assembled in ASSB Bukit Raja, Selangor
Re-introduced to the Malaysian market after a short hiatus, the all-new Toyota Yaris has its sights set directly on the Honda Jazz, right down to prices.
Other than the Honda Jazz, the all-new Yaris also competes against other segment rivals such as the Mazda 2, Kia Rio, Peugeot 208, and Volkswagen Polo.
Three variants of the all-new Yaris are available, all powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with Dual VVT-i that churns out 107 PS and 140 Nm. Similar to the all-new Vios, the hatchback sibling is offered solely with a CVT-type automatic transmission.
There’s no beating around the bush with the exterior design of the all-new Yaris – the little hatchback is essentially a Vios with a hatchback rear end.
However, eagle-eyed readers might have noticed some subtle differences up front, as the all-new Yaris adopts a different lower grille design. The bodykit design, although similar to the Vios, gets a slightly different finishing (black with some red highlights).
The familiarity with the Vios continues inside, as the all-new Yaris features an identical cabin as the sedan, including the design of the dashboard and seats.
So, similar to the range-topping Vios 1.5G, the equivalent Yaris 1.5G gets the identical Optitron meter cluster, 4.2-inch TFT colour multi-info display (MID), 6.8-inch touchscreen head unit with a 6-speaker audio system, and drive mode selector. Nope, the all-new Yaris does not get the fancy new head unit from the updated C-HR, so no Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
By carrying over the cabin from the Vios, the all-new Yaris also carries over some quirks , such as the air-conditioning system that is limited to just two modes, lack of a front demister, odd placement of the Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) button, and awfully reflective meter cluster.
But unlike the Vios, the hatchback sibling makes do without steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and leather upholstery. Nope, not even on the range-topping 1.5G variant we sampled.
Similar to the Vios, Toyota has done an excellent job with the cabin quietness of the all-new Yaris, as we found the cabin quietness to be the best in its segment.
No Ultra Seats to be found here, although the all-new Yaris offers 60:40 split folding rear seats that help expand the 286 litres of boot space even more.
The powertrain of the all-new Yaris mirrors that of the Vios, featuring a naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre Dual VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine hooked up to a CVT-type automatic.
Naturally, the driving experience is largely identical to the Vios, with the CVT responding positively to our throttle inputs, although power delivery could best be described as sufficient.
Toyota also brought along the Honda Jazz for a comparison against their latest offering.
In terms of power delivery, the Jazz definitely has the upper hand as the powertrain felt more eager and willing to get going, while the Yaris felt a tad bit more reluctant. It’s not to say that the Yaris is underpowered, but we reckon that the engine is still relatively “tight” as the mileage was still relatively low, while the Jazz’s mileage has clocked well over the 30k km mark.
However, in terms of ride and handling, the all-new Yaris feels like a hatchback from an upper segment, as the ride comfort, cabin quietness, and overall refinement completely trumps the Jazz. The all-new Yaris’ composure when driven hard along the Karak Highway is note-worthy, as the suspension set-up strikes the fine balance between ride comfort and handling. Bumps were soaked up nicely, without upsetting cabin comfort, something that some segment rivals fail to deliver.
We also appreciate the overall composure of the all-new Yaris, as we noted during our drive along the Karak Highway. The all-new Yaris remains planted as we pushed it through its paces, with minimal hints of body roll. Even the eco-biased Toyo rubbers maintained their grip levels reasonably well.
Although the all-new Yaris loses out in terms of cabin practicality and usability when compared to the popular Honda Jazz, we reckon that the cabin quietness and ride comfort more than makes up for that.
Even equipment count is rather generous on the all-new Yaris, as all variants are equipped with seven (yes, seven) airbags, stability and traction control, and LED daytime running lights. The entry-level Honda Jazz on the other hand, only gets dual airbags up front. No stability or traction control as well.
For those seeking for an engaging driving experience, the Mazda 2 should be right at top of the list, but the airbag count (only 2) is a let-down. Despite that, the Mazda 2’s cabin is perhaps the best place to be in, thanks to a generous dose of high quality materials and excellent design.
A more in-depth review will follow once we are handed the keys for a longer period.
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