Looking for a first car that looks sporty yet comfortable, and will stand the tests of time? What about this 2022 Toyota Yaris?
This one is the range-topping Toyota Yaris 1.5G variant, which is currently priced at RM87,600 (OTR without insurance). Compared to its closest competitor, the Honda City Hatchback, the Yaris is around RM3,000 cheaper, but is it any better?
Introduced late last year, the current Toyota Yaris has been slightly refreshed with a new set of LED lights (front and rear) as well as a much sportier-looking front grille and bumper.
For this particular test unit, it had already been kitted with the optional body kit, which further elevates its sporty facade. Some may feel that it's over the top, but we feel that it adds just a nice dash to further accentuate a more aggressive styling.
You'll see that its rear wing and diffuser might be a bit much for some, but this is pretty subjective. We think that it goes well with the Yaris' blacked-out C-pillars, as well as that sexy rear end. Simply put, it's a car that fits like a glove looks-wise for most folks, no matter the age.
Step inside this range-topping Yaris and you'll be welcomed with some very comfortable seats and fabric upholstery. That might be strange for a top-of-the-line model, but comfort is the name of the game, and the Yaris has that in abundance.
There is, however, a minor issue. The steering wheel can only be adjusted for tilt and not reach. You'll need to take some time to find the right driving position for you in order to drive comfortably, especially during those long hauls up and down the highway.
The first impression that we got upon stepping into the Yaris is that it does look a bit dated. It has all its bases covered, and all of them function in a way that won't distract the driver. The buttons for the AC settings and radio are huge and easy to reach. Again, good for the young and the young at heart but maybe not as future-forward.
Upon closer inspection, you'll start to notice some specs that make the Yaris a worthy car to own. Things like its auto-dimming rearview mirror, front dashcam, a seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and 360-degree camera certainly made the car more pleasurable to live with.
Apart from the optional body kit, Yaris owners can also opt for other accessories like a rear camera, wireless charging system (stored in the centre storage compartment, a weird place to put that though), and more. Just need to spend a bit more on top of that RM87k price tag.
No matter where you're seated, the Yaris offers plush seating for both the driver and its occupants. Its fabric upholstery doesn't look too bad and feels nice no matter the driving distance. That's very important to take advantage of as those sitting at the back won't get any AC vents, just some good headroom and two USB charging ports. Ok, what.
We've tested this out, and you can actually fit a number of bags and a stroller without too much of a hassle. A weekend getaway for a young family of five shouldn't be too much of an issue.
You might have to 'Marie Kondo' a few things here and there, but 286 litres is doable, certainly more so than what you would expect by just reading about it in a brochure.
All variants of the Toyota Yaris are fitted with the same 2NR-FE 1.5-litre four-cylinder DOHC engine with dual VVT-i that produces 107PS and 140Nm of torque. These figures might be slightly lower than the Honda City Hatchback, but they are adequate for your daily drives.
Mated to a seven-speed CVT transmission with Sport Sequential Shiftmatic mode, you can choose between three driving modes - Normal, Sport, and Eco. Weighing in at 1,140kg on the scales, the Toyota Yaris is a sporty machine that's tuned more on the comfort side of things.
The steering might feel a bit sluggish at first, which is pretty noticeable during fast turns, but as stated above, the Yaris is all about comfort. With that being said, it still can handle corners fairly well even though you will feel the body roll at times.
Chucking it into the bends, you'll surprisingly find that the front of the car wants to go into the turn, which is confidence-inspiring. Despite having a CVT transmission, you can actually have some fun up and down roads like Genting, certainly more so than its sedan cousin, the Toyota Vios, which wallows quite a degree more than the Yaris.
Here's where the Toyota Yaris trumps its rival - safety. The range-topping 1.5G variant comes with the full safety suite courtesy of Toyota Safety Sense, which includes:
The camera feed from its 3D panoramic view monitor might be a bit hazy, but it's so much easier to park and manoeuvre in tight places like my usual rooftop office parking at Mid Valley Megamall. Simply adored this feature on the Yaris.
If comfort and safety are your main priorities when it comes to a car, but you also want something that looks quite sporty, the Toyota Yaris definitely feels like a win. Considering that you'll get the entire Toyota Safety Sense in a hatchback that costs under RM87,000, it's worth the money.
Parents will appreciate the comfort it provides, and the youths of the family won't mind driving the car to their hangout spots or even car meets in the Yaris. Yes, it does have its setbacks, but most of them are easy to put at the back of your head. So, thumbs up from us.
Sep is a firm believer in the saying "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast" rather than "When in doubt, throttle it out". Drive safely, ride defensively, and most importantly, don't get hangry.