UMW Toyota was late in delivering this all new compact hatchback to Malaysia. It was launched in Thailand with huge success more than a year ago.
Going head on with the popular Honda Jazz and Mazda2 and the stylish alternatives, the Peugeot 208 and Kia Rio, this Toyota had a tough time trying to penetrate this segment which is dominated by a RM54,000 Perodua Myvi full spec.
First to be noted? This Yaris premium hatch is locally assembled in UMW’s new plant.
Second important point, it is not sharing its engineering with the Perodua Myvi.
Third and final point, this Yaris is not sharing its panels with the new Vios. This Yaris is all new.
This all-new Yaris has been developed from the ground up and its dimensions are longer and wider than its predecessor, providing more space for drivers and passengers, whilst also offering a more sophisticated and powerful appearance from the rear.
The front carries the familiar Toyota grille with new headlights. The taillights are spaced further apart with the rear lights appearing wider to give it a sportier character.
The interior is well put together with good textured plastics. The seats are typical Toyota with good manual adjustments to be very comfortable.
Space for three adults in the rear is tight if they are all mamak food lovers and two adults will be very comfortable.
ISOFIX points are provided for mothers and daddies who do not want to drive a boring MPV.
The Yaris comes with the 2NR-FE 1.5-litre engine, a proven four-cylinder DOHC power plant with Dual VVT-i. It is tuned for outstanding fuel efficiency and smooth delivery of power and torque.
All variants sold in Malaysia come with a seven-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic transmission. This has a manual mode to allow the driver to make selections of the seven speeds in the CVT for quicker response.
A Drive Mode Switch allows the driver to prioritise fuel efficiency or stronger performance
This Yaris feels like a larger car as you pick-up speed. Its ability to switch from lane to lane without any fuss confirms the handling ability and direct responsiveness of its slight weighted steering.
The feel at your palms are even more reassuring when you have the old roads to work with.
Yes, the Yaris felt like it needed more power to handle the well groomed chassis and the tightly damped suspension. Handling on the limit is enjoyed and the power sent to the front wheels is more than enough.
This new Yaris is comprehensively equipped with a number of features to make each journey more enjoyable.
It has Auto Air Conditioning, a DVD-AVX system with a 17.78 cm touchscreen display that comes with USB mirroring for connectivity and Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) for a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the vehicle.
Storage spaces are a necessity in a car, more so in this age where people carry portable devices and also require places to put their drink containers.
This model offers many such storage spaces for front and rear occupants. There is also a 12V socket and two USB ports for powering or recharging multiple devices for drivers and passengers’ convenience.
This model has been evaluated by the Asean NCAP with the maximum of five stars. This rating applies to all variants as they have the main Active and Passive Safety features that are required by Asean NCAP for the maximum rating.
The features include seven SRS airbags and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Traction Control (TRC) and Hill-start Assist (HAC).
Other standard features include an electrochromic rear-view mirror and a Drive Mode switch.
Safety is further enhanced with a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, DVR with Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW).
For total peace of mind, owners of the new Yaris can enjoy motoring during the full five years’ warranty. There is no limitation on mileage travelled after original registration so the owner gets the full five years of coverage.
With the recent introduction of the Peugeot 208 at a lower price point and with the Kia Rio being discounted, it will be rather difficult for many buyers to make a quick decision.
But this is the suggestion – take all three cars for a test drive on the same day and at the end of the day decide on which tickles your bank balance and your common sense, and this will give you the answer you need.
Toyota Yaris 1.5G specifications:
Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16V Dual VVT-i
Transmission: CVT with 7-speed
Max power: 107bhp @ 6,000rpm
Max torque: 140Nm @ 4,200rpm
Top Speed: 180km/h
Pictures by Daniel Fernandez
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