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Toyota Yaris 2012 review

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    The rigid body forms a good platform for tidy ride and handling and the steering feels sharper than before.

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Peter Barnwell road tests and reviews the new Toyota Yaris at its Australian launch.

Small is the new big in "Tiddler Town" if the new Toyota Yaris is anything to go by. It's roughly the same dimensions as the previous Gen II car but offers more room inside thanks to smart design and new technology. Toyota has used techniques from the space optimised Toyota iQ in new Yaris. Understandable give that personnel from the iQ design and engineering team had a big hand in Gen 3 Yaris, out now.


There are three and five door variants available in YR, YRS, YRX and ZR grades. The YR and YRS are in three and five door variants, YRX in five door only and the ZR in three door only.


Two engines are offered - a 1.3 twin cam  petrol four in the YR and a 1.5 twin cam petrol four in the others all using regular 91 fuel.

The 1.3 is good for 63kW/121Nm while the 1.5 delivers 80kW/141Nm output. They are carried over from the Gen II Yaris with minor changes to improve fuel economy and drive feel. The manual is a five-speeder while the auto is a four-speeder.

YRX is in auto only and ZR is in manual only.

The engines do not have fuel saving direct injection as is becoming common in many new models. Toyota says the engines in Yaris are all it needs underlining the point with a claimed best fuel consumption of 5.7-litres/100km for the base manual YR three-door. The heaviest fuel user in the range is pretty good to at 6.3.


Yaris rides on a simple strut front suspension and torsion beam rear - calibrated for local use. The same applies to the steering and other aspects of the Yaris dynamic package. Toyota's (sensible) policy is to localise all its vehicles and it pays dividends.

The new car is stronger than ever and is some 20kg lighter thanks to the use of high strength steel in critical areas.


It has a five star crash rating and seven air bags including a driver's knee bag. Yaris also gets VSC (vehicle stability control) and a raft of other life saving and collision avoiding features. Pedestrian safety features include an impact absorbing bonnet, front guards and bumper and single windscreen wiper.


Pricing starts at a sharp $14, 990 for the YR manual rising to a top end of $21,390 for the YRX five-door auto.

All models score plenty of kit including a multi-information display unit, new Fujitsu "future proof" audio systems, iPod connector, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, steering wheel controls, power windows and mirrors, aircon, a 60/40 folding rear seat and 12 volt socket.

The kick off price is the same as Toyota Echo back in 1998 while the CPI has risen more than 43 per cent since then. Auto adds $1600.


Its quiet for a car this size. The rigid body forms a good platform for tidy ride and handling and the steering feels sharper than before.

Engine performance can be best described as adequate but less weight makes the new Yaris perform better than before. There is a slight torque hole in the mid-range that catches out the unwary. The engine is quiet and fuel efficient.

A hard plastic dash confronts passengers but the switches are easy to use. The interior look is acceptable and functional with plenty of storage options. The space saver spare is disappointing. Four-speed auto is out of the Ark.


Toyota  reliability speaks volumes. New, made-in-Japan Yaris is quite a cute little car with honest performance, a large measure of inbuilt safety and generous equipment at an affordable price.


Price: from $14,990-$21,390
Warranty: Three years/100,000km
Resale: 56 per cent after three years (Glass's Guide)
Service intervals: Six months/10,000km
Thirst: 5.7L/100km, 134g/km CO2 (1.3 manual); 5.8L/100km, 137g/km CO2 (1.5 manual); 6.3L/100km, 147g/km CO2 (1.3 and 1.5 auto)
Safety equipment: Seven airbags, stability and traction control, ABS brakes with BA and EBD.
Crash rating: Not yet crash-rated.
Engine: 1.3 litre four-cylinder, 67kW/121Nm; 1.5 litre four cylinder, 80kW/141Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Body: Three-door and five-door hatch
Dimensions: 3885mm (L), 1695mm (W), 1510mm (H)
Wheelbase: 2510mm (WB), tracks front/rear: 1485mm/1470mm
Weight: 990-1055kg.


imageHonda Jazz VTi-S- compare this car
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Price: $20,990
Engine: 1.5-litre, 4-cyl petrol, 88kW/145Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, front drive
Body: 5-door hatch
Thirst: 6.7L/100km, CO2 159g/km

ImageHyundai Accent Premium- compare this car
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price: $22,990
Engine: 1.6-litre, 4-cyl petrol, 91kW/156Nm
Transmission: 4-speed auto, front drive
Body: 5-door hatch
Thirst: 6.4L/100km, CO2 151g/km

ImageVolkswagen Polo 77TSI- compare this car
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Price: $22,350
Engine: 1.2-litre, 4-cyl turbo-petrol, 77kW/175Nm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto, front drive
Body: 5-door hatch
Thirst: 5.5L/100km, CO2 128g/km



Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 5 comments

  • Extremely disappointed. The Yaris emits a ringing sound from the engine at speeds over 90km/hr. Toyota confirmed that they could hear it too but will not fix or tell me what this is as they consider it normal for the Yaris engine design. Claimed refund with no success. Very sad experience. The ringing sound in the engine is like the ringing you would get in your ears with hearing damage (tinnitus). Very uncomfortable to experience on long trips and leaves my ears ringing at this frequency for hours after I have finished driving. I have professional recordings of the sound - I was amazed at how apparent the ringing sound is on a recording. Car only has 3000km on it I will be selling it and moving on from Toyota which is disappointing after such a great experience with my old 2006 Yaris.

    Andrew Polzin Posted on 20 December 2012 10:43am
  • Really love this car! Fantastic fuel economy and an honest 4 speed auto that will not sting you with a major repair bill down the line. Put it this way. A new fangled 6 speed twin clutch dealer only servicable automatic will cost you an arm and leg if you ever need the repair. Simple 4 speed in this case rings just fine and the fuel economy ain’t that bad. I’ve had no problems with the performance. Given the delta in economy of a 4 vs a 6, it’s really not that great! If you like new technology then opt for a car with more speeds. Conservative me says 4 is just fine.

    Legendary Toyota reliability and reasonably priced servicing.

    Also check out the retained value should you need to trade in.

    Anyway, cars are emotional items. There’s a hack for everyone!

    All in all a very financially resonable motoring package that just ticks all the boxes! And that includes the single wiper blade. You only need to buy one refill at Supercrap Autos!.



    kittyhawk of North Rocks Posted on 14 August 2012 11:50pm
  • Just purchased a YRX. Most disappointing. Up to page 178 in the audio book and still the GPS is not a patch on a simple TomTom. Single CD sound system is hopeless and bluetooth phone cant be heard if fan is on air conditioning.
    Car itself is economical on fuel and cruise control works well. Good turning circle.
    Would not have bought it except for the colour. Pink. If another manufacturer makes a pink car the Yaris is dead.

    Gwenda Darling of Newcastle NSW Posted on 02 January 2012 1:23am
  • What are Toyota thinking? A 4-speed auto! Shame the Koreans are using 6 speeds now!

    Rob P of Australia Posted on 01 November 2011 12:44am
  • Heh - future proof audio is a new one. Never thought of it before or looked too close, but now that this writer has drawn attention to the single windscreen wiper, you realise how stupid it looks. They could have at least hidden it under the trailing edge of the bonnet.

    herbie Posted on 31 October 2011 7:23pm
Read all 5 comments

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