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Toyota Yaris 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
7.5
Toyota Yaris has been given a big facelift, and has extra equipment at little or no added cost. It's doing a nice job of backing up big brother Corolla in the sales race, (Corolla looks like being number one again this year) but Yaris may well be all that many smart buyers need; particularly if only ever used to carry

Toyota Yaris has been given a big facelift, and has extra equipment at little or no added cost. It's doing a nice job of backing up big brother Corolla in the sales race, (Corolla looks like being number one again this year) but Yaris may well be all that many smart buyers need; particularly if only ever used to carry one or two people.

Others find that the Yaris can be used as a family car when the kids are young. One thing these people demand is back doors, so the three-door Yaris hatch has been pulled out of the range.

The Yaris model names have been revised by the marketing department. The range now starts with the 1.3-litre Ascent, the car we tested. It now has 15-inch steel wheels instead of 14-inch. Toyota says the additional equipment fitted on the Ascent is valued at over $2000, yet it has kept the price steady at $15,690 for the five-speed manual and $17,290 with auto transmission. Our review was done in a manual.

The Yaris SX powered by a 1.5-litre engine, has had its price increased by $400 to $17,790 (manual) and $19,390 (automatic). Toyota says it now has more than $1000 of new features, foglamps, rear and side privacy glass and a new design of wheel covers.

Finally, the topline auto-only Toyota Yaris ZR has been upgraded with auto-levelling LED headlights, a rear spoiler and diffuser, side skirts and Toyota Link connected mobility. It has at over $2000 of extra equipment but is priced only $1300 higher at $22,690.

STYLING

When we opened the story by saying the Yaris has had a 'big' facelift that was a literal statement. Big radiator grilles are all the rage at the moment, and the little Yaris hatch has one of the biggest and baddest of them all. There's an upmarket touch in the new grille as well; Lexus is the prestige division of Toyota and the revised Yaris shares some of ifs frontal shape style with the recently launched Lexus NX hybrid and RC coupe. That can do the tiddler no harm at all.

Changes to the interior are mainly in the trim colours to give it a brighter look, but is still on the plain side to our eyes.

FEATURES

Yaris has a 6.1-inch display audio screen that provides touch, drag and flick control of the type we are using in virtually all smartphones and tablets.

A telephone remote is installed on the position on the steering wheel, and the stereo now has six speakers rather than four.

Unseen, but very much appreciated, the Yaris hatch has a stiffer body shell to reduce noise, vibration and harshness. More direct and linear steering response has been gained by new suspension calibration.

SAFETY

All Yaris models now have a reversing camera and automatic flashing of the hazard lamps under hard braking is fitted.

Yaris hatch has seven airbags. Crash avoidance or minimisation features include vehicle stability and traction control, and ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA).

DRIVING

Yaris now has telescopic adjustment of the steering-column, previously it only gave you the option to adjust height by way of tilting it. Any feature that makes the driver more comfortable obviously adds safety.

Yaris has had its body strengthened as part of this mid-life makeover. The cabin has a reasonably solid feel, and the intrusion of noise and vibration into the cabin is noticeably lower than than previously.

Performance from the 1.3-litre engine used in this entry level model is marginal. Which is perfectly acceptable if there only one or two in the car and you're not in a hilly area. Load it up and head up hills and you have to keep the little engine busy. The gear-change action is fine so working at the correct ratios is no hassle. We haven't sampled an auto.

Fuel consumption was in the 8.0-10.0L/100km range around town, which is higher than usual in this day and age. But the car is getting on in years and presumably bigger things are coming. On the freeway we got the consumption below 7.0L/100km.

Handling is safe but not exactly inspiring. Given the price of the Yaris and the market at which it's aimed most buyers will be satisfied with the dynamics.

Pricing Guides

$11,990
Based on 180 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,300
Highest Price
$15,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Ascent 1.3L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $9,990 – 14,990 2014 Toyota Yaris 2014 Ascent Pricing and Specs
SX 1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $11,990 – 14,999 2014 Toyota Yaris 2014 SX Pricing and Specs
YR 1.3L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $7,300 – 11,990 2014 Toyota Yaris 2014 YR Pricing and Specs
YRS 1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $9,999 – 12,490 2014 Toyota Yaris 2014 YRS Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5

“Yaris is approaching total sales of 200,000 in Australia, and having spent a week in the latest model we can understand why people just keep coming back to them. It's smooth, reasonably quiet and pleasant enough to drive without being in any way exciting.The upgraded Yaris hatch range is covered by capped-price servicing at a maximum of $130 per service, which again makes it very financially attractive. You get a lot of car with an excellent reputation for reliability for comfortably under $20,000 on the road.”