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Toyota Yaris 2018 review: SX auto

Can the Toyota Yaris act as a removalist van?
EXPERT RATING
7
The Yaris has been Toyota's smallest hatchback and city runabout since 2005. However, the small size and limited space doesn't mean it can't be practical.

When it comes to moving house, you either call a removalist or twist the arm of that one mate who always gets roped into these situations because of their trusty ute. However, what if your everyday city car could handle the task?

Enter this Toyota Yaris SX auto, a car that was designed to be a city crawler and never intended to be a removalist van. Yet over a single weekend, I set out to see just how versatile Toyota’s smallest hatchback can be.

Saturday

Let me paint the picture for you. We had to travel from Surry Hills in inner-city Sydney, to Campbelltown, roughly 55km to the west, then pack up the Yaris before taking everything to Colebee, 49km north of C-town, all in a single trip.

Clearly, the Yaris, which we'd swiftly nicknamed ‘Tweety’ (for obvious reasons), would have a difficult job ahead of her.

On the freeway to Campbelltown two things stood out; tyre roar and engine noise at speed.

While this was tolerable on our trips, I imagine it would get very tiring on longer drives.

Once at Campbelltown, it was all hands on deck to clear out my girlfriend’s room and jam whatever we could into the Yaris. Boot space is rated at 286 litres with the rear seats up, growing to 768 litres with them folded flat.

Tiny when compared to the 1314 litres (VDA) the Honda Jazz has to offer. Yet, it was able to swallow three big sealed tubs, two bags, a suitcase and a number of smaller items -  everything that was in my girlfriend’s room.

  • Boot space is rated at 286 litres, with the seats up. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) Boot space is rated at 286 litres, with the seats up. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)
  • With the seats down, boot space increases to 768 litres. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) With the seats down, boot space increases to 768 litres. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)
  • No room for passengers in the back seats... (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) No room for passengers in the back seats... (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)
  • Best of luck getting anything else in there. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) Best of luck getting anything else in there. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)
  • It doesn't seem like a lot, but everything quickly swallowed the boot space. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) It doesn't seem like a lot, but everything quickly swallowed the boot space. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)

The only thing not able to fit in the Yaris was the bed, which was taken away in a trailer.

On the trip to Colebee, I was really thankful for the SX’s VVT-i 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine which produces 80kW/141Nm. This was a welcome power increase over the standard model’s 1.3-litre engine which, as they say in the classics, wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding.

The VVT-i 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine produces 80kW/141Nm. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) The VVT-i 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine produces 80kW/141Nm. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)

However, all that extra weight still put a dent in the performance. Overtaking on the highway wasn’t an option, so you’re left sitting in the slow lane, watching life pass by.

Hills were another challenge as the engine needed to be revved hard to get 'Tweety' up a steep or even a slight incline. This engine really wasn’t meant for transporting large loads.

The gearbox is an old-school torque converter auto, not a CVT that you’ll find whining away under the likes of the C-HR or Corolla, but it’s only a four-speed unit which feels ancient compared to the Mazda2's six-speed auto.

The automatic transmission is only a four-speed. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) The automatic transmission is only a four-speed. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)

Where the Yaris isn’t lacking is in the equipment department. Gone are the days where the most luxurious piece of equipment in a small car was air conditioning and power windows.

Standing in the middle of the range, between the Accent and ZR, the SX is the sweet spot of the Yaris line-up. It comes standard with cruise control, a 6.1-inch touchscreen multimedia systemsat nav, a reversing camera, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, fog lights and a host of other gear over the base model, making the SX worth the extra coin.

The leather-trimmed steering wheel has a nice feel to it. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) The leather-trimmed steering wheel has a nice feel to it. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)

This Yaris comes with 'Toyota Safety Sense' (TSS) which includes a pre-collision warning system, lane departure alert and automatic high beams. While these features sound like they should be standard, TSS is a $650 optional extra for the SX, bringing the price of our test car to $20,260.

After a slow highway trip out to Colebee, the computer showed an average fuel figure of 8.5L/100km. Toyota claims the combined cycle fuel consumption for the SX auto should be 6.4L/100km, but with a loaded boot, that wasn’t going to be achievable.

Sunday

After the Yaris lugged boxes from Campbelltown to Colebee, I decided to reward its efforts by taking the hatch back to its natural habitat, the city, for an easy-going day trip to Vaucluse in Sydney's east. The car felt more comfortable without being weighed down by a tonne of boxes, and in the tight streets and alley ways of Sydney.

Its compact size made the Yaris easy to drive; there is no street or car park too small. But don’t get too excited, this ain't no Toyota 86.

This isn’t an enthusiast's car; this is a car for people who want to get from A to B. 

On the outside you might be fooled into thinking otherwise. Disregarding the ‘Tweety bird’ inspired paint, the Yaris is a decent looking small hatch. While Toyota is known for making cars with conservative styling, the Yaris has enough angles to look different, and stand out from a crowd.

The Yaris has enough angles to look different, and stand out from a crowd. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) The Yaris has enough angles to look different, and stand out from a crowd. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)

Pity this trend doesn’t continue inside, with the interior looking very plain Jane and feeling a few years behind the majority of its competition.

The Yaris is striking on the outside, but inside it's a different story. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) The Yaris is striking on the outside, but inside it's a different story. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)

You continue to realise how old parts of the car feel when you inspect the cruise control stick which is almost identical to the lever Toyota used in the '90s.

The multimedia system is simple, but suffers from a laggy touchscreen and doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The sat nav is also beginning to feel it age as it gets confused travelling through a tunnel. The nav will think you’re on the above ground road and will suggest to turn left or right before trying to recalculate the route.

The sat nav doesn't always know what road you're on. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk) The sat nav doesn't always know what road you're on. (image credit: Mitchell Tulk)

Also worth noting is the fuel consumption jumped to an average of 8.9L/100km on Sunday’s trip, worse than Saturday with a full boot. This alone shows just how much stop-start traffic can affect fuel economy and that it would take someone with a very light foot to hit Toyota’s claimed fuel figure.

Verdict

Despite the average fuel consumption, and feeling a bit outdated compared to its rivals, the Toyota Yaris SX auto is still a decent car that does everything asked of it. The small hatch will happily transport large boxes from one place to another, but the Yaris is more at home travelling short distances in the city.

For the majority of people buying this car, that’s all they need, and the Yaris is perfect for those short runabout trips... and an occasional house move.

Would you consider using a Toyota Yaris to help move house? Let us know in the comments.

Pricing Guides

$16,365
Based on 160 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$13,470
Highest Price
$21,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Ascent 1.3L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $13,470 – 15,970 2018 TOYOTA YARIS 2018 Ascent Pricing and Specs
SX 1.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $16,777 – 20,990 2018 TOYOTA YARIS 2018 SX Pricing and Specs
ZR 1.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $18,900 – 21,990 2018 TOYOTA YARIS 2018 ZR Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Mitchell Tulk
Contributor

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