Review | The 2018 Toyota Yaris Xs

Toyota has always been synonymous with reliability, and the new 2018 Toyota Yaris is no different. What is different is the way this Yaris presents itself.

Imports are now from Thailand instead of Eurpoe, and while this Yaris still rides on its previous platform, very little of the Yaris we have come to know remained. This one is bigger, more “grown-up” and sets a style that will appeal to many people. Toyota suggested the client base for the Yaris wanted something sportier, and this Yaris does offer some of this.

Yaris Xs Front three quarter

I think you will be pleased to know that the instrument cluster is now back where it supposed to be. Behind the steering wheel.

QUIRKS:

Running on an older platform, carrying a bigger body, and getting most of its specs from an updated version from mid 2017, one may argue that its not exactly a new Yaris. To start off with, it offers keyless entry.

Although it may be bigger (163mm longer and 5mm wider) I found rear visibility a bit low. What was intriguing was the faux stitching on the dashboard. Why would you mold a piece to have fake stitching on it. The Rav4 had it, this Yaris has it, and I am sure many other models carries this stupid concept too. While I can work with it, and even get used to it eventually, the steering wheel is quite bothersome.

Yaris steering wheel
Nope – that big center piece is not leather!

This nice piece of leather in the middle of the the steering wheel is actually not leather. It isn’t even vinyl or something soft to the touch. Its plastic. Solid, hard, cold, plastic.

One good thing seems to be the placement of the microphone for the wireless calls. I could not test this, but I do suspect it will allow for a very clear telephonic conversation. If I’m wrong, tell me!

microphone

STYLE:

There is no question that this Yaris has a lot of very interesting lines and details that makes it look sportier. The Yaris Xs (or sport) carries on with this theme, adding even more subtle details and cosmetic upgrades. All of which, surprisingly, isn’t overdone when considering how extravagant the car already looks.

Yaris Xs rear

Little red attachments are added to the rear next to the tail lights, hidden in the side mirrors, and in the front, the same red stripe can be found at the bottom, underneath the grille.

The side mirrors also hides very nice metallic flake, breaking the norm of the conventional sportier look.

Yaris sideview mirrors

INTERIOR:

Understandably some may say it looks cheap, but I will disagree, except when it comes to how the microphone is concealed. The seats are comfortable, and the red stitching makes this car look more sportier than it actually is. Small details of this leather can be found across the interior in places that is either aesthetically appealing, or is in constant contact with human flesh. I just wish this replaced the plastic trim on the steering wheel I mentioned earlier.

Yaris seats

 

The mix of materials also seems to work, with (fake) brushed alluminium elements combined with shiny solid black elements accentuating certain things you would not expect.

yaris interior

The infotainment system also offers some form of app connect thing where you sync up your phone to read messages etc, but it really seems lacking when it comes into play. I don’t like fiddling too much with tech, and this required a lot of fiddling.

Getting the perfect drivers position will require some time, as the steering does not offer reach adjustment, something you would expect to find in a car of this nature.

Yaris door panel

Space is adequate for front seated passengers, but the sloping roof line at the back takes away some headroom. The Yaris also boasts 8% more luggage space, but in this case, I would rather sacrifice a couple of liters of boot space, and get that extra 10cm legroom at the back.

 

DRIVING:

I really admire any manufacturer in these days that refrains from bolting a turbo on, and this Yaris is one of them. Running a 1.5 3 cylinder setup through a 5 speed gearbox seems to be working for the Yaris. (All yaris models features the same engine and gearbox)

The power delivery was adequate enough for city driving, and most likely will do for some highways, but it didn’t feel punchy at all, in fact it felt slow and lazy in some instances .

Yaris Engine

The Yaris is easy to drive, but it seems like you would have to develop a new style of driving to get the most of this Yaris. It can do with a smaller turning circle, but that is nothing serious in the bigger picture.

The brakes are superb. Braking hard at 50km/h will make you feel your wrinkles.

CONCLUSION:

While it is clear that the Yaris has come along way since the beginning, it ends up still being a Yaris. It’s not bad, but its not good either.

I appreciate this car for what it is, and I admire its baldness, especially when it comes to the attention to detail. Unfortunately though, my pick would have to be the new Polo TSI Comfortline.

Hopefely the TV ad may change your mind.

For more information, go to http://toyota.co.za/ranges/yaris#models

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Juan Loubser

I am an old fashioned 30 year balding, ham fisted egghead, with a love for mechanical engineering, Victorian era architecture. There was always something about cars, and up to this day I cannot put my finger on it, the easiest way to explain it would be to like it to something you just understand, you get it, you don’t know why or how, but it’s something you've understood all your life. With Torquesteer I have created a couple of Goals. One is to tour the little market town of Todmorden, England in a MG B roadster, and the Second is to do the US route 66 in true american muscle style. Driving a Tesla is also on the list.

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