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Toyota Yaris Test Drive Review – Is it better than Maruti Ciaz, Honda City?

What is it?

All set to go on sale in the fast-growing Indian car market, the Yaris is the upcoming Honda City, Maruti Ciaz and Hyundai Verna adversary from Toyota Kirloskar Motor. It may be noted that TKM hasn’t exactly been successful in the sedan space of our car market. While the Innova and the Fortuner have enjoyed unprecedented success, the Etios and the Corolla Altis haven’t exactly shattered any sales record.

All this, however, could change with the advent of the Yaris. However, the Yaris will have to face still competition from some really well-established competition. So, can the Yaris leave a lasting impression on the buyers of C2-segment sedans? We try to answer this in our new 2018 Toyota Yaris test drive review here.

Design & Features

To put it briefly, the Yaris looks modern and stylish without looking like it’s trying too hard to catch your attention. The Yaris looks pretty handsome and attractive without having a very flamboyant design. Thanks to a simpler yet futuristic design, the Yaris should have a wide appeal across various age groups. The Yaris looks like a slightly smaller Corolla Altis, which should further enhance its appeal.

The front-end of the Yaris is highly reminiscent of the pre-facelift Altis. Here, too, you get a pair of sleek headlamps and a wide grill, which, together, make the front look slightly wider than they actually are. Resemblance with the Altis continues even to the side profile. You get clean surfaces and neat creases. There’s a rather bold beltline that starts at the front door and rises sharply till a high terminating point on the rear door. The rear-end compliments the front with a sleek pair of taillamps. Overall, the Yaris looks impressive due to the understated elegance it has on offer.

The interior of this sedan is a reflection of its exterior. It looks fairly modern and has a very upmarket feel. However, here, again, the designers have played it safe and the cabin is devoid of any sort of unnecessary flamboyance. You get a beige-black colour scheme that makes it look sufficiently upmarket. The material quality is top notch and the build quality is amazing, too.

Boot space, at 465-liters, is pretty good but not a match for what the Etios offers. The cabin has been kitted out with some segment-leading features, viz. a touchscreen infotainment system, a tire pressure-monitoring system, 60:40 rear seat split, adjustable three-neck restraints for the rear seat, a roof-mounted rear AC, ambient lighting, electric driver’s seat, front parking sensors and a reversing camera.

The infotainment system also responds to hand gestures. You can change radio channel, increase / decrease volume by hand gestures – feature which has been seen in high-end cars like BMW 5 Series. Safety equipment includes seven airbags, Hill-Start Assist, ABS, EBD and ESP. These are standard across all variants. There are about 20 segment first features in the Toyota Yaris.

First Look Video


The rivals of the upcoming Toyota sedan have a clear advantage over the new Toyota model. All of them are available in both petrol and diesel engine variants. The Yaris, however, is available with a petrol engine only. The 1.5-liter motor outputs 108 bhp of maximum power along with a peak torque of 137 Nm. This makes it sufficiently more powerful than the Maruti Ciaz. However, it’s slightly less powerful than both Honda City and Hyundai Verna 1.6. The motor comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard and an optional 7-step CVT with paddle-shifters.

On the move, the Yaris feels sufficiently powerful, at least in the urban environment. Even on the highway, the car can comfortably cruise at 100 kmph with the tacho needle comfortably hovering on the 2,500 rpm mark for CVT and 2,100 mark for manual. The 7-speed CVT is smooth and the paddle-shifters make it a tad fun to use. Unlike other CVTs, this gearbox is pretty good and shifts gears effortlessly, and in no time. The engine sound is also of one that inspires enthusiastic driving. The car has a good pick-up and linear acceleration.

Most of the buyers will fall in love with the really high level of refinement. The NVH levels are really low – there’s absolutely no wind noise filtering into the cabin till almost 120 kmph. Moreover, the car can easily ride over rough surfaces and all sorts of undulations without much of the suspension noise finding its way inside. The petrol engine, in a manner typical of modern Toyota gasoline motors, is a smooth and a silent performer. Thanks to all these virtues, the occupants end up benefitting from a really relaxing ride experience that’s befitting of some of the pricier sedans.

Ride and Handling

Other than the low NVH-levels, you’ll also like the way this car rides. The Yaris rides in a manner typical of some more expensive cars. The Yaris almost glides over most of the rough patches. Be it a section of broken road or surface irregularities on an otherwise smooth tarmac, the Yaris takes all of it in its strides. The suspension has been tuned in a way that the occupants won’t even get to know about the minor undulations that the sedan will ride over.

While the new car has us floored with its really high ride quality, the steering wheel disappoints. It is precise but there’s really little feedback that it offers. Moreover, it feels totally lifeless as it doesn’t weigh up enough as speeds rise. Hence, you don’t feel confident while pushing this car hard into the corners. Thankfully, the body roll is well-contained. Also, the car gets disc brakes on all four wheels, which endows the Yaris with the most powerful brakes in the segment. However, the lack of a strong top-end coupled with a lifeless steering makes this car not the best performer in the segment.

Should you buy one?

The Yaris impresses with its segment-leading features, really low NVH-levels, and a truly amazing ride quality. Moreover, the Yaris looks pretty handsome with its mini-me Corolla Altis looks. However, those with a really high usage will be disappointed with the lack of diesel engine option. That said, the difference between prices of petrol and diesel has been on a decrease. Hence, only the ones with a really very high usage will be affected by this. For everyone else, the Yaris makes for a really very comfortable family sedan that’s high on comfort and safety.

With the Yaris, Toyota is aiming to target those buyers in the segment who have safety as their highest priority. The car comes with industry best safety features, and that too as standard. The CVT variant is more fuel efficient than the manual transmission variant, making it the perfect city, as well as weekend family car.

We hope our Toyota Yaris test drive review answers all your questions on Toyota’s upcoming C2-segment sedan.

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