Toyota has been rolling out cars lately, and it’s more than welcome. Other than the recent additions including the Rush and Camry, Toyota’s new Vios joined the list in January this year alongside the new Yaris in April. At a recent media drive, Toyota’s aim was to get our thoughts into the Yaris experience. This included a day drive to Janda Baik in Pahang that allowed us to know the car better in terms of handling, comfort and the everyday.
It has been 13 years since the previous (XP90) generation Yaris was introduced locally as a fully imported model. But things have changed since. Today, the new Yaris is assembled alongside the Vios in UMW’s manufacturing plant in Bukit Raja, Klang.
Unlike the previous generations where the Yaris was only available as a hatchback, the sedan bodystyle followed which now takes the Vios nameplate in Malaysia. Visually both the Vios and Yaris share the similar front design but with eyes around the side and rear is where the differences start. Inside, the cabin is the same on both – the dashboard design, trim and colours.
Nevertheless, the Yaris’ features with the Vios are almost identical all round. This includes the three variant types, interior features and the active and passive safety list on all variants – ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, VSC with Traction Control and Hill-start Assist Control, 7 SRS Airbags, and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (on the G spec only). Prices are RM 70,888, RM 76,888 and RM 83,888 for the Yaris J, E and G specs respectively.
Mechanically it’s the identical 1.5-litre Dual VVT-I engine on the Vios that outputs 106 hp and 140 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm and paired to a CVT with 7-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic. As for the 1.5G variant we sampled on the day, there’s quite enough of equipment to be satisfied with. The only thing we felt that lacked is the absence of a telescopic steering wheel that allows a better seated position based on our height.
But everything else goes up from there. Toyota has positioned the Yaris as a sporty and young hatchback. Yet the comfort level is relatively decent – acoustic windshield and insulation has been increased; all to reduce the outside noise.
In terms of driving dynamics, the Yaris does shine better compared to the Vios. While both vehicles are essentially similar in weight and mechanics, Toyota has stiffened this one; making the Yaris more confident with less roll around fast corners. Taking the B-roads on Jalan Gombak towards Janda Baik proved to be an enjoyable one. With the drive mode put on Sport and transmission to manual, the CVT pulls power long enough to get things right.
What we think
We are thrilled that there’s a new hatchback in this category and at this price. We’ve been too used with the common offerings locally that we think Toyota has done the market better by offering the Yaris. What we think is the best variant between the three is the mid E variant. It has all the features the G has, except for the exclusion of rear disc brakes, Optitron and Multi-information display, leather on the steering wheel and shift knob, as well as 2 less speakers. What does this equate to? RM 7,000 in savings and RM 76,888 for the 1.5E spec.
Prefer a sedan bodystyle instead? Click here for more detail on the latest Toyota Vios!
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