The Yaris competes in a segment wherein brand names matter, a lot! And for this very reason, the Honda City continues to be relevant in the segment, even today. Now, the Yaris – with its Toyota badge – is headed in a similar direction. But, there’s a problem. You see, with a sticker price that exceeds the Ciaz’s by over `3 lakh, and the lack of a diesel engine, the Yaris clearly has its work cut out for it.
Keeping the price aside, the Yaris has a lot going for it – as it has an extremely spacious cabin and scores points on seat comfort and ergonomics. Equipment and trim levels too are on par with its rivals. In fact, the Yaris is the only car in its segment to offer seven airbags as standard. Also, it’s bound to have a very strong resale value. It is a Toyota after all.
The Yaris is offered with a choice of a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT autobox. The automatic model offers a fairly comfortable driving experience. But, typically, as is the case with CVTs, there’s plenty of that associated rubber band effect. Also, demanding stronger performance from the automatic Yaris can result in a fairly audible powertrain sound. For our track test, though, we had the manual model. And while this definitely did help the case for the Yaris, the 1.5-litre engine wasn’t as free revving as we’d like. While the mid-range was impressive, it ran out of steam higher up in the rev range and even felt a little gruff as you approached the redline.
In short, the Yaris’s engine is tuned for fuel efficiency and urban driveability and not for outright performance. Similarly, while the chassis is solid and very predictable, this is not a car that’s designed to set your pulse racing. This is a car that’s engineered to relax its occupants as they revel in its comfort and dependability.