2015 Toyota Yaris | Livin’ With a Hatch – 4
* Spacious boot making it rather practical.
* Wind noise seeping in through the A-pillars.
So, the time has come to say goodbye to our long-term Yaris SE+ hatchback, and there’s a tinge of sadness in seeing it go as it’s been a loyal companion over the past two months.
The Yaris and I have made four trips to Yas Marina Circuit and back for various car-launch activities, as well as three runs to the Hatta, Oman border and back to renew my UAE visit visa, as well as those of my wifey and little rascal.
In addition to this, it has also served as a fairly agreeable device in which to trundle around town. The best part about the Yaris is that it’s no-brainer transport that doesn’t require you to think too much, and nor is it taxing to drive. You just jump in, hit the start button (a novelty in this price segment) and away you go.
The Toyota’s biggest plus points are that it offers more cabin space and luggage capacity than most cars in the sub-compact class. The seats are comfortable and visibility in all directions is beyond reproach. Owners can also expect to fork out relatively little for running costs, and anything with Toyota badges on it generally has a pretty good resale value.
On the minus side, the low-tech four-speed auto is an infuriatingly non-intuitive transmission, and it doesn’t kick down readily when want it to. The 1.5-litre engine is also short on puff, and it’s quite noisy when you work it hard. The drivetrain as a whole is lacking in sophistication, which means the best bet is to drive the Yaris sedately and not expect too much in the way of performance.
Other gripes include brakes that juddered badly when slowing the car down from speeds of 100km/h or more. It’s probably a case of the discs needing machining, but it seems premature given that our test car had covered only 6000-odd kilometres.
I also noticed a few intermittent squeaks and rattles, which is most un-Toyota-like. The Japanese carmaker’s products are normally well screwed together, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the latest-gen Yaris hatchback that’s sold here is sourced from Thailand (whereas the oldie was built in Japan).
Would I recommend the Yaris to any buyers in the market for a sub-Dh60,000 hatchback? To be honest, there are more capable rivals out there – the Honda Jazz and Mazda2 spring to mind – but the Yaris is an honest, no-frills car that will doubtless sell it socks off over the next few years.
Toyota has a stranglehold on the psyches of consumers around the world (that’s the power of strong brand equity), and this alone will ensure that pretty much whatever vehicle it puts on the dealership floor will roll out the door in large numbers.