Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

UPDATE: Overnight the Toyota Yaris received a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating.

Since its launch in 2005, the Toyota Yaris has continuously outsold its competitors and in 2011 demands a 13% market share in its segment. With such a successful sales record and respect within the market, Toyota was tasked with improving the Yaris and offering buyers better value for money and refreshed styling.

The third generation Yaris spent 38 months in development and included market research from over 1000 current Yaris owners. With customer feedback in mind, Toyota set out to create an eye-catching, unisex design with a spacious cabin, low fuel consumption and a fun to drive attitude.

It’s hard to dispute the visual appeal of the new Yaris. Chief Designer, Takeshi Go, told CarAdvice that the new Yaris design had to remain simple, but sufficiently sporty to attract a diverse audience, including male buyers.

Sharp flowing lines and a fresh front and rear makeover give the Yaris a visual jump start. New wheel designs and a sporty front and rear body kit for the ZR transform what used to be a ‘safe’ design for Toyota.

The most extensive design changes are arguably within the cabin. Following market research, Toyota removed the centre mounted digital speedometer as customers complained that it was sometimes difficult to see and confusing. The speedometer has instead been moved to behind the steering wheel.

Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

Vital climate and audio controls have been moved higher to reduce the amount of time a driver has to take their eyes off the road. A new light coloured graduated grain dashboard texture breaks up the darker tones that used to plague the Yaris’ interior, giving it a fresh and bright feel.

In addition to adding a new variant in the Yaris line-up, Toyota has managed to retain a competitive price point and increase added value. Beginning at $14,990 for the three door, five-speed manual 1.3-litre Yaris YR, buyers have the option of choosing a four-speed automatic for an additional $1,600 and a five-door configuration for an additional $700. Cruise control is also optional for an additional $650. The YR comes with air conditioning, power windows, power mirrors, a four-speaker sound system with CD player, USB connectivity and Bluetooth streaming.

Next up is the Yaris YRS, which starts from $16,890 and comes with a 1.5-litre, a five-speed manual and three doors. Five doors and a four-speed automatic gearbox can be optioned for an additional $500 and $1,600 respectively. In addition to YR features, the YRS comes with a premium steering wheel and gear selector, a six-speaker sound system with touch screen and 15 inch steel wheels.

Starting from $21,390, the YRX is only available in five doors with the 1.5-litre engine and a four-speed automatic gearbox. Standard features over the YRS include 15 inch alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic headlights, automatic climate controlled air conditioning and satellite navigation with traffic management and movie playback.

Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

Finally, the car for those after a sporty look and feel is the ZR. Pricing starts from $18,990 and the ZR is fitted with the 1.5-litre engine, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and is only available in three-door configuration. Features over the YRX include sports front and rear bumpers, sports grille and headlamps, rear roof spoiler with side skirts, sports front seats and exhaust pipe diffuser.

Voice recognition, USB connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity is now standard across the Yaris range, as is Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), seven airbags (including a knee airbag) and an anticipated five-star ANCAP safety rating. ZR, YRX and YRS variants also have the ability to read messages and e-mails from capable smart phones, negating the need to ever look down at your phone while driving.

The biggest surprise of all comes from behind the wheel. Toyota’s local engineering arm spent time fine tuning the Yaris’ ride quality and handling dynamics. The front and rear suspension received increases of 18% and 26% respectively in comparison to the Japanese configuration, giving the car a sporty feel on Australian roads.

The local tuning, in addition to the excellent electric steering calibration means that the Yaris is truly impressive both in the city and on open roads. To prove this point, we had the chance to drive up the Rob Roy Hill Climb in Victoria with Australian rally champion Rick Bates.

The composed nature of the car meant that the rough circuit dealt no low punches for the Yaris’ MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension. The steering feedback and feel is unlike any other Toyota (that’s a good thing) and shows how much care has been taken to improve the Yaris and increase market appeal.

Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

Due to the configuration of the drive program, we were only able to sample the five-speed manual transmission. As you would expect from a small car, the clutch is light and the gear shifts seamless. It has been setup in such a way to ensure an easy and carefree drive.

The 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine produces 63kW and 121Nm of torque, consuming just 5.7L/100km (five-speed manual or 6.3L/100km for the four-speed automatic), while the 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine produces 80kW and 141Nm of torque and consumes 5.8L/100km (in five-speed manual and 6.3L/100km in four-speed automatic). Above 3000rpm, both engines feel energetic and full of life. Below 3000rpm on the other hand, they are fairly placid and non-responsive.

CarAdvice spoke with Mr Takao Matsuki, Yaris Project Manager (Dynamics and Performance) about the influences behind the Yaris’ new sporty edge. Mr Matsuki said, “Our performance targets were set around the progression of and benchmarks within this segment. Our benchmarks in this segment included the Volkswagen Polo, Peugeot 207 and Mazda2. The Yaris handling and ride comfort had to offer a great level of assurance and smoothness.”

Changes to overall length and wheelbase length (+100mm and +50mm respectively) mean an increase in knee space for rear passengers (+35mm) and luggage capacity (now 286 litres). Other changes include the adoption of high-tensile strength steels, which have helped strengthen the chassis and reduce overall weight by around 20kg.

Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review
Toyota Yaris Review

In such a competitive segment, the new Yaris had to be nothing short of amazing for Toyota to remain at the top of the light car segment. The new Yaris well and truly bucks the trend and offers buyers an arsenal of equipment, excellent dynamics and handling, along with a competitive price point.

Whether you enjoy attacking a twisty road on weekends or shopping in the city, the Yaris offers the perfect middle ground that doesn’t break the bank, drag its knuckles up hills and if you’re a male, doesn’t question your sexuality (unless you choose the hot pink colour). Toyota has an absolute winner on its hands.




  • Troy

    “The third generation Yaris spent 38 months in development and included market research from over 1000 current Yaris owners. With customer feedback in mind, Toyota set out to create an eye-catching, unisex design with a spacious cabin, low fuel consumption and a fun to drive attitude.” – this kinds of reads as though it was copied direct from Toyota’s press release. Really, what sort of ‘journalists’ are putting this copy together CA? ;-)

    In all seriousness though, the new Yaris is an awful looking shopping trolly. All I can say is they should have expended the ‘market research’ as the current Yaris owners they surveyed were obviously insane. Also, would it not be better for Toyota to source feedback from people not already behind the wheel of a Toyota product; You know, find out WHY the consumer went with another brand? Surely then Toyota’s development team could focus on building a competitive car (and yes, I know how many cars Toyota sell a year, but we all need to be realistic here – they sell more cars on their reputation than their merit!).

    • Edward Camilleri

      Why all this critics ,Toyota do very good and reliable cars so what do you want more from a car. Few brands can match her in reliability and when change to another car like i did some moths ago be sure that you will regret it.I use to drive a Toyota tecel diesel and in 11yrs I change only 3 battries and a piece of hose pipe nothing else ,now I`m drive a ranault and in few months i went 2 time to my dealer.

      • Shak

        Actually people criticise because they rightfully should. We expect more from the top selling marque in Australia. Outdated tech and trying to sell off of past reputation is just not enough. Toyota maybe reliable, but then so are Mitsubishi, Honda, Subaru et al.

        • NICK

          subaru are you joking the most unreliable car out apart from jeep

        • glock17

          From 2004 subaru are shite. Thats directly from a subaru mechanic . from 2004 subaru didnt increase the prices much instead they used cheaper materials and now produce vehicles that I have been warned not to buy.

  • Patrick

    Yuck!

    • newtown

      What do you drive Patrick? It’s either a Lantra or Camira, right?..

  • JonnyBravo

    interior looks depressing, prehistoric 4 speed gearbox, the list goes on ….. yet people will still buy it because its reliable

    • http://NSSAN James Cortez

      yes 5 speed manual??? 4 speed auto? those are yesteryears technology. Buyers get ripped off! Boycott toyota’s product

      • Jim Sim

        You sir, are an idiot.
        Get back into your VW with your crapola DSG, 25000kms? Must be due for a new gearbox.
        If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

        • Bangel

          DIM sim this thing is soooo old tech , interior is a shocker , exterior dumb .

        • Milsie

          Clearly you have never driven a car fitted with a DSG gearbox… There is no comparison to the ancient 4 speed slushbox Toyota still relies on. Also, yes the DSG had some problems initially, that’s what happens when you put advanced technology to mainstream use. Nowadays the reliablity has improved greatly and will continue to do so. Hats off to the VW group for applying new engineering to its products and pushing beyond common accepted boundaries in the auto industry.

          • Bangel

            Correct milsie , ford are experiencing problems with their TWIN CLUTCH too , like VAG its only software problems , the odd car that has a glitch , updates rectify this .

            Both are brilliant gearboxes especially in rural driving , just a bit nervy in the city , but they will master this , this is the future .

        • Fred

          Jim Sim, if everyone didn’t fix something that’s ain’t broke, then we would still have carburetors, non-independent suspension on all four corners and starless crash ratings.

  • EtoW

    The interior seems to be much better executed & finished then the twice as expensive HOLDENN CRUUUUZE

    It’s also much more aesthetically pleasing.. But wait/ Isn’t the HOLDENN SPARKK the rival of this? Haa the spark is an almighty and epic jOKE.. in every conceivable way..

    • Car Fanatic

      Come on now, be fair. It’s also competitor to the Mazda 2, Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz and the VW Polo. Now unless you really want a little 1.3 I’ll compare the YRS as all the others are far more powerful than the YR.

      Off these four competitors the Yaris out does the Mazda and VW, but not by much. On Torque it only beats the Mazda. On price for a 5dr, 1.5 Manual it beats The Honda and VW. Fuel economy it beats The Honda and the Mazda. It comes standard with steel wheels as do the others ( Polo gets Alloys). It has Bluetooth like the Honda and Ford.

      They’ve stiffened the suspension so I expect it doesn’t roll in corners any more so might be on par with the Mazda, Polo and Fiesta.

      At the End of the day it’s a good small car, but for money and performance the Fiesta wins hands down and I’m more of a VW fan than Ford.

  • Benjie

    I’m impressed. It’s a nice looking car and love the features on the YRS and YRX.

    I’m in the market at the moment, so I’ll definitely be checking it out at the dealership.

    • Car Fanatic

      Buy the Fiesta, you won’t be disappointed.

      • Dd

        Yeah in this segment price matters.. Tell me, which has a lower base price and which one has the lower top model price?

      • Samr

        The Fiesta is a better car sure but I would not want to own one if I was after cheap motoring.

        Brake pads, timing belts, electrics just plain Euro unreliability will see you dump that turkey when the Yaris will still be 100% reliable and going strong.

        • tsv

          Brake pads? I have covered 85000 km’s and not changed them. Timing Belt? That’s due at 150,000 km’s (as per most cars), Electrics? No issues, and my Fiesta is over 5 years old now. Not all Euro cars are bad!

    • Ima Hogg

      Go for the rio. That has the looks and everything!

  • j

    Seems like the new Rio beats it.

    • BBM-RSA

      I agree with you, the new Rio looks like a better package.

    • Z1

      Seems like the Rio is a sub $30k car.. It costs much more then this.. Might as well get a mid-size sedan..

    • Ton Ton Wongswangpanich

      toyota Vs Kia
      I go for toyota

  • Martin

    Toyota would be unstoppable if they exceeded expectations instead of relying on their reputation of steadfast reliability and simply delivering the minimum. I would have thought that a great Japanese company like Toyota would not choose to rest on its laurels, but rather push itself forward through innovation and high expectations. I get that they choose to deliver on proven technology than take a gamble but a 5 speed automatic is not new technology – simply Toyota taking profit margins of a small car (albeit how small they are) over exceeding expectations.

  • LowResFez

    What a joke, a 4 speed auto in 2011. I hope VW and the Koreans eat Toyotas lunch… Lazy and dissapointing effort from a fat and complacent Toyota.

    • stormie

      They offer yaris with CVT gearbox here in europe..:-)

      • stormie

        ..and 6 speed manual!!

  • Demonaz

    ZR model seems like good value and should be a fairly sporty drive from what the review says…

  • Simon

    Does it come with a free fluffy ‘Hello Kitty’ hanging from the mirror?

  • Model T

    I am an owner of a 2007 Yaris, but I wouldn’t buy the new model as there are better options out there. However, back in 2007 it compared well to other compacts and I believe it was one of the better options at the time. After the woefully unreliable Holden Astra, the Yaris was a revelation and it still hasn’t missed a beat. As basic transport it works well, but high fuel consumption (for its size) and far better alternatives today would rule it out for me.

  • o

    Shame the touch and go from the Uk wasn’t included, not even a 5 speed? My pic in this category would be either a fabia or a rio

  • LowResFez

    Hey Jim Sim,

    Enjoy your exiting Toyota… It matches your sensible walk shorts, safari jacket and Jim Neighours record collection nicely.

  • Rick

    Have a go at the panel gaps in the dash interior shots , its worse than a 1995 Hyundai excel. Toyota build quality at its best! let’s see Toyota faithfulls defend that build quality. It’s a shame since the yaris would have been fairly high on my list of small cars if was ever interested in buying one

    • Jaw

      Tou cannot see the panel gaps, those shapes are like that for design purpose.. Hyundai’s interiors are still sub-par.. Even the new top of the line i40.. I saw it in person and the interior was not good, compared to a Toyotas or Lexus in that price..
      Never mind the elentra, which had the boot release near the petrol release pull bar.. Lol

  • Phil

    Disappointing with the carryover drivetrains considering the Japanese model has CVT and Stop-start engines.

    • Rick

      That’s what Toyota does ,but I’ll bet they sell them like hotcakes

  • Snoop

    I’ve looked and looked at these cars but I can’t bring myself to like them, I’m sorry.

  • Al Juraj

    Either Toyota are awaiting for the launch of the new Corolla with (for Pete’s sake) more gears than four before a better gearbox is paired with the Yaris…

    … or they think people will still buy them no matter what the tranny. Until then, boo!

    • Rick

      Why wouldn’t they ,they sell plenty of corollas

  • rentakeyboard

    That rear look like a Suzuki SX4 and in the White so does the front!

  • Yeti Man

    This is not a sports car but a day to day commuter so is perfect car for a young girl or boy, any one who lives close to the city. Cheap and reliable (except for YRX)

  • Fred

    It’s simply the last generation’s mechanicals on a new wrapper. Even the soon-to-be-replaced Jazz beat this in a comparsion test.

  • paulo

    But CA, what was the interior noise, vibration and harshness like? Does it sound like a coke can as the now ‘old’ one does??
    (No! I don’t own one, but occasionally drive the company one)

    • Zoru

      What do you expect from a 1.3? I don’t know about Australia, but in the U.S the Corolla is the quietest in its class, that means it has a lower NVH levels then Civic, Focus, Elentra etc

  • Ted

    Why can’t Toyota make the Yaris and Corolla with decent engines / auto transmissions combinations – they are gutless and I do not know why people buy them !

  • jay

    people but them cause they areeliable big woop 5 speed six speed what difference does it make to you.toyota use the 4 speed auto cause it is nearly bullet proof ford vw bought out new gear boxes they blow up how happy I would be if new car was sitting at dealership getting repaired,but hey i have 6 gears that go no where,every one bashes toyota cause they are #1 other manufactures use cheap ABS SYSTEMS 3 chanel 6dbi may as well have brumbs toyota use 4 chanel and 16dbi on most like lexus not backward tech just proven and better.

  • Dragan

    ALL CAR SALESMAN MUST ME BANNED FROM THIS THREAD!!

    Seriously! Or any other review for that matter.

    DO A TEST DRIVE if you are in the market and have a hands on comparison!!

    One thing we all can agree on is that TOYOTA will sell these by the bucket loads!! No matter the reasons behind the sale, just look at last months figures which show the old Yaris is still outselling the competition…

    This new model will be a winner!

    /Close Thread

  • Able

    Mmmmmmmm that pink is a stunning(ly awful) colour!

  • Whoever it is

    Hooway! my fun to drive! Those pizza boy would be happy!

  • gride

    I’m a current YRS owner and have really enjoyed the current car as a city run around vehicle. After 4 years now, I’m thinking of upgrading and just drove the new Yaris. My first thoughts of the interior were, WFT were you thinking Toyota. The inside is such a let-down, and what dummy picked very light grey for the seating area. Yeah that will stay clean… As for the exterior, it’s not too bad. All the complaints about the gear box, I don’t care. It’s one of my work run around cars. (We have 10 Yaris in the fleet all due for upgrading in the next six months.) To be honest, I’m just not that impressed with the new Yaris. Oh, and the bluetooth doesn’t sound too good for the person your calling. Very tunnelly and distant. (Using an iPhone 4)

  • gride

    Sorry, typo, “WTF”

  • drbubo

    I would buy a ZR right now with a better engine and transmision.

    • franz chong

      I would be happy with any of these.I drive a 2010 Micra with a 4 Speed Auto and a 1.4 L Engine.I have had mine for just over a year and love it.Had the Mileage on my old Tiida had been a lot lower at the time I sold it I would have held out for another 12-18 months for the Yaris and not gone back to my Nissan Dealer.

  • Stevo

    What will make it the ultimate small car (keeping it within reason).- 5 speed auto or 6 speed manual.
    - Turbocharged or supercharged option
    - AWD option for a full flown sports version. 

Toyota Yaris Specs

YR : 1.3L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 4 SP AUTOMATIC - UNLEADED PETROL - 3D HATCHBACK
Car Details
Make
TOYOTA
Model
YARIS
Variant
YR
Series
NCP90R 10 UPGRADE
Year
2011
Body Type
3D HATCHBACK
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
1.3L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
121Nm @  4400rpm
Max. Power
63kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
62.4W/kg
Bore & Stroke
75x73.5mm
Compression Ratio
10.5
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
4 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
4.375
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
42
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.5L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1010
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1530mm
Length
3750mm
Width
1695mm
Ground Clearance
110mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1050  Unbrake:550
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
9.4
Front Rim Size
5x14
Rear Rim Size
5x14
Front Tyres
175/65 R14
Rear Tyres
175/65 R14
Wheel Base
2460
Front Track
1480
Rear Track
1470
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DRUM
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Driver
Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio Compact Disc Player
Exterior
Power Mirrors
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking
Security
Central Locking Remote Control
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Safety
Safety Pack
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-O-17
Country of Origin
JAPAN