Toyota Yaris - Paul
Right before getting into the Yaris, I handed back the Landcruiser Sahara I was driving the week before. As you can imagine, the size difference was alarming and took a bit of time to get used to!
The Toyota Yaris has flooded advertising slots, boasting clever thinking and stacks of features. This is one of the reasons that I was looking forward to driving the Yaris. When I squeezed into the car I was extremely surprised to find it a whole lot roomier that I thought it would be. From the driver’s perspective, you can see perfectly out of the car and neither of the front pillars cause any hindrance worth mentioning.
So now it was time to leave. I give the accelerator a light tap and get hurled forward; to call the accelerator sensitive would be the understatement of the year. Taking off requires a very smooth and cautious application of the accelerator, something that took a little while to master. It was the same at highway speeds, your foot had to remain incredibly still, otherwise it would start adjusting the speed all over the shop.
On paper, the engine doesn’t seem like anything special. 1.5litre, 4cyl motor that produces 80kW at 6000RPM and 141Nm of torque at 4200RPM. But, in everyday application it actually has a fair bit of poke. Our test vehicle had a 4-sp Automatic transmission fitted. Prior to driving the Yaris I didn’t think much of having an Automatic transmission fitted to a small hatch. But, in practice it suited the car very well. It was always in the right gear and the VVT-i meant that you could really rev out the engine to extract the power you were after. I’m not saying it sounded particularly good at 6000RPM but it really did haul, making a 0-100km/h run only take 10.2s, which is quite impressive for a car of its size. Fuel consumption sat at around 7L/100KM, which is very reasonable.
You can be confident that you will never run out of storage spots in the Yaris. They are absolutely everywhere! There are 25 storage spaces hidden throughout the vehicle, one of which sits where a conventional car speedometer goes. There is enough room to fit 4 normal sized adults in. Don’t expect to fit much more in though; it gets a bit tight with a car load of people.
I initially wasn’t too keen on the centre speedometer reading. With a bit of driving it actually proved to be quite ingenious. The console contained the digital tachometer and speedometer. It was also in my peripheral vision at all times, making it easy to read and only required a quick glance to see. The digital speedometer made me quite pedantic though. You could always see the second you went over the speed limit, automatically making you slow down again, in the fear of getting snapped by a cash camera…ahh, I mean safety camera.
The sound system is great; the CD player accepts conventional CDs, along with MP3s and provides a great sound out of the 4 speakers. There are also steering wheel mounted controls to help out with song selection and radio station selection.
The boot was a total joke. It was absolutely tiny; I could only really fit my laptop bag in there at any given time. It is left for dead when compared to the Hyundai Getz. But, it was encouraging to see a full-size spare tyre hidden under the boot compartment.
The test vehicle was also fitted with the ‘Safety Pack’ which added 7 airbags ($750 option), bringing the vehicle to a 5-star safety rating. The YR and YRS come standard with Driver and Passenger airbags. In my opinion the ‘Safety Pack’ is a good value option and I wouldn’t hesitate in ticking it on the options sheet. All these goodies bought up the value of the Yaris YRS to just over $20,000. This brings it alarmingly close to Turbo Diesel VW Polo territory ($22,000).
In my opinion the new Toyota Yaris is a fantastic small car. It is packed with features, the engine moves the car without any issues and it’s extremely simple to park.
It’s let down by the lack of boot space and in some ways is a little bit pricy when compared to some of the other offerings (such as VW Polo TDI).
At the end of the day it’s a funky car that appeals to the younger market. It serves its purpose extremely well and makes for a great first car.
Hyundai Getz - Lloyd
The Hyundai Getz is yet another surprise from this Korean manufacturer.
I didn’t have particularly high aspirations for this car before stepping into it. After all it is the replacement for the utterly ghastly Hyundai Excel. The Excel was horrible in every sense of the word. Its looks were dreadful, so was its performance and build quality. So, God knows why it seems to have developed a cult following from baseball cap wearing 20-something males, who like to fit large spoilers and trash can exhausts in a vain effort to make the car worse than it already is. These people give society a bad name.
Yet stepping into the tiny new Hyundai, I was amazed by the gigantuan interior proportions. Not that I am a particularly large bloke, height wise that is. But I felt lost in the interior of this car. This was the two door model however, and I wouldn’t like to think about the life for people in the back seats, claustrophobic to say the least. You can’t open the windows in the back which gives a rather un-easy feeling of suffocation. Yet back up the front I had to reach three feet back to get my seatbelt.
Despite the roominess of the interior, the car feels anything but large on the road, which is fantastic. What surprised me about the Hyundai is it really has that “go-kart” like feel that a small car should have. Old small cars have that feel, but sadly it is something most modern cars seem to lack as they further try to separate the driver from the mechanics of the car and the road.
I know many people won’t like it; to them it will feel simple and under-engineered. But I loved it, zipping through traffic with fantastic visibility and control, nothing more fun.
The model I drove was a 5 speed manual, which was all the better for squeezing the most from the 1.6 litre engine, that only produces 78kW. Not that it matters, it feels zippy enough through traffic and it actually managed a sub 10 second 0-100km/h time. Of course, a tiny engine also means tiny fuel consumption, just 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres.
Would I buy one though? Of course not, I couldn’t stand a car like this. It has no presence, no image. With a cassis like this you’re not going to be able to throw it round the Great Ocean Road, and I wouldn’t suggest a cruise across the Nullabor.
None the less I still like it. Hyundai has taken a good look at the way they design and build cars and this machine is leaps and bounds ahead of the old Hyundai Excel. And for just $14,490, if you’re a female who happens to live in the city, you cannot go wrong with this car.
LC's thoughts -
Overall the Toyota feels more refined and comfortable; the dashboard is more pleasing and the center mounted-holographic-digital speedo thingy is a nice touch. Being a four door with windows in the back you don’t feel like you are going to suffocate like you do in the Hyundai. However the compromise is that the boot isn’t quite as “spacious” as that of the Hyundai. You will only be able to fit one box of chocolates as opposed to two boxes. You might be able to get a violet crumble in there too, but that’s probably pushing it.
Being an automatic, it feels sluggish in comparison to the Hyundai and was indeed slower in our “drag race” between the two cars, however not by much. The main problem with the Toyota however is the feel of driving it. The power steering is over assisted and the suspension too dampened, it’s too comfortable. Despite being practically the same size as the Hyundai it has lost that “go-kart” feel, which is what I loved about the Hyundai. However, I personally think it looks better, and of course it’s not a Hyundai. So if I was forced, for some bizarre reason, in having to own one of these cars… With a manual gearbox I would actually probably have to go for the Toyota.
PM's thoughts -
So, the agenda was running these two vehicles against each other. To me, the Hyundai looked dated compared to the Yaris. The Yaris carried a new and funky design, both inside and out.
The Hyundai had a huge boot compared to the Yaris, the boot in the Yaris was just way too small for any real purpose. Enter the Hyundai and it feels much roomier up front. The dashboard feels like it’s miles away. Getting into the back of the Hyundai is a bit of a task for a person of my size, once settled and locked into position, it’s comfortable and bearable, although it’s not something I would recommend for long journeys.
As Lloyd mentioned, the Getz is much more fun to drive, the manual gearbox lets you rev out the little engine and make the most of its limited power. But, once the Yaris gets up in the rev range, the VVTi comes to life. All this made for a very even race at our track. The Yaris losing by around half a car’s length. Mind you, take into account that the Yaris only has a 1.5ltr engine, compared to the 1.6ltr in the Hyundai; I think that if the Yaris was in manual form, it would have had the Getz.
If, at the end of the day I had to choose between these two little run around cars, I would have to go with the Yaris. I prefer the looks of the Yaris and also love the fact that it’s fun to drive and handles like a grown up go-kart.
CarAdvice rating (out of 5):
- by Paul Maric and Lloyd Clearihan