Sprint Review: New Toyota Yaris

One new car, lots of info

I always liked the Toyota Yaris. I thought it was funky. Great lines, clever, economical car. So many people I know drive one of the older versions and are happy as Larry with their choice. So it was with no small amount of anticipation that I accepted the keys to my bright blue test vehicle. Post testing views are a bit dampened however.

What didn’t we like

I cannot recommend the Yaris as a purchase if you’re a tall person. I’m only 5’10 and I struggled the entire week to fit properly. There are two options, either with your knees around the steering wheel inhibiting movement with any more flair than a hand to hand shuffle or, an option I couldn’t handle, throwing your seat all the way back to accommodate your legs but not your arms and driving by your fingertips while balanced on the seat edge…

As a tall person, there is just no way to fit comfortably given the angles, steering wheel placement and seat adjustability. Little blonde lady drivers are going to LOVE it, they’ll be able to see over the dashboard with ease.

I found the steering overly light and ultra-sensitive, the gearbox is not very fluid with the resulting combination allowing for a fair amount of swerve during vigorous gear changes. Oh, and the Bluetooth system, although simple to pair, is decidedly vicious in its refusal to connect calls when they come through.

What did we like

Gone are the days of that eye-watering off-center digital dash display. This is now replaced with air vents and the speedo’ lives where it should. The dashboard display is simple and well created. A large touch screen infotainment system is easy to navigate and simple to use, if somewhat problematic when it comes to phone calls.

The cloth seats and simple interior is comfortable outside of driving position and practical with little fuss. Our 1-litre test car was mostly economical once we’d adjusted to ignoring the shift commands. The outside styling is still eye-catching and sleek even if the front styling is on the basis of love or hate. We found it a bit droopy but others we spoke to loved it.

Advice before you run out to blindly buy one because it’s a Toyota

So back to the age old question: Should I buy a Yaris or a Polo? Granted, those wanting the reliability of a Toyota are hardly likely to read a review about one and I’m sure that the Yaris, despite its apparent defects as I’ve listed above, will delight many a student or first time car owner.

But if you’re looking for value, decent build quality and similar specs laid out in a much more cohesive and comfortable whole, take the Polo. At least you won’t find yourself ramping the kerb because you tried to change to third…

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