by guest columnist
Embattled Toyota is desperately trying to hold on to its number one slot
**** out of 5
For: Does what it says on the rather dull tin. 5 year warranty
Against: For its likely customers, nothing
As Toyota slowly emerges from the two most difficult period in its 74 year life, the question on every commentator’s lips is if and when will bullish Volkswagen Group catch and overhaul the current global volume leader.
Any betting man would surely have to take a punt on Volkswagen based on four simple premises:
Toyota v Volkswagen
Successful Yaris gets better
Launched originally in 1999 the Yaris has been highly successful and in the UK alone has sold 300,000 in that time. It replaced the even more dull yet amazingly robust Starlet and there was a facelifted Yaris in 2006.
The new car, available as both 3 and 5-door is a big improvement over the old and despite an extra 100mm of length is still one of the most compact in the class making it ‘nippy’ around town with easy parking. The extra 50 mm of wheelbase does give extra room inside which is welcome. Even with virtually every panel replaced there can be no doubt of its DNA. In some ways it looks even more boring than before as it has lost the perky stance of the original and has become a little bloated. But this won’t bother potential customers who will be replacing another Yaris or will be looking for simple reliable transport, not image enhancement.
The interior is all-new and is perfectly adequate although some way off the class benchmarks in terms of style, fit and finish. Having said that all the rather dreary trim parts will probably still be in place in 20 years time such is Toyotas’ build integrity.
There are plenty of engines to choose from; 68 bhp, 1 litre 3-cylinder and 98 bhp, 1.33 litre 4 cylinder petrols and an 89 bhp, 1.4 litre diesel. A hybrid version will follow.
A superb auto box
As most Yaris owners will be low mileage there is little point in the diesel in most markets although it is a perfectly pleasant and efficient engine with the possibility of very low fuel consumption on long runs.
There are four levels of specification and even the basic T2 offers everything a buyer would expect with 7 airbags, electric mirrors, electric front windows, all-way adjustable steering wheel and CD player. The only item missing is unfortunate air conditioning for which another £1090 is required for the TR version which will also come with rear view camera, Bluetooth, USB connection and alloy wheels. The SR adds part leather upholstery, leather trimmed steering wheel, rear privacy glass and 16” alloy wheels.
The T Spirit lacks for little with automatic headlights, rear view mirror and wipers, electric rear windows, smart entry and smart, dual-zone climate control and panoramic roof.
The type of people who are likely to buy this car will not be disappointed.
© Robert Couldwell - September 2011
For publication on Winton’s World
home page / more reviews / auto industry news