Getting to know new Toyota Yaris on way to Janda Baik

By RIZAL JOHAN | 1 May 2019

There's no better time to be a new car buyer than now what with the slew of affordable offerings from various carmakers.

Besides attractive prices, the cars now come with a long list of safety equipment and features that make it all the more value for money. And you also have the option to choose between sedans, hatchbacks and SUVs.

Japanese marque Toyota is well known among Malaysians and this is turning out to be an exciting year for the brand.

In January this year, the new Toyota Vios sedan was launched and now in April, you have the five-door or hatchback Yaris to choose from as both models belong in the same B-segment category. The exception being that the Yaris is shorter in length by 280mm.


The Yaris shares the same powertrain as the Vios with the 1.5-litre Dual VVT-i engine producing 107PS and 140Nm of torque mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven-speed Sport Sequential Shiftmatic Mode.

The hatch is available in three variants - the 1.5J, 1.5E and 1.5G - with prices starting from RM70,888, RM76,888 and RM83,888 respectively. All prices are on-the-road without insurance.

Looks-wise, the Yaris is also similar to the Vios especially the front-fascia if you were looking at it head-on.


One can only tell the difference when looking at the side profile and rear to see the difference between the two.

And there are more similarities between the two such as the layout of the dashboard and the slew of safety features which comes standard such as seven airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, vehicle stability control, traction control and hill-start assist.

Having recently attended the new Vios drive to Johor in February, I didn't think there would be much difference with the Yaris as a day trip drive for members of the media was organised by UMW Toyota Motor from its headquarters in Shah Alam to Janda Baik, Pahang.

The Yaris has a colour scheme which the Vios doesn't, a lime green dubbed the Citrus Mica Metallic which is vibrant and playful.


Also, the cars used for the drive which was the top-specced 1.5G, came equipped with the optional aerokit trim which includes a front bumper spoiler, rear bumper spoiler, side skirts and roof spoiler which gives a young and sporty look to the Yaris.

UMW Toyota Motor is after all, targeting a younger audience with the Yaris and have appointed the trendy, young local artiste Janna Nick as the Yaris ambassador.

They are taking all the right steps in attracting the demographic they are after in my opinion.

However, if you are not part of the targeted age group, the Yaris is still an attractive option for the young-at-heart.


Driving the Yaris revealed just how comfortable a car it is in terms of very low noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) especially the absence of wind noise when you get up to highway speeds.

It is also very steady and planted coming down the twisty curves of Karak highway which allowed me to push the car more than I normally would.

Of course, if you're going too fast into a turn, the car does let you know that it's going to understeer very early on but as soon as you learn the limits of the car, there is quite a lot of fun to be had.


We also had the opportunity to try the car on windy old roads and for that, we turned on the Sport mode which changes the gear-mapping with higher revs.

Now this was useful during this stretch of the drive and the CVT is sporty as it shifts down when braking hard so you've got the engine slowing the car down as well as the brakes.

My only complaint about the Yaris was the lack of paddle shifters.

For a car that can provide this kind of excitement behind the wheel, paddle shifters would have been the cherry on top.


Other than that, the Yaris, even the basic specced 1.5J comes with loads of features especially when it comes to safety, has almost everything one would need for a daily driver and the sporty looks to go with it.

If the Yaris can give the Vios a run for its money, it can easily do the same to its class competitors.

Toyota Yaris is back, priced from RM71K
Toyota Yaris in US market based on Mazda2
2006 review of last Toyota Yaris




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