The Judgment of Yaris — Businessweek

4 Мар 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Toyota Yaris/echo

The Judgment of Yaris

Toyota’s new is an improvement over the Echo—but the and Civic offer similar gas and are more fun to drive.

Sometimes I Toyota has too many models on the Between Toyota, Lexus, and cars, vans, SUVs, and trucks, I count nearly dozen Toyota-made models which can get pretty confusing.

The is the Yaris, an inexpensive gasoline-sipping that replaces and upgrades the Echo. Like all Toyotas, the is well-made and probably will run But what really sets it from all the other economy on the market?


The was never a big-seller in the U.S. and got very good reviews, but at it had a clear market niche: it was a basic, dirt-cheap little car got great mileage. The Yaris’ in the market is less clear. bigger and slightly fancier the Echo—and the problem for me is that you start adding a few options, the bumps up against the new Honda and Toyota’s own Corolla, both of are bigger cars with powerful engines.

The four-door Yaris sedan, the of the car I test-drove, starts at $12,405 a manual transmission and $13,130 an automatic (there’s also a that starts at $11,530 a stick shift and $12,430 an automatic). But that’s for a very vehicle. I suspect most of the sedan are going to opt for the $2,175 package that includes brakes, power windows and locks, rear-window defroster, folding rear seat, CD 15-in. alloy wheels, and a I would also pay an extra for side curtain airbags, I consider an essential safety in small cars.

Those raise the price of the Yaris to the same level as a base-level Civic DX or Corolla CE. It’s within two grand of a similarly Honda Civic LX, the midrange of the Civic that starts at with a stick shift, with an automatic. I would consider paying a bit more for the redesigned Civic, which is a nice car (see, Civic Virtues. The Yaris fine, but its tiny 106 horsepower, engine gives it none of the pizzazz.


The also has to compete with the introduced and well-received Kia Rio and Hyundai both of which start out at $11,000. On top of that, the Nissan and Honda Fit—both of which are entry level compacts—are out this year. So, why buy the Yaris?

what you get for your money is a safe little car. The has a coefficient of drag (a measure of how a car is), of just 0.29, is remarkable for an economy car. The is very smooth and everything the car feels light—in a good Steering takes very effort. The transmission shifts The car seems to skip over and rough patches in the road.

The Yaris also promises to be safe. It was first introduced in and earned a top five-star rating in tests in Germany.

That’s for such a small car. The sedan is only 169 inches and has a curb weight of just pounds. Its traverse-mounted engine it a stubby front end, means you get a very clear of the road from behind the I couldn’t see the hood at all.


Toyota Yaris/echo

The Yaris also has a rear deck that a decent amount of trunk (12.9 cubic feet) in an stubby rear end. But the effect is to make the car look As one post on a message board for owners put it: The Yaris looks a VW Bug and a [Scion] xA had a kid.

The Yaris’ interior is plain and but it also has some design One thing that really me is that the instrument panel is in the of the dashboard, rather than in of the driver. There’s a certain to this, as I find that the steering wheel where I it means I often have to to see the speedometer and other instruments in designed cars. But I never got to looking over to my right to the Yaris’ instruments. I know other small cars are designed the same way, but I it distracting.

Headroom in the Yaris seems pretty inadequate, not quite as tight as in the Scion tC, 8/5/06, Scion: Time’s the Charm). If you keep the back upright, which with back problems are to do, you have the sensation that head is too close to the roof. only five-feet-ten, but unless the was adjusted down to its lowest the lack of headroom made me


speaking, the instruments and dials in my Yaris were an unattractive The little screen in the center for the sound system was an unpleasant green, while the speedometer and had light-colored backings, and the odometer and gas were in a monochromatic digital like the one on a digital watch. design nitpick: There are storage compartments for coins and at either end of the dash, but the pop-open on them don’t open enough for you to be able to see what’s without craning way forward—not if you’re driving.

Finally, gas in the Yaris is a little disappointing. an automatic transmission, it’s to get 34 miles per gallon in the city and 39 on the In a stretch of 186 miles of mixed I got 33.9 mpg. That’s but only about the same as the and Civic, which are quicker and fun to drive.

You’re going to hear a lot the Yaris this summer, Toyota is marketing the new model But I’d definitely do a lot of comparison before I would go out and buy a Yaris

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Toyota Yaris/echo

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