Yaris answers daily commuting needs
"The traditional issue with small cars is that safety becomes a concern – simply because just about everything out there is bigger than you are."
Today is a difficult day. You see, to write a review of the 2012 Toyota Yaris Hatchback five-door – and to give you accurate, honest information – I have to be someone else. Someone who really is not a “car person.” Someone that looks at cars as a means of getting from point A to point B.
Truth is, those ‘someones’ make up the majority of the buying motoring public. So, with that in mind, I set about the task.
To begin with, one of the major concerns seems to be price. Now, my test model - a 2012 Toyota Yaris Hatchback five door LE, which starts out at $14,890 and ends up at $18,550.20, by the time you factor in options, fees, taxes and a full tank of gas.
Speaking of gas, which seems to be a major concern for buyers, the Yaris with its 1.5-litre inline four that puts out 106 hp and 103 lb.-ft. of torque gets a stingy combined fuel mileage of 6.2 L/100km (with automatic; rated at 6.0 for the manual).
I like the Yaris for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s small. There are very small overhangs at the front and rear, and that really helps when parking and negotiating small city streets. I also like the very tight turning diameter (9.4 metres), which makes the Yaris very nimble.
And while the Yaris is small, it makes good use of the room. I like the hatchback because you can put tons of stuff back there, so it makes the Yaris versatile.
The traditional issue with small cars is that safety becomes a concern – simply because just about everything out there is bigger than you are. Toyota’s reputation is partly built on safety and the Yaris is a good example. All models come with the Toyota Star Safety System, which is enhanced on the Yaris with the addition of child protector rear door locks, adjustable belt anchors, dual stage driver and passenger airbag systems. In fact, the Yaris has an abundance of airbags, including side and curtain airbag systems.
And all that is standard equipment.
If I let the ‘car guy’ slip in here for just a second, I can tell you a few more things. Firstly, the Yaris Hatchback is a good looking car - compact and anything but bland. Inside, the interior is very driver friendly, and the seats – while not sport seats (sorry, couldn’t resist) – they are very comfortable for short or long drives.
I also find the Yaris quite fun to drive. Like I mentioned before, it is very nimble, it has good directional stability and the engine and brakes are powerful enough to be, well, entertaining (that’s a good thing!).
I guess what it comes down to at the end of the day for most of the generic buying public is that you get something that fits your needs and your budget.
If you need a small car to get around and carry the odd load of stuff, then the Yaris is a good fit. Budget is something a little different. When you are factoring in your budget, don’t consider just the purchase price. Think about maintenance, insurance and reliability issues.
Toyota is best known for reliability and the Yaris I believe gives you that. I distinctly remember one drive in the Yaris, where I said to myself, “if I really didn’t care what kind of car I had, I would get one of these.”
Thank you for your time, I’m going back to being a car guy now if you don’t mind.
2012 Toyota Yaris Hatchback
Trim level: LE
Price as tested (before taxes): $15,890
Options on test vehicle: Convenience pkg. ($1,100) inc. air conditioning, power windows, cruise control, keyless entry; auto transmission ($1,000),
Configuration: front engine/ front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.5L 4 cyl./ 4-spd. automatic
Power/torque: 106 hp/ 103 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): Regular (42L)
Fuel economy ratings: 6.8 L/100km city; 5.5L/100km hwy
Observed fuel economy: 6.1 L/100km over 700 km
Warranties: 3 years/ 60,000 km (basic); 5 years/ 100,000km (powertrain)
Competitors: Chevrolet Sonic; Ford Fiesta; Honda Fit; Hyundai Accent; Kia Rio5; Mazda2
Strengths: small, reliable daily driver that is fun to drive
Weaknesses: could use slightly bigger mirrors, one wiper could be an issue