Toyota Yaris: A sedan like no other

Observer writer

Friday, July 20, 2018

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THE 2018 Toyota Yaris has undergone the necessary transformation to keep it competitive against its class rivals.

Externally, the car hasn't shied away from looking different, from the front at least. The Toyota Yaris features the brand's latest design language of a bold fascia. The nose is a statement indeed, giving it an unmistakable appearance with its striking lines, curves and contrasting colours. The rest of the vehicle falls into the more traditional mould. Here, it's about form following function to allow the sedan to have the interior and cargo packaging to satisfy buyers.

Inside, the Toyota Yaris is relatively spacious from all seats. None but the biggest will have an issue getting comfortable. The fully adjustable driver's seat and steering wheel gives range from SUV tall to sporty low for driver position. The interior reflects the shift one step up the segment ladder. The dashboard boasts an interesting look, while glossy black and bright chrome-like trimmings add much-needed flair. Buttons are kept simple, with some of the switchgear resembling more upmarket sedans. For example, the outer rims of the centre dials have a knurled pattern that provides a better feel during operation. Soft-touch materials also grace major contact points giving a more quality interior.

Storage abounds, as between the plethora of cup holders and cubby spaces, there's always a place to put items, including a sizeable trunk. There is no infotainment system, but the stereo system provides more than adequate sound quality and has all the quick and easy connectivity most want. Volume controls and the ability to control handsfree calling from the steering wheel go a long way to keep cabin comfort high.

The 1.3-litre engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) work in concert to always provide the best fuel mileage possible. How efficient? The model we tested made the trek from Kingston to Negril and back to Montego Bay before we contemplated filling up the fuel tank.

The Toyota Yaris's ECO icon alerts drivers to how well they're driving. Once kept in the motor's sweet spot, the car can be hustled along with rapid pace. Those wanting a more involved drive can do so by slipping the transmission into manual mode. The engine does get noisy into the higher rpms.

The suspension is geared towards comfort, keeping occupants as disconnected from all but the harshest road imperfections. It's not the sportiest of its rivals, but holds its own in corners and is stable at cruising speed; offering plenty of driver confidence. This, coupled with the new-found levels of cabin refinement, combines to give the Toyota Yaris a wider appeal than previous models.

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