This is my work car. As in, the car I drive at work, I don’t own it. Since I have the displeasure of driving it 5 days a week, I thought I might share my misery with you, in review form.
This is not going to be unbiased, partially because I haven’t driven any other modern hatchbacks, but mostly because I hate this car.
What the fuck Toyota. What did you do to the front end of the poor Yaris. What did the Yaris ever do to deserve this kind of treatment? It looks like it’s trying to eat anything in front of it. The front end has nothing to do with any other part of it. I don’t hate the rest of it, it’s pretty inoffensive, if a little slab-sided. They did an okay job distracting from that with the character line through the door handles to the taillight. The front wheels looks acceptable, the rear wheels look like casters do to every new car having to be sticking their ass in the air. Also back to the front end, why is there chrome. Nowhere else got chrome, why the front? It’s awful. Oh yeah, this is what the pre-facelift looked like. It’s pretty cohesive, low-key, nothing really to complain about. So what were they smoking when they facelifted it?
Now for the other main reason this piece only gets 4 out of 10. Pre-facelift cars had reverse lights integrated into the rear taillight assembly, because that makes sense. Know what doesn’t make sense? Sticking the reverse light, the single reverse light, under the back bumper where no one in their right mind would ever look for a reverse light. Whoever made this decision is an asshole, no one ever sees me wanting to back up in parking lots. Such an idiotic choice.
The seats are uncomfortable in any position, there’s no middle armrest, the steering wheel gets in the way of the gauges if I put it in a comfortable position, it’s a weird size, the handbrake feels like it’s made of something cheaper than plastic, the pedals are too close and don’t allow me to ever find a good portion to drive in, and believe me, I’ve tried everything. The way the seat adjusts makes sure you can get sort of close, but not fully comfortable. *inhales* The windshield is so steeply raked and the A pillars so thick and there are massive blind spots where pedestrians like to hide, the wipers only have one intermittent setting, the HVAC control binnacle started rattling at 25k kms, and the left swivel vent started rattling today. It gets two points, one for the padded door armrest, and one for the nice HVAC control layout. The rest is garbage and Toyota should know better. Hell, my friends ‘91 Corolla didn’t have interior rattles, and it had 300k on it. it also had comfortable seats and a reasonable pedal distance, and felt generally better quality.
The trunk is woefully small with the seats up, so I only generally have the single seat up to stick batteries behind. Seriously, our older Accents have way bigger trunks with the seats up.
When it decides to start in 1st, acceleration up to 60km/h or so is perfectly acceptable. When it doesn’t, well, that’s for the tranny section. On the highway, if I want to pass, I need to manually downshift to 3rd, because the kick down switch takes far, far too long. Dangerously slow acceleration on the highway. It will eventually go faster, of course. But you can’t shoot gaps to pass ponderous trucks, you need comically large spaces to pull out into. This car has the 1NZ-FE. It makes like 100hp/100lb-ft. I don’t care enough to google and confirm how gutless it is, just know that it’s gutless. It’s unhappy with revving, and feels like it’s tuned for a CVT. It only makes power between 2500 and 3500rpm. Maybe 4000. Anything more and you’re making more noise and going no faster. It’s unpleasant sounding in most situations, but if you punch it, it can get some surprisingly decent induction noise going on, briefly. It also idles like a 40 year old tractor. Once again to compare to my friends old Corolla, this makes less power. A 1.5 from 2015 makes less power than the 4A-Ge from a ‘91 Corolla. It’s also a lot heavier. Why, Toyota, why.
Modulation is difficult and finicky. ABS is easily confused by loose surfaces and bumps. But on normal road surfaces, if some idiot pulls out 60km/h slower than you, it’ll stop pretty damn good. Some things are unavoidable, however.....
The brakes did pretty well for a very slick surface, and shitty OE tires.
The transmission in this car is a crime. I honestly have no idea how Toyota is getting away with putting a 4, yes four speed automatic in a new car. it’s a hateful, depressing thing with no redeeming qualities. It starts in 2nd whenever it wishes, usually when I’m trying to turn left through a gap in traffic, and no amount of flooring it will make it downshift. I’ve taken to putting it in L when I know I’m gonna need all 100 of the 1NZs sad, wheezing horsepowers. It’s also borderline impossible to manually shift it into L on the fly due to the ridiculous shift pattern for the automatic shifter. Let’s see, what else....oh yes, it semi-frequently slips, or just engages gears after coasting very harshly. It’s done this since new. Coasting towards a red light, see it turn green and gently give it gas - rrrrrrr no power - give it gas - rrrrrslam!. That happens a few times a week. Normal variances in throttle application will utterly confuse it, mostly because it’s programmed to upshift at the very split second you let off the throttle even in the slightest - not just one gear. If you’re in second and let off the gas for half a second because someone braked, it’ll shift into 4th, and violently buck its way back to second when you jab the gas because it’s bogging down completely in fourth. I now usually leave it in third instead of D, which partially remedies the problem. It still needs manually downshifted half the time, because life is too short to wait for Toyotas garbage transmission to remember what it means when you floor it, which is often the only way to make it consider dropping a cog on its own.
Feels like the wheels are bolted to the body when you hit bumps, and not connected to anything when you attempt to turn a corner. Also it bump steers worse than my Blazer, and skips what feels like a full foot to either direction when you hit big expansion joints and such.
It has electric power steering, my least favourite thing this side of fat A pillars and tiny rear windows. It attempts to have “feedback”, which serves to only confuse me more. The wheels feel too small, it’s upset by the slightest imperfection in the road surface and genuinely has difficult going in a straight line if the road is slanted even a little. I can’t shit on the steering enough, I don’t know how anyone deals with electric steering. Seriously it’s the work of the devil. Oh and I’ve never driven a car so easily buffeted by the wind. It’s shocking. Low speed handling is fine, just highway handling is so appalling it only gets 3 stars. I don’t think they ever drove it on the highway when they tested it.
It has bluetooth, AC, power windows and mirrors. Good enough for me.
Don’t buy one of these unless you hate yourself, and also money.
Engine: 1NZ-FE 1.5 I4 VVT-i
Transmission: Some toaster or something that Toyota convinced to try and transmit power to wheels
Drive: FWD, not that it matters with such garbage providing power
Seating: 5 if you hate one of the people
MPG: I go through about a tank every 2 days, probably 200ish kms per day, haven’t checked in a while.
In closing, fuck you Toyota, your car is bad and you should feel bad, this has been a totally unbiased and objective review by gmctavish.