Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review: 2014 Toyota Yaris 1.5G

Photos by Ulysses Ang
Whether you like it or not, sub-compact cars are becoming more and more complicated. Once seen as the first rung in the ladder of automotive ownership, today’s small cars are jam-packed with features and technologies which can frankly turn some people off. Voice-activated controls, touch screen audio systems, turbocharged engines, stability control; they are all well and good, but for the Average Joe, having to navigate through all these while trying to acclimatize to driving in Manila can be daunting. What if you just want a no-frills everyday commuter that’s still safe and solidly-built? What if you don’t need any of the extra trimmings and just want to get to the meat of the matter. Well, the Toyota Yaris 1.5G is for you.

Sub-P 700k hatchbacks used to be the norm, but now, you’ll be lucky enough to get a decently-speced one for two hundred grand more. And yet, the Yaris seems to be largely inflation-proof. In the range-topping 1.5G guise, the Yaris’s got a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to an automatic gearbox as well as a robust list of standard features that include a suite of safety equipment and even split-folding rear seats. The price? A pocket-friendly P 845,000. It’s more affordable than the Ford Fiesta Sport and the Honda Jazz. Heck, it’s even cheaper than the Yaris’s own sedan sibling, the Vios!

Thankfully, despite the Yaris 1.5G’s affordability, Toyota didn’t scrimp on its design and execution. The Yaris now looks sportier. Losing what’s left of its curvy, egg-shaped styling, the 2014 model is a collection of angry angles, creases, arrows, and what have you. The front and rear ends are certainly the strongest points with a silver handlebar grille that extends from the headlights (now with projector-type lighting elements) down to the bumpers. At the back, you have the “floating” roof as well as the C-shaped tail lamps. This does well to differentiate the Yaris from the ubiquitous sea of Vios running around while still neatly tying it in to that family look. If there’s one complaint you can throw at it though, it’s the choice of rims. Not only are they shared with the Yaris 1.3E and the Vios, but the design could have been sportier.

The less-than-sporty design of the rims serve as the perfect precedence to the Yaris’s driving characteristics. It’s solid, stable, and comfortable, if a bit uninvolving. The lengthened wheelbase compared to the previous Yaris equates to a better ride, especially when going through EDSA’s pothole-ridden lanes. When you get to push it though, it feels more stable and secure, though it does tend to understeer and lean into corners. The steering, as expected for a sensible commuter car, is ultra-light and lacks the feel enthusiasts crave for, but it’s responsive enough for darting in and out of traffic. The NVH isolation though is perhaps the single biggest advantage the Yaris has over its rivals. It may have the same drivetrain as the previous-generation Yaris, but in this application, it’s noticeable quieter and smoother.

Speaking about its motor, the Yaris 1.5G comes with the tried-and-tested 1NZ-FE engine with 107 horsepower and 141 Nm of torque. It sounds pretty reasonable, with a hushed tone in all but full power application. In city driving, it’s lively and perky with power that comes in quickly. However, compared to its other 1.5-liter rivals, it loses out pretty quickly at the top end. Compared to its own 1.3E sibling, the performance difference will largely go unnoticed (subjectively), unless you love to floor the gas pedal at every stoplight or intersection. The extra 200-ccs of displacement though is much more crucial during overtaking maneuvers and hilly terrain. And get this: the extra pep doesn’t come with any penalty at the pump. The fuel mileage of the 1.5-liter is at par with the 1.3-liter: 9.6 km/L in the city.

Essentially a Vios hatchback, the Yaris is pretty much the same affair when you climb onboard. The entire look and feel will be familiar to any current-generation Vios owner sans for the orange-and-white instrumentation and unique fabric seat patterning (orange stitching, anyone?) The plastics are actually nicely grained with a good, solid feel. Fit and finish are leaps and bounds better than the previous model, but like its competition, is hard to the touch. There’s an irritating squeaking noise emanating from where the dash meets the audio system, but this could be down to this particular unit’s condition. Like the rest of the Toyota family though, the controls are placed logically and operate with a crisp and solid feel.

Overall, the Yaris’s interior is a great place to spend traffic in whether you’re a driver or passenger. The seats are supportive enough and the steering wheel offers ample adjustment even if it just moves up and down. However, the Yaris (like the Vios) suffers from a lack of useable cubby holes. Aside from an oddly-shaped storage tray located just in front of the shifter, there’s absolutely nowhere to put things like sunglasses, loose change, and two phones. Even the aforementioned storage tray will have difficulty fitting an iPhone 5s let alone any of those new “phablets”.

The lack of storage bins for knick-knacks aside, the Toyota Yaris 1.5G comes across as a solid value-for-money car. It may not have the usual sexy adjectives attached to it like ‘fast’, ‘powerful’, ‘sporty’, but where it counts, the Yaris delivers. Fundamentally, it’s a solid entry-level hatchback with the right amounts of kit, style, and price that will attract people who’re after sensibility rather than sexiness.

2014 Toyota Yaris 1.5G
Ownership 2014 Toyota Yaris 1.5G
Year Introduced 2014
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact
The Basics
Body Type 5-door hatchback
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration NA, VVT-i
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline-4
BHP @ rpm 107 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 141 @ 4,200
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / ~91
Transmission 4AT
Cruise Control No
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,115
Width (mm) 1,700
Height (mm) 1,475
Wheelbase (mm) 2,550
Curb Weight (kg) 1,065
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam Axle
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires 185/60R15
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors No
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front and Rear
Auto Lights No
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control No
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 4
Steering Wheel Controls Yes


  1. Sir Uly, How about the driving experience in the highway and its fuel consumption?

  2. honda city 1.5cvt is much better than vios/yaris 1.5 engine... specially maintenance and performance..

    1. Agreed, toyota's old 4-speed automatic vs honda's new cvt transmission.

      The least they could do is give buyers a 5 speed manual transmission option for this 1.5L yaris.

  3. Please Review the Toyota Hiace :)

    1. Ew. Pang driver lang yan. Wag na.

    2. An ass whooping Php1,238,000.00 for a TOYOTA HIACE Commuter 2.5 M/T ehh?

      source: http://www.toyotapricelist.com/

    3. Super Grandia & GL Grandia

  4. 1.5 honda M/T or 1.3 Yaris M/T??? which is reasonable?
    exclude the Vios

  5. Pls help.. im currently thinking of buying yaris 1.5g vs honda city Vx Which is better? Thanks in advance

  6. Toyota disc brakes vs Honda Drum Brakes?
    Toyota AT tried and tested Transmission vs Honda questionable CVT?
    Toyota Projector Headlight vs Honda Conventional Headlight?
    No contest. Toyota is the winner.