Vehicle Fitout
Toyota Yaris 1.5 Automatic

After enjoying the wild child European sourced 1.8 litre Yaris RS hatch earlier this year the Japanese sourced 1.5 litre Yaris hatch is a little more circumspect in behaviour and performance. It’s ideally suited to the fleet as an office pool car or urban runabout.

The 1496cc Yaris engine produces 80 kW @ 6000 rpm and torque is rated at 141 Nm @ 4200 rpm, which means the performance is pretty sprightly despite the car being saddled with a four-speed automatic transmission. To be fair to the Yaris 1.5, we spent most of our test period in urban traffic where the automatic transmission was very much appreciated. The car easily nips in and out of traffic and will easily hold its own merging into motorway traffic.

Sadly because of our depreciating dollar Toyota New Zealand has had to increase its retail prices. As of May 1st the Yaris 1.5 five-door automatic hatch now retails for $29,490. That’s a reasonable amount of money in comparison to its direct competitors, especially for a car with a disc/drum brake set up.

I was even more appalled that for this price the Yaris does not come with electronic stability control, nor does it have climate control air-conditioning but it does have remote audio controls on the steering wheel. 

Last year Toyota enhanced the safety features of the Yaris by putting in a full airbag package as standard specification in all hatchback models. This includes driver and passenger front, side, front and rear curtain shield and a driver’s knee airbag. According to Toyota the Yaris hatchback has achieved a five-star rating by the Euro-NCAP programme. All passengers get a proper three-point lap and diagonal belt, the ceiling mounted rear middle passenger’s belt can be unclipped and stowed out of the way when not being used or when the rear seat is folded for extra luggage space.
As well as the equipment changes the exterior styling of the Yaris was refreshed with a new front and rear bumper, headlight and grille designs. The rear combination lights were changed to LED lamps and include two reversing lights instead of one. Newly designed 15 inch alloy wheels became standard on the 1.5 litre model.


Interior updates included new upholstery across the Hatchback range. The centre console was also refreshed and the 1.5 litre model’s interior has been enhanced with chrome plated air conditioning vents and park brake accents.

The centrally placed digital odometer console, allowed the Yaris designers to offer storage compartments in front of the driver and passenger as well as the normal glove box and door pockets. There are twin cup holders plus a centrally placed bottle holder and plenty of other little storage areas that other manufacturers would do well to copy.  

Toyota now supplies two remote master keys with the vehicle as standard issue, and it would pay for fleets to keep the spare in a safe place, as replacement is rather expensive.

Externally the wee Yaris still has the cute factor in spades, especially in this shade of Red; it’s a shame that the interior fabrics and plastics are more conservative in colour but no doubt they will prove durable in the long term.






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