2012 Toyota Yaris
- Vital Stats
$14,990 - $21,390
We were proud to award the Toyota Yaris as Best Small Car in the AutoChic Car of the Year awards back in 2007 (John Howard was Prime Minister, if that puts things in perspective). Since then, the small car category has seen the flavours of the month come and go with the likes of the Hyundai Getz and the Suzuki Swift battling to be top dog.
But now the Toyota Yaris is back in its 3rd generation and is ready to reclaim its position as the best car for first time buyers. Keeping its starting price at $14,990, the 2012 Yaris is available as a three-door or five-door variant in YR and YRS, YRX (five-door only) and ZR (three-door only) grades. Even with the five-door variants, the Yaris is still a bite-size car and barely strays from the dimensions of the previous Gen II. This car is the automotive equivalent of Mary Poppin’s magic carpet bag.
Style and Drive
It took me awhile to get into the headspace of the Yaris, having just come off the bat of test-driving one of its family rivals, the incredibly quiet Toyota Prius c. To its credit however, the 2012 Toyota Yaris does a decent job at suppressing sound. Road and engine noise can be a common deal breaker in small cars, but the increased insulation in the cabin and floor kept this to a minimum.
In terms of driving, I found both the acceleration and brake pedals a little too responsive. There was no happy medium between start and stop and I had to consciously remind myself to the gently squeeze the pedals. Because the Yaris is the size of a matchbox, parking is pretty straight forward – just remember to gently ease into those pedals because they’re more than willing to rev in reply. The steering is responsive and accurate which makes the Yaris a great car for negotiating congested city streets and making tight turns. When I took her out on the highway, I felt just as stable behind the wheel at 100km/h as I did going 40km/h around Sydney’s inner city. Sure, you can get some hotter hatches with some serious speed and performance but for the size and price, the Yaris’s handling makes do.
Inside the cabin, it’s easy to forget you’re driving a small car. It’s compact but roomy and Toyota have made the most of limited space. There are cup holders in the front, along with a larger holder behind the handbrake which fits bigger bottles. The boot is tiny (meh - to be expected) and a weekend away saw luggage for two spill into the backseats. Entertainment gets the full fit-out – a multi-information touch screen with steering wheel controls, Bluetooth connectivity, USB jack for audio streaming, SUNA and satnav systems (YRX and ZR only), aircon and power windows and mirrors. No complaints.
A five star crash test rating from ANCAP and seven airbags puts the Toyota Yaris in good stead as a safe car. Additional safety features include ABS brakes with brake assist, emergency brake force distribution and vehicle stability control along with an impact absorbing bonnet.
1.3 manual: 5.7L/100km, 134g/km CO2
1.5 manual: 5.8L/100km, 137g/km CO2
1.3 and 1.5 auto: 6.3L/100km, 147g/km CO2
Describe the car in 3 words
Bang, for, buck.
What are the best things about this car?
The Yaris is a price-sensitive car with good handling and an eagerness to respond.
What are the downsides of this car?
Sometimes, it’s a little too eager to respond. The acceleration and brake pedals are quite sensitive which can make for lurching back and forth if the driver (ahem...) has a lead foot.
What kind of petrol does it use?
Yes - it might spend the entirety of its life commuting between work, home and the closest Coles (with the occasional road trip to the beach) but at the end of the day, that’s the function of the 2012 Toyota Yaris. It’s not designed to have a lot of substance. Easy handling, decent performance, interiors, colours and convenience leaves the Gen III carrying the torch for the Toyota Yaris in the small-car category.
If personified, who would this car be?