Published on June 18th, 2022 | by Subhash Nair


Why Reluctant Drivers Should Buy A Toyota Yaris

If you’re forced to drive, the Toyota Yaris will deliver the most pleasant, value-packed experience.

Let’s face it, there are loads of people in Malaysia who drive out of necessity. Our public transport system isn’t comprehensive enough and there aren’t enough shaded pedestrian pathways either. The government seems to be more obsessed with building new highways than with solving a problem that would even help relieve their fuel subsidy burden. But all of that is besides the point. The point is a lot of Malaysians only drive because they have no other choice. And I think in the current crop of sub-RM100,000 vehicles, the Toyota Yaris is actually the best bet. Specifically, the 1.5E. Let me explain.

disclaimer: this is not a review or a commissioned article. I’ve driven the similar 2019 Yaris 1.5G, my opinions are based on specification comparison and experience.

The latest update to the Perodua Myvi is an enormous one. On top of the new look and advanced safety improvements, the Myvi now comes with a modern D-CVT, replacing the old 4-speed automatic. While this makes it a much better highway cruiser, the reality is that the D-CVT also makes it louder in city driving. And city driving is where most reluctant drivers will find themselves 90% of the time. The Yaris comes with a more traditional CVT which in my opinion is one of the best tuned of its kind. You barely have to give it any throttle for the Yaris to start moving in traffic. That subtle difference in tuning makes a huge improvement in driving comfort. Drive these two hatchbacks back to back and you’ll see what I mean. The Myvi and Yaris are close at speeds between 50km/h and 100km/h, but in the lower and upper extremes, there is a Toyota difference.

Toyota Yaris boot space

The second reason I’m recommending the Yaris to a reluctant driver is because it’s a 5-door hatchback. I know reluctant drivers who find the Vios hard to navigate in tight parking spaces just because it has a boot! With the Yaris, the rear glass is just about where the rear bumper is, so visibility and manoeuvrability will be noticeably better. Rear my comparison between the 2019 Vios and 2019 Yaris here.

Thirdly, the Yaris (like the Vios) is a relatively simple, very durable vehicle with low maintenance requirements. These are cars that are designed to run as taxis in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. They can take on mile after mile with just periodic oil, brake pad and tyre changes. If you’re a reluctant driver, chances are you want a vehicle with as little drama as possible.

Now on to the reason why I’m recommending the 1.5E model rather than the flagship 1.5G or the basic 1.5J. All three run the same engine and gearbox.

However, I think the 1.5E adds enough value to a reluctant driver to justify its RM10,000 price delta versus the base model.

Compared to the base model, it comes with Advanced Driver Assist Systems like the Pre-Collision System and Lane Departure Alert. If these prevent even one accident, they have paid for themselves. The 1.5E also comes with a panoramic view monitor, which will help reluctant drivers in tight spots with its bird-eye view of the vehicle. You also get a 7″ infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is all you need even in a million Ringgit Benz. There are plenty of other minor upgrades (acoustic glass, front DVR, 16″ wheels) over the 1.5J, but the ones listed above are the most important to us.

Why not the Yaris 1.5G? Well, to be honest, it’s a relatively small RM4,000 jump over the 1.5E. However, we don’t think the upgrades will go appreciated by the reluctant driver. They can put that money toward a maintenance package or a rear DVR from UMW Toyota instead. The leather steering and shift knob cover are nice to have, but not necessary. The auto climate control will probably be outlasted by the simpler manual knobs in the 1.5E. And the Electrochromic rear-view mirror and chrome door handles won’t even be noticed.

So yes. If you’re buying a car but you’re not a fan of cars (or driving), the 2020 Toyota Yaris 1.5E is my recommendation. Ticks all the boxes, it disappears under you, and it will last a lifetime.

Many will equate my recommendation of the Toyota Yaris 1.5E to reluctant drivers to mean that Toyota makes boring cars for dispassionate people. That is just an unfortunate side effect of building cars that appeal to the widest audience and not a comment on the Yaris’s appeal to enthusiasts. True car enthusiasts will judge the drive quality of the Yaris from a test drive.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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