First drive: 2014 Toyota Yaris Sedan in the UAE
Al Futtaim Motors didn’t hold back at this year’s event when launching the all-new 2014 Toyota Yaris sedan in the UAE. It is, after all, one of their best sellers. With the new Yaris, Toyota are probably going to maintain their lion’s share of the sub-compact market once again, thanks to the new looks and cheaper entry-level model.
Talking about the looks, Toyota have used their new trademark front fascia design which we have already seen on the latest Avalon and Camry models, and will definitely see on the upcoming new Toyota Corolla in the near future.
It is a decent design and we are not alone in our assessment either, judging by the fact it received nearly 400 ‘likes’ in just an hour when we posted a photo of the Yaris Sedan on our Facebook page, with mostly positive comments. There is also a Yaris Sport model which features a bodykit and rear spoiler to further spruce up the looks.
Inside, they have certainly improved. There is increased legroom at the back, with all-round good headroom. Feature-wise, the top SE+ version we drove had a push-start button, an automatic A/C that cleverly uses one dial to control fan speed and temperature, painted piano-black trim around the centre console, steering wheel controls, 6-speaker audio entertainment system and metallic plating on the doors. There’s also fake “stitching” moulded on the dashboard and doors, which is cheesy since there’s no soft-touch materials or padding at all anywhere aside from the seats.
However, speaking of comfort, the new Yaris boasts a smoother ride thanks to improvements to the front suspension setup. Toyota also claims to have reduced noise levels by using better sound-insulation. Wind noise creeps up as you keep going faster, becoming prominent only at speeds above 100 kph.
The Dunlop tyres certainly do a good job keeping road noise low, but there is no escaping the engine noise during hard acceleration, with the 4-speed automatic transmission not helping matters. The 107 hp 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine does quiet down considerably at cruising speeds, giving off a slight hum.
What Toyota did with the new Yaris Sedan is basically make most features slightly better than the old one, but without increasing the price. That’s no surprise, considering it’s now imported from Thailand. Go down to the carryover 1.3-litre engine option, and the entry-level price is even lower than the previous generation. That’s enough reason to see a flood of them on the roads real soon.
For detailed prices and features, check out the Toyota Yaris Sedan buyer guide.