First drive: 2015 Toyota Yaris TRD in the UAE
The latest Toyota Yaris hatchback is a pretty good car. We’d even go as far as tell you to put it on your shopping list if you’re in the market for a new car in the Dhs 50,000 range, although we’d never buy one ourselves (because we’re one of those crazies who buy a decade-old BMW M Roadster for the same money). However, Toyota is now actively trying to spice up their model line-up for the “youths” and the Yaris has been a beneficiary of that campaign. Therefore, here’s the 2015 Toyota Yaris TRD.
Mind you, there is no specific TRD model, but you can add it to a regular 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre Yaris for an additional cost when you’re buying your dream car. Thankfully, ours was the 1.5-litre version.
The basic TRD kit includes front and rear bumper spoilers and side skirts as well as a rear spoiler. Other TRD bits include a shift knob, fuel cap, lug nuts and badges. The cost of the Yaris body kit is Dhs 7,200. The “sport” pack includes the above-mentioned kit, while adding unique 17-inch wheels with low profile tyres, a “sport” oil filter and lowering springs. This full package costs Dhs 15,700 for the Yaris hatchback.
And for that, you get a genuinely attractive ride that looks like a hot hatch and a tiny bit easier to spot if you happened to park in the middle of a rent-a-car’s fleet.
And there’s handling benefits as well. In fact, the stock Yaris hatchback was already a decent handler with good body control and a rather decent ride, hindered only by tyre-squealing understeer that hits earlier than expected. The TRD version raises that grip limit by a pretty good margin, so it’s reasonably fun to drive. However, when it hits that limit, it still understeers gradually with no chance of lift-off oversteer antics.
Surprisingly, while body roll is reduced, there isn’t a heavy penalty on the ride quality, being only slightly firmer than a stock Yaris. It generally doesn’t bottom out over bumps either. The typical econo-box road noise remains about as loud as in the regular version.
Notably, the steering is a fair bit firmer and offers decent feel as well. But the stock brakes can best be described as adequate at city speeds, while requiring a much harder push to stop quickly from highway speeds.
The spacious interior is untouched except for the TRD shift knob, so you get to enjoy all the hard plastic with fake “stitched-leather” mouldings that you love from your garden-variety Yaris. Oddly enough, we didn’t mind the faux-premium cabin look at all after a few days with the car. Just don’t touch anything except for the leatherette-wrapped steering wheel and the radio.
Speaking of radios, we liked the USB port but wish it had standard Bluetooth like the old model. We also didn’t like the flimsy cargo-cover that kept popping out of place whenever the boot was opened. Well, that, and the severe lack of power at anything over 50 kph.
It’s spritely around smaller city roads though, and settles down decently at constant 140 kph cruises. With its TRD-retrofitted corner-carving abilities, this car makes for a mildly-entertaining “warm” hatch. Better this perfectly-done factory package than attempting to build your own with ghetto-cut springs and an ill-fitting ricer kit.
For standard UAE prices and specs, visit the Toyota Yaris buyer guide.