The most affordable Toyota on the market is the recently-launched Toyota Yaris Ascent manual, which has just been made even more affordable thanks to the Free Trade Agreement with Japan.
This new-look Yaris now comes with new tech items such as a 6.1-inch touchscreen media system that is linked to a standard reverse-view camera. The latter addition brings the Yaris in line with the Honda Jazz in being the most affordable new car on the market with the potentially life-saving reverse-view camera technology. For urban drivers, it also makes parking the car even easier, though the Yaris has excellent all-round visibility anyway.
And while the car is aimed primarily at city buyers, cruise control is a welcome addition for those who hit the highway every now and then. That system was previously unavailable on the base model Yaris, which was known as the YR grade.
Other new items for the Yaris include 15-inch wheels, up from the YR’s 14-inch rims – though they remain steelies with plastic covers – as well as a reach-adjustable steering wheel with phone and audio controls (including voice control) and two extra speakers for a total of six.
While the previous entry-level Yaris felt sparse and plain, the interior of the new model is much more amenable – mainly due to the addition of that decent-sized, smart looking touchscreen system.
It is simple to use with easy menu systems, and includes touch, drag and flick functionality. And unlike the touchscreen fitted to the existing high-grade Yaris models, the new one has a high-resolution screen with quality graphic displays.
However, the system isn’t perfect. For instance, the Bluetooth phone system will not allow occupants to key in phone numbers using the screen if the car is moving. You can scroll through your contacts, but there’s no way of dialling a number if you need to.
No other major changes were made to the interior, which is a little on the bland side. There’s a lot of hard plastic, and while the seats have a new fabric trim to help differentiate it from the pre-facelift model, controls such as the knobs and dials, steering wheel and gear shifter are all a bit commonplace.
Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2015