Last week, we had the opportunity to test out the all-new 2019 Toyota Yaris. UMW Toyota Sdn Bhd (UMWT) organised a media drive for fellow Malaysian motoring journalists and during the day trip to Bentong, Pahang, we not only got a taste of the latest-generation Yaris but also how surprisingly good it performed overall.
To start things off, the new Yaris is the first hatchback model to be assembled here in Malaysia at UMW Toyota’s new assembly plant located in Bukit Raja, Selangor (and second model after the all-new 2019 Toyota Vios).
Truth be told, we weren’t really expecting anything different from the Vios since the new 2019 Toyota Yaris share the same design features, engine and transmission. Those being the major components of the car gave some of us an impression that the new Yaris is more or less a hatchback version of the new Toyota’s latest entry-level sedan.
Judging by the looks, we felt that the Yaris certainly has the appeal to attract the younger generation due to its modern yet edgy design, bright colour options to be at the centre of attention, and a hatchback produced by a company renowned for making super practical and almost bulletproof vehicles.
Toyota managed to create not only a good-looking hatchback but also something that sort of pays homage to one of our favourite Toyotas of all time, the Caldina (probably by coincidence). With is somewhat ‘floating roof’ thanks to its blacked-out rear panels and cleverly-built aero package, a mini version Caldina was what we saw and what we saw, we really like.
The earlier parts of the journey covered mostly highway driving. Its 1.5-litre 4-cylinder dual VVT-I engine which produces 105hp and 140Nm of maximum torque delivered more than enough juice to cruise comfortably at 140km/h.
The same 7-speed CVT gearbox with Sport Sequential Shiftmatic Mode found in the Vios is also found in the new Yaris which unsurprisingly gave smooth but slightly audible performance throughout the journey.
Interior space is quite spacious and comfortable, to say the least. As for the ride, the suspension felt soft, supple and stable which again is unsurprising but good overall especially when travelling with family. We drove and occupied the passengers seat in both front and rear seats and honestly, they were all surprisingly comfortable. No issues for anyone sitting at any seat.
Heading up the trunk roads of Genting Sempah and Bentong were the highlight moments of the day (yet another surprise for most folks that day). For a vehicle that was mainly designed to be fuel efficient, comfortable, and perfect for first time drivers, the Yaris has proven itself worthy of two thumbs up going up the winding hill roads for a short but sweet ‘touge’ session.
The car was exceptionally stable in corners with very little body roll. We were urged by the lead convoy car to put the Yaris in Sports Mode (for enhanced acceleration and response) and performing the hill climb was way more fun than initially expected.
It’s safe to say to all the Malaysian motoring media members had smiles upon their faces upon arriving at Twinkle Villa, Bentong for lunch. It was the lack of body roll which caught us off guard considering that the all-new 2019 Toyota Yaris provided a soft driving experience on the highway.
The Yaris we drove was the 1.5G variant (the top-end model) which is the only one of three variants that comes with front ventilated discs and rear solid discs (the J and E variants comes with rear drum brakes) which provide stable stopping power even when trail-braking hard trough endless corners.
All in all, the new Yaris not only looks good but performed exceptionally well for a hatchback that costs RM83,888 (OTR without insurance). The J and E models are priced at RM70,888 and RM76,888 respectively. To know more about the all-new 2019 Toyota Yaris, head over to www.toyota.com.my.