Toyota Yaris 2021 Review
Selling hatchbacks in Malaysia is a peculiar business. With the exception of our extremely popular local models, most Malaysians still prefer a sedan, or even a crossover or SUV, to the diminutive hatchback layout. Why that is the case is down to a variety of reasons – perceived practicality, value for money, or safety – but despite all this, the Toyota Yaris is a car that manages to rise above it all.
This wasn’t always the case. The Yaris is a model with a very odd and convoluted history. Toyota Malaysia did try to introduce the Yaris to Malaysians back in the mid 2000s, though the problem was that it was still very much a global car – which meant that even the pure construction of it, sans features, was already extremely expensive.
The reason for the expense was because of standards and requirements in places like Europe and America where NVH and comfort are placed above everything else. Eventually, Toyota developed a separate Yaris specifically for Asia, which was more cost effective to build and essentially shared a platform with the Vios that we know and love. In some markets, the Mazda 2 is even rebadged as a Yaris for various other reasons.
Whatever it is, we finally have an entry level hatchback from Toyota that is competitively priced in the Malaysian market. For the most part the mechanicals are similar to the Vios, but the form factor is what sets the Yaris apart. One engine, one transmission, and three variants.
Toyota Yaris 2021 Specifications
Which came first: the Toyota Yaris or the Toyota Vios? In reality, it doesn’t matter – they are one and the same – at least from a mechanical perspective. The wheelbase is identical at 2,550 mm, the widths are identical at 1,700 to 1,730 mm, and the heights range between 1,475 and 1,500 mm for both models. It’s only the length that makes a difference, with the Yaris being roughly 300 mm shorter than its sedan sister.
What beats at the heart of the Yaris is identical to the Vios: it’s the 2NR-FE 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol powerplant, pushing 107 PS and 140 Nm of torque, delivering power to the front wheels via a CVT-type automatic transmission with seven virtual gears. Rather surprisingly, despite being a shorter overall car, the Yaris is only FIVE kilograms lighter than the Vios with each variant.
Where the big difference lies is, of course, in the boot space. The Vios has a decent 506 litres of space, while the Yaris makes do with 286 litres until you drop the 40:60 split-folding rear seats. That being said, the overall height of the available space does let you get more creative with fitting taller items and luggage – something sedans struggle with.
Toyota Yaris 2021 Exterior
It would be odd to say “business in the front, party in the back” with the Toyota Yaris, but you could say that it looks pretty much identical to the Vios from the front half onwards. Where the Yaris really stands out is of course in its rear hatch and design, maintaining a classic two-box hatchback form and accentuating the bodywork and roofline with black-coloured pillars along the side.
The rear lights are reminiscent of the Caldina – perhaps in an oddly charming way – making the Yaris look like a pleasant homage to the wagon we never received. It’s definitely a pretty thing to look at – though we wish Toyota had made more of an effort to distinguish the front end from the Vios. Only the entry level model gets 15-inch alloy wheels, while the remaining two variants get 16-inch alloys. With the 2021 facelift, the Yaris is only made available in Red Mica Metallic, Silver Metallic, and Platinum White Pearl paint options.
Toyota Yaris 2021 Interior
It wouldn’t really be surprising that the Toyota Yaris shares its interior with the Vios, given how much else of the car is shared. There’s nothing wrong with this – the Yaris possesses an interior that is more functional than it is luxurious, but it still provides enough amenities and luxuries to feel like a proper car for this day and age.
All variants of the Yaris get black fabric seats, unlike the Vios where the top-spec model get perforated leather. Like the Vios, the Optitron display for the instrument cluster is only for the mid and top spec variants, as is the seven-inch display audio with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. All variants of the Yaris also get illuminated scuff plates and blue interior lighting for your footwells. All in, there is some give-and-take in terms of what you get – but nothing so drastic in comparison to the Vios.
Toyota Yaris 2021 Safety Features
It has long been Toyota’s aim to revamp their image regarding safety systems in their vehicles across the range – and the Yaris is included in this effort. The safety features available mirror that of the Vios, with both the top and mid spec variants getting the majority of the safety features – Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Assist, 3D Panoramic View Monitor, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control, and Hill-start Assist Control are all on the list.
More passive systems such as seven airbags, ISOFIX for the rear seats, and pre-tensioning seatbelts are standard across the range. You even get vehicle telematics as part of the package so you can track where your vehicle goes and how fast it’s travelling – though this is optional for the entry level J spec model.
Toyota Yaris 2021 Strengths and Weaknesses
The strength of the Toyota Yaris is in its ease of parking, while the weaknesses are in explaining to your relatives why you bought a hatchback. Jokes aside, the Yaris is a fantastic counterpart to the Vios, especially for those willing to trade a little bit of boot space in favour of a little more practicality and ease of maneuverability. Threading your way through traffic and gauging the overall length of a car is that little bit easier with a hatchback than a sedan.
Of course, the only obvious weakness then is the fact that you don’t get as much boot space – though the real question is how often you will find yourself needing all of those extra 300 or so litres you lose by choosing a Yaris over a Vios. If the Yaris fits your lifestyle, by al means it’s a choice you won’t go wrong with.
Toyota Yaris 2021 Price
One of the benefits of the Toyota Yaris is that with less boot space, you also pay a little less money.
- Toyota Yaris 2021 1.5J price - RM 70,940
- Toyota Yaris 2021 1.5E price - RM 80,380
- Toyota Yaris 2021 1.5G price - RM 84,808
This is ever so slightly cheaper than equivalent Vios variants – though again, you don’t get the leather seats for the top spec Yaris 1.5G.
Toyota Yaris 2021 Features
Keyless entry and start is common across the range of Toyota Yaris variants. Where the entry level loses out is in the lack of steering wheel switches, a Multi-Information Display for the instrument cluster, having a four-speaker setup over the six-speaker setup (only for the 1.5G), and having manual air-conditioning over automatic air-conditioning (only for the 1.5G as well).
Toyota Yaris 2021 Fuel Consumption
There are no official manufacturer figures for the Toyota Yaris, but if we had to follow that of the Vios, it would get a real world consumption of around 16 kilometres per litre. We even managed to get it up to 22 kilometres per litre with a bit of fiddling, and some have gone as far as 24.6 kilometres per litre – all done at between 40 km/h and 60 km/h.
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- Body Type: Hatchback
- Transmission: Automatic
- Engine Capacity: 1496 cc
- Fuel Type: petrol
- Seat Capacity: 5
- Price: RM 70,940 - RM 84,808
17 Sep 2020
Review: What You Need To Know About the Toyota Yaris
The most paramount of these is safety. Whichever Yaris you end up choosing, you will get Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control, as well as seven SRS airbags and ISOFIX at the rear to properly belt your child seat in – if you need to. If you want to go the distance and would like the Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, you will have to opt for the 1.5E or 1.5G models.View full review
17 Sep 2020
Quick Review: All-New Toyota Yaris – Welcome Back
There’s no beating around the bush with the exterior design of the all-new Yaris – the little hatchback is essentially a Vios with a hatchback rear end. However, eagle-eyed readers might have noticed some subtle differences up front, as the all-new Yaris adopts a different lower grille design. The bodykit design, although similar to the Vios, gets a slightly different finishing (black with some red highlights).View full review
User Review of Toyota Yaris
Small but turning radius poor. Very unstable.
Good car for city driving
value for money
very satisfied and comfortable ride
Best hatchback car