The thing with hatchbacks is that they’re normally seen as the yuppies’ or fresh graduates’ first econo-car of choice. Different cases would also see it as a TNVS driver or owner’s ride-sharing mobile. Simple, plain, no frills, it gets you from point A to point B with just about enough space, the right price, and with good fuel economy to boot.
Toyota has a few such cars in the Wigo and Yaris. Both are hatchbacks, both get a lot of TNVS love (with the latter getting a bit less), and are gas sippers. But for those who want to own, and not “share” them, both also prove that they have the looks to be more than the usual stereotypes, and that’s by way of none other than in-house modder TRD.
This review isn’t about the smaller car of the pair, though. Enter the Toyota Yaris TRD Edition.
On the outside, nothing calls attention more than this particular shade: Citrus Mica Metallic. It truly reminds the 80’s guy in me of Fanta, or Fruit-tella chewy candies, but I digress. There’s nothing better than a bright color to spark anyone’s curiosity, but that’s just a plus – the design of this current generation Yaris really is a lot better than yesteryears’. A bold fascia, more angular headlights, a streamlined silhouette, and that floating roof design make for one cohesive aesthetic for this hatchback. Add the red accent strips on the front bumper and side mirrors, and you get that extra look-fast factor. Nothing fancy, but rather classy and sporty.
Setting it apart from the normal top-of-the-line 1.5S is the TRD body kit. A look at those wheels, just to start, is enough to show that this “upgrade” is all about giving the impression of some performance prowess from the Yaris. Bigger alloys in machined silver and black spokes give a sportier look, along with its low-profile tires. Add to that the red-ringed TRD center cap and you have yourself a lot of OEM goodness compared to the stock silver alloys. Speaking of tires, this particular unit came with Bridgestone Adrenaline tires, again of a pretty low profile, but we’ll talk more about that later.
Of course, every full kit upgrade comes with chins, skirts, and a wing. As if the gaping lower grill on the front bumper isn’t sporty enough, it’s also remarkable how the black trim on the chin (valence) pieces trace perfectly into the foglight housings. The black accents continue to the side and rear skirts as well, giving a lot of needed contrast to an otherwise monotonous color to the entire car. Personally, I really liked the wing. It’s not one of those obnoxious pieces you’d expect from the aftermarket. It’s decent, it color-keyed but with black side accents, and it fits the overall sporty TRD theme well. It looks particularly better given the black C-pillar and black-bordered back glass, too, giving the floating roof scheme a more solid look.
The inside, on the other hand, is where the TRD goodness stops. What’s good about it is that this generation has a good-looking interior as it is. Yes it's the same as the Vios but the current design is heaps better than the model it replaced. From the gauge cluster with its highly readable information (numbers and trip information fonts) to the silver accent pieces adorning the dashboard, it’s easy to get a very youthful vibe with this car. One thing to nitpick about, though, is the faux carbon finish (not color, but the texture) on the center stack’s silver frame. If it’s a bid to be sporty, it should’ve been finished in glossy black; that would have been better.
The seats come in black upholstery with red center cloths, along with red contrast stitching along the edges. Speaking of stitching, you’ll also notice that the same can be found along the edges of (again) the center stack. Given how much plastic adorns the dash, this is a welcome detail to break the otherwise monotonous looks up front. A few gloss black pieces and a cool blue backlight to the climate control buttons add some needed class to an otherwise plain interior as well.
Headroom is very much livable for those up front, but as much can’t be said for the rear, though. Sure, you won’t exactly be scratching the headliner as a rear passenger, but you’re left wanting, especially if you’re taller than the average Juan dela Cruz. Shoulder space is best reserved for two adults in the back. If you noticed, the center armrest juts out towards the back. That means that the middle seat despite being provisioned for a middle occupant is best for children.
Passengers aside, the rear backrests do fold flat which translates to more cargo space, should the need arise. Note that the Yaris’ trunk is not sizeable, but there is enough versatility if you fold the rear seats; and that’s a good thing.
Overall, the Yaris gives you what you’d expect of a small car, and that is space enough for passengers and luggage. It’s not stellar by any means, but it’s a hatchback, so if you need something roomier, then the Altis is next in line in Toyota’s lineup.
You may have noticed by looking at that picture right above this paragraph that the engine bay lacks any flair, or TRD badging for that matter. That’s because the TRD application to the Yaris is all purely aesthetic. Yes, there are no racing or go-fast goodies in the TRD package, it’s all for looks. You still get the same Dual VVT-i 1.5 liter mill under the hood, and it still produces the same 107 HP and 140 Nm of torque whilst mated to a 7-“speed” CVT. That means you’re not getting the “Racing Development” part of the mods that you might’ve expected.
Not to fret, though, as those numbers are more than good enough for a city slicker. Overtaking is still easy, you get decent pull should you mash the throttle on open stretches, and best of all, you still get very frugal consumption even if you get caught and stuck in traffic. We bested the city with 10.4 km/L, and that itself is testament to the Yaris’ fuel efficiency. It’s not a racecar, despite what the badges say, but it gets the job done, and while making you look better, too.
Going back, we did mention the low profile tires. Unfortunately, the dampers and springs weren’t meant for thinner sidewalls; that made vibrations and road imperfections all the more perceptible to the driver and passengers, especially those in the back. If Toyota decides to include different, thicker tires from factory, this can be easily remedied, but for this particular review, we remain that this is a factor to be improved.
Given its PhP 1,210,700 price tag, you don’t get the most agile and nimble car out there. What you do get, though, is an economical, quick (but not fast) car that has more than enough space to bring you, your passengers, and a bit of groceries to where you’re going in a comfortably seated and good-looking ride. Yes, you may be left wanting in terms of the TRD department, but the TRD Edition gets one aspect of modding off your list, and that’s in the looks department.
It is worth noting at this point that the TRD parts that you see here are purely optional, read: available per piece. Wondering how much each part would set you back, well, the list is as follows:
TRD Front Spoiler : PhP 22,900
TRD Side Spoiler : PhP 26,700 (pair)
TRD Rear Spoiler : PhP 22,000
TRD Roof Spoiler : PhP 18,900
TRD 17” Alloy Wheels : PhP 16,300 (per piece)
That’s really a lot if you think about it, totalling to PhP 155,700. But as we did mention, the full kit gets you both the TRD badge and guaranteed OEM quality, perfect fitment included.
So is it worth the extra coin to get a purely aesthetic mod? If you have the extra money, then by all means, yes it is. If you want something with extra zing, space, and perhaps a stronger engine, then maybe the Yaris might not be for you. But for those who just want a handsome little hatch, the Toyota Yaris is a car that would totally fit the bill, kitted or not.