The statement “Success hangs by a thread” implies that success is precarious and can easily be lost. In the case of Toyota, this statement refers to their secret of success, which is attributed to Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota. He initially built spinning machines and later developed a weaving machine with his son Kiichirõ. This weaving machine introduced the fundamental principle of Toyota production known as Jidõka, which means automated automation. It involved incorporating a mechanism in the machine that would stop it if the thread broke. The money earned from patent sales of this machine was used to finance Toyota’s entry into car production.
Since then, Toyota has focused on producing solid, reliable, and unpretentious everyday cars. The Yaris, the subject of this test, is considered one of the most reliable and unpretentious cars in its class. In this particular test, the Yaris is evaluated as a pure petrol engine model with 125 horsepower, competing against its corporate counterparts, the Seat Ibiza and Skoda Fabia, both powered by a 110-horsepower one-liter turbo petrol engine. These cars aim to surpass the Yaris in terms of performance and features.
The Yaris stands out for its compact dimensions, being narrower than the other two cars and having a length of less than four meters. Despite its smaller size, it offers a spacious interior due to its set-back A-pillars. However, the rear seating area is more suitable for two adults, and the trunk space is smaller compared to the Seat and Skoda models. The Yaris offers practicality through the option to fold down the rear seat backrest to expand the trunk capacity, but it lacks additional innovative features in terms of variability.
The Yaris emphasizes functionality in its interior design, with a focus on durability. However, the doors have a lightweight construction, resulting in a somewhat tinny closing sound. The instrument cluster is minimalist, featuring only two digital displays. On the other hand, the Yaris offers a real head-up display, which is a notable feature. The extensive assistance system and head-up display can be controlled through buttons on the steering wheel, although their organization may require some effort.
In this particular model of the Yaris, only the petrol engine is utilized, without the hybrid system. The 1.5-liter three-cylinder naturally aspirated engine is combined with a 59 kW electric motor, resulting in a total system output of 116 horsepower. The Yaris provides an unexpectedly enjoyable driving experience, with smooth acceleration and a precise six-speed gearbox. However, it lacks strong acceleration and remains energetic without being overly powerful. The Yaris also demonstrates better fuel consumption compared to the two weaker and slower turbocharged engines in the Seat and Skoda models.
The Yaris chassis complements the engine performance well, providing reliable steering and sufficient precision for safe cornering. The lightweight construction contributes to the agile handling of the car, with the electronic stability control (ESP) ensuring safety. The Yaris also excels in braking performance, offering the highest deceleration values among the three cars tested.
Despite its strengths, the Yaris faces some drawbacks, including its firm suspension setup. It can be uncomfortable when encountering short bumps and tends to exhibit heaving movements on longer waves, struggling to maintain tight body control. Whether these drawbacks will affect its chances of winning against its competitors remains to be seen.
Moving on to the Seat Ibiza, it is worth noting that it shares the same platform as the Skoda Fabia, both being based on VW’s A0 transverse matrix optimized for small cars. This platform emphasizes space efficiency. The slightly smaller dimensions of Ibiza can be attributed to its shorter length and sleeker shape. Nevertheless, the rear seat of the Ibiza provides the most comfortable seating experience, thanks to its better padding. The Ibiza also offers comparable cargo space, which can be further adjusted using a height-adjustable floor and split-folding backrest.
The driving experience in Ibiza is characterized by its livelier, more involved nature, mainly due to the gearbox. Although the engine performance itself is not particularly exuberant, the Ibiza’s precise and well-graded six-speed gearbox enhances the overall driving enjoyment. In contrast, the Fabia features a double-clutch transmission that may contribute to slightly lower fuel consumption. However, the extra cost of the transmission is deemed unnecessary.
Regarding the driving dynamics, there are no significant differences between the cars in this group test, but each model has its defining nuances. The Ibiza has a slightly firmer suspension setup, resulting in a harsher response to short bumps. However, it performs well in absorbing rough waves and edges, and it exhibits more confident cornering abilities. The steering provides precise feedback and greater confidence in navigating bends. While the Ibiza tends to understeer slightly later than the Skoda Fabia, it excels in braking performance.
In conclusion, the Toyota Yaris, Seat Ibiza, and Skoda Fabia all have their unique characteristics and strengths. The Yaris stands out for its reliability and unpretentiousness, offering a pleasant driving experience. The Ibiza impresses with its comfort, space efficiency, and engaging driving dynamics. The Fabia shares its platform with Ibiza and delivers similar performance but with less emphasis on dynamic capabilities. Ultimately, the winner among these three cars will be determined by further evaluation and comparison.
Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI: With a power output of 110 horsepower and a torque of 200 Newton meters, the Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI offers a trunk capacity ranging from 355 to 1,165 liters. During testing, it achieved a fuel consumption rate of 6.8 liters per 100 kilometers, while the eco consumption was measured at 5.4 liters per 100 kilometers. The starting price for this model is 20,980 euros.
However, when compared to its counterparts, Ibiza focuses on the essentials and does not offer many additional features. The digital instrument configuration, although not very intuitive, is the only notable exception. Despite this, the Ibiza is a solid and affordable car that can be enhanced with a limited but well-designed range of assistance equipment. Will it be able to succeed? Well, it is unlikely to make a significant impact.
On the other hand, the Fabia presents a desirable size. Sometimes, what we perceive as relinquishing something is merely a pause between two desires. Have we lost track of our priorities? No, such doubts do not arise when driving the Fabia. If we approach car purchasing with common sense, which doesn’t necessarily mean compromising, the Fabia is a vehicle that can impress everyone.
With its length of 4,108 millimeters, it offers ample space for comfortable, safe, efficient, practical, and uncompromising driving. It comfortably accommodates four adults without any feeling of congestion, thanks to well-designed details such as air vents, generous storage areas, and USB ports for rear passengers.
For an additional cost of 90 euros, the Fabia can be equipped with folding passenger backrests, further expanding its impressive range of transport and versatility. It is even capable of carrying a disassembled double bed, as we diligently evaluate crucial everyday transportation projects. Skoda has incorporated a comprehensive and functional set of assistance features into the Fabia, and although it should be noted that the Fabia with optional rear disc brakes exhibits longer braking distances, it still performs well, albeit slightly inferior to its counterparts.
Despite its pleasant interior and high-quality craftsmanship, the Fabia does receive some criticism regarding certain aspects such as its limited payload capacity and slightly higher noise levels. The direct shift gearbox also garners some negative feedback. It tends to hesitate or produce spinning wheels during start-offs and shifts down late on the freeway, occasionally displaying sluggish upshifts. While driving overland, it may shift through its seven gears unnecessarily, remaining in idle mode in normal and eco modes. Consequently, it surprises the driver when it requires re-engagement.
The Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI is equipped with a 110 horsepower engine, generating 200 Newton meters of torque. It offers a trunk capacity of 380 to 1,190 liters. The test consumption is measured at 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers, while the eco consumption is rated at 5.2 liters per 100 kilometers. The starting price for this vehicle is 20,440 euros.
When operating in Sport mode, the car appears to follow a specific strategy, although it may not be fully comprehensible. Consequently, it is advisable to manually initiate significant gear changes through the manual gate. However, this manual intervention does not have a negative impact on the drive’s efficiency. In the test, the Fabia achieved a fuel consumption rate of 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers, positioning it between the Ibiza (6.8 liters) and the Yaris (6.5 liters).
In terms of suspension comfort, the Fabia surpasses both the Ibiza and the Yaris. It exhibits a more gentle response to short bumps compared to the Ibiza and reacts more calmly to longer waves without experiencing excessive swinging or swaying in curves. However, it doesn’t become overly reactive. The car changes direction with confidence but lacks enthusiasm which might foster a close connection between the vehicle and the driver. The steering system maintains a prudent distance from the driver, providing good precision, albeit with less feedback and a more composed response compared to the Seat.
Ultimately, the Skoda Fabia maintains a level playing field with the Seat Ibiza. However, Ibiza focuses primarily on driving pleasure, which sets a limit on its capabilities. In contrast, the Fabia offers a complete package that leaves nothing to be desired, even encompassing a touch of playful irrationality. It is this aspect that makes the car indispensable and fosters an attachment that one would not want to let go of.
|Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI Xcellence||Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI Style||Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-i Team Germany|
|Trunk volume||355 to 1165L||380 to 1190L||286L|
|Displacement / engine||999 cm³ / 3 cylinder||999 cm³ / 3 cylinder||1490 cc / 3 cylinder|
|Performance||81 kW / 110 hp at 5500 rpm||81 kW / 110 hp at 5500 rpm||92 kW / 125 hp at 6600 rpm|