Last week, we wrote a detailed explanation of how all the variants of the new Toyota Yaris differ in terms of what they offer. While that is an important factor, what's even more important is to figure out how the Toyota Yaris fares against its rivals. The C-segment, mid-size family sedan category has been seeing a revival in terms of numbers, after having always been a strong-selling segment barring a more recent drop in numbers. Now, sales have picked up again, buoyed by the average car buyer's propensity on spending a little extra for a few more features, and car makers offering segment-first convenience, safety and comfort features with every new launch. At the moment, the mid-size sedan category in India feature the updated Hyundai Verna, the relatively newer Maruti Ciaz and the evergreen Honda City. Each have something new to offer, but have they left out enough space for the Toyota Yaris to fit in? Here's what we found.
To lend perspective to this comparison and help in your buying decision, we decided to break this comparison up into two parts - one for the base variants, and the other for the all-equipped top variants. This helps provide an idea on which car provides more value for money in terms of the features, and which has the outright most amount of equipment on board.
Note: All prices mentioned in this story are ex-showroom, Mumbai.
Part One: The entry-segment models
The base variants of each of the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Toyota Yaris provide entry points into the mid-size sedan category. These provide a basic range of features in comparison to what is available in this segment. Here's taking a look at how the four cars stack up against each other in terms of powertrain, exterior, interior and safety features.
Prices for base trims (ex-showroom, Mumbai): Toyota Yaris J: Rs. 8,75,000; Hyundai Verna E (Pet.): Rs. 7,80,000; Honda City S: Rs. 8,91,000; Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Sigma: Rs. 8,01,000
The Honda City provides the most powerful petrol engine of the lot, and has been a proven performer in terms of driveability. However, the Toyota Yaris is the only car providing an automatic gearbox option with the base model. The Yaris also has the shortest wheelbase of the lot, but only by a slim margin. The Maruti Ciaz tops the certified fuel economy charts, and also has the largest boot along with the City. The diesel variant of the base trim of the Hyundai Verna gets the most powerful overall engine, returning the highest power and torque figures. While the City appears to be the most balanced option, the Yaris comes with the advantage of a 7-speed CVT gearbox, which can be a major decision-maker for many buyers.
There's not much to go on here, since each of these cars provide a basic exterior package. The Yaris and the Ciaz include projector headlamps, while the City is the only one to feature LED DRLs. All but the Yaris get chrome inserts on the front grille, and only the Verna gets ORVM-mounted indicators. Taking only the exterior package into consideration, there is not much to choose between the four, except for which one you'd prefer in terms of the looks. The Ciaz looks the most plain jane among the lot, while the City has retained the design from its older generation. The Verna, meanwhile, looks almost like the Elantra, while the Yaris, too, has been touted to be a 'baby Corolla Altis', and being compared to a car that sits one segment above can never be a bad thing, can it?
The Toyota Yaris is the hands-down winner here. While none get a touchscreen on the dashboard, the Yaris includes a full suite of connectivity options, along with a monochrome MID, height-adjustable driver seat, keyless entry, steering height adjustment, all power windows and even a cooled glove box. The Honda City comes close in terms of connectivity options, but misses out on a height-adjustable seat, rear armrest cup holders and a cooled 'box. The Ciaz comes third in terms of features, and the base trim of the Verna, quite surprisingly, is the least equipped of the lot.
Here, too, the Yaris takes the cake. With a class-leading seven airbags even in the base trim, the Yaris scores high points on safety. It also gets Brake Assist, although the lack of ISOFIX ports is a surprising exclusion (all the other variants have it).
It would, hence, be safe to conclude that the Toyota Yaris offers the best value for your money if you want to buy a C-segment car but stick to the least expensive option possible. It is more expensive than the Hyundai Verna by over Rs. 1,00,000 and the Ciaz by almost Rs. 75,000, but makes up for the added price with the host of features that it offers. Plus, the presence of an automatic gearbox and a fairly well-equipped cabin somewhat justifies the price, too.
Part Two: The top trims
The top variants of the four sedans offer every feature that is put up on offer by the respective companies, and serves as a good indicator of the list of features that you can expect from higher-priced cars of these companies. Hence, if you were looking to go for the absolute top trims of the Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Verna, Honda City and Maruti Ciaz, these are all the comforts and features that you'd be privy to.
Prices for top trims (ex-showroom, Mumbai): Toyota Yaris VX (AT): Rs. 14,07,000; Hyundai Verna SX+ (Diesel AT): Rs. 12,95,000; Honda City ZX (Diesel MT): Rs. 14,10,000; Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Alpha (Diesel MT): Rs. 11,83,000
The story of powertrains remain fairly similar to what we saw in the base trims. The Verna provides the most powerful and torquey engine of the lot, and that coupled with the upgraded 6-speed automatic transmission makes it the best option in terms of steering feedback and driving quality. All the models come with 16-inch alloys and AT gearboxes, although the Ciaz's 4-speed automatic gearbox is a bit too outdated in the present crop of cars.
As mentioned before, the factor of exterior styling comes down in the end to what you personally prefer. All the cars come with projector LED headlamps, LED tail lamps, DRLs and plenty of chrome inserts, each holding its own in a bid to look more premium.
This is where the competition gets tight. The Yaris brings segment-first gesture-based controls to its infotainment system, although that appears more gimmicky than functional. It offers six speakers, which is the same as the Verna and the Ciaz, but includes the most number of connectivity interfaces, including even Wi-Fi tethering and HDMI. It also gets a unique, roof-mounted rear AC vent with ambient light trim, to make the cabin appear more premium and offer better airflow. It is also the only car to offer power-adjustable driver seat, and also includes rain-sensing wipers and a full-colour MID.
However, it misses out on an air purifying filter, which the rest of the cars come with. The Verna and the Ciaz also offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the City's new DigiPad unit is the only one to offer 1.5GB internal storage. All cars offer navigation as standard, and barring the Ciaz (which falls a bit short on equipment), each offer a fairly comprehensive set of equipment. However, the Yaris would get the benefit of having a new interface, along with segment-first power seat and roof-mounted AC controls.
While the Yaris' base trim was downright the best in terms of safety features, the Honda City and the Hyundai Verna provide almost a similar set of features. The Verna and City have six airbags to the Yaris' seven, and also come with rear parking camera with dynamic guides. The City even gets a multi-view mode, and all three include impact-sensing auto unlocking. Other features include rear defogger (the Verna further includes a timed-defogger), ISOFIX seats and auto-dimming inside rear-view mirrors. The Ciaz, with two standard airbags, rear-only sensors and no impact-sensing auto unlocking of doors, falls somewhat behind in terms of the overall competence in the safety and features department.
While the Toyota Yaris still remains a very good option to buy, it is almost as expensive as the Honda City ZX, which is the most expensive option in this segment. The Hyundai Verna, meanwhile, offers the most powerful engine and a reliable 6-speed AT 'box, along with impressive styling, a comprehensive set of features (and even cooled seats!) and ample safety features. Furthermore, it costs over one lac lesser than both the Yaris and the City, and that is a big reason why the Hyundai Verna is the best top-trim C-segment sedan to consider, based simply on an on-paper comparison.