Exorcising the Boringness: Toyota Yaris T-Sport

Toyota T-Sport. Red colour means they're at least trying.
There aren’t many cars I hate, in the true sense of the word. However, anything purely appliance-like isn’t going to top any my top ten favourite lists; cars made for people who do not care about cars, who just require a car and thus can commute in anything that has four wheels and starts in the morning. A car should be designed to be much more than that, it should appeal to those people but not alienate those who have to have a bit of verve to their conveyance. Like the Chevrolet Aveo, the Toyota Yaris is in the meh end of the automotive spectrum. It’s a car made for librarians and primary school teachers. It has a central gauge pod. That’s the worst thing one can do when designing a dashboard – the instruments, just like the steering wheel and pedals are meant for the driver. In one swift move, Toyota managed to ruin digital instrumentation for everyone by mounting them in the middle of the Yaris’s dash. But, there is a specification that eschews the everydayness and injects the Yaris with individuality. It’s the T-Sport package. This one I saw in my town is the naturally aspirated version with the 107hv 1.5-litre 1NZ-FE four. I admit, that’s not enough to set one’s heart racing, but consider that the Yarii mostly come with a 1.0-litre or 1.3-litre block of boring, having something with more than 100 hp under the hood is a good start. Inside, the bouncy castle dashboard gets a steering wheel pilfered from the MR2 or Celica, outside there are familiar-looking alloy wheels and a bit of side skirting. There is a mesh grille and a set of foglights. Silver/grey does not really fit the T-Sport; it makes it blend in with its surroundings while it should shout about itself. Alright, alright, in this guise it’s still a fairly run-of-the mill sort of hatch. What one really needs is a turbo thrown into the mix. Feel free to hum something motivating, any theme tune from an underdog film from the ’80s or ’90s. My personal choice here is Scarface (Push It To The Limit) by Engemann/Moroder. Intercooler, some piping and a strut brace. This is getting better. Proper aero package. This one even gets a rear spoiler – and are those OZ wheels? Grippier leather steering wheel. Proper white gauges instead of a cutesy digital bowl. Even the rear gets the regularness thrown into the bin; there’s something mimicking a diffusor here. The turbo edition of the Yaris T-Sport gets 150 horses out ot the powerplant and looks so much better. The suspension is lowered and stiffened. It’s still the same boring Yaris bodyshell, but the Toyota Motorsport improvements turn the poodle into a bulldog. There were 600 Denmark-built Turbos made, each individually numbered – the European Yarii were/are assembled in France. This 2005 T-Sport Turbo is for sale for 11 000 eur. With 60 000 km on the clock, it’s a reasonable buy and should hold on to its value well from now on – as new they cost 31k, so the biggest depreciation is now done. Photos: Nettiauto.com where indicated, otherwise by author.

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