Our Cars: 2012 Toyota Yaris – week 3
What’s in a name? More than you might think
By Shahzad Sheikh
Week 3: 20-26th January 2012 (read week 2 here)
It’s been working hard this week, chasing Land Rover convoys, acting as a mobile office, playing the role of support car for a photoshoot coming your way soon, and generally making itself very useful indeed.
In fact it lives up to its name… well part of it anyway. The other part would really be stretching it. What the hell am I talking about, you’re thinking. ‘Yaris’ doesn’t mean anything. It’s a made up name, something Toyota figured would roll off the tongue nicely.
Well yes, partly right. But there’s more to it than that. The designer of the original Yaris is Athens-born Sotiris Kovos. In fact the original Yaris is the only car of note he is known for – he is also responsible for the Lexus SC430, but I guess he doesn’t like to admit to that one. Probably a sore point, because since that car, all he’s designed are scooters and mopeds for Nipponia.
Anyway, back to the point. Although the Yaris is also sold under the Vitz name in Japan, and was also known as the Echo, it seems the name ‘Yaris’ was a tip of the hat to Kovos’ nationality. You see it turns out to be combination of two words, one of them being ‘Charis’ – who is a Greek goddess of beauty and elegance. Now you see what I mean about stretching it somewhat. Okay, it’s a handsome little bugger, but ‘beautiful’ and ‘elegant’? I think maybe not. Especially when you hark back to the original dopey looking first-gen Yaris.
So what’s the part of the name that counted? Well the ‘Ya’ bit came from the German expression ‘Ja’ which is essentially an exclamation of agreement. Hence each time you jump in this car and suggest going somewhere, it seems to jump up in glee and would wag its little tail if it had one, eager to, well, go anywhere, really.
Considering our proximity to the India subcontinent, we can also add another element to that name – ‘Yar’ or ‘Yaar’ is essentially a mate, a buddy, your pal. And that also reflects well on the little Toyota, which does want to be your BFF.
Although I would be uncertain of maintaining the longevity of this relationship, no only cause I have to give it back to Al Futtaim (UAE Toyota dealers) as some point. And mechanically I’ve no doubt that this car is as robust as it comes; I’ve wrung it’s neck on more than a couple of occasions and it seems to relish not rebel against the abuse. The interior plastics maybe another matter however, there are already scratch marks around the ignition and on the doors which makes things a little unsightly.
Overall though it hasn’t missed a beat or set a tyre wrong, and if it continues to behave itself, I might even give it a wash soon.