2013 Toyota Ractis 1.5 petrol from Japan
A good, practical car with a horrible transmission
Nothing in the short time I've had it.
This was a rental car I hired in Japan. There was no review here, so I thought I'd add one.
It's based on the Toyota Yaris platform, but it's taller and I think perhaps a bit longer, because it's quite spacious inside. There's a decent amount of legroom front and back, even for tall-ish people like me (185cm / 6' 1"). The front seats have a very tall back, which makes them fairly comfortable, but there was no lumbar adjustment on the model I drove. The steering wheel adjusted for height, but not reach. The boot was also a good size, which given the legroom, makes me think the Ractis is a bit longer than the Yaris. I think with the rear seats down, I could just about fit my bike in without taking the front wheel off, which is terrific for a sub-compact car. There was a foot operated park brake, which I found a bit weird, never having encountered one before, but you get used to it.
The engine, for such a small unit, was actually pretty decent. It sounded horribly thrashy when asked anything of, as most small engines do, but it still managed a respectable turn of speed, even going up hills.
What I hated about this car was the transmission; it was a CVT (continuously variable transmission), and if you've never driven a car with one - and I hadn't - they make the car sound awful and turn it into quite an unpleasant motoring experience. A CVT has no fixed gear ratios, so the engine sound winds up and winds down, making it sound like the car is really labouring, even if it isn't. The sound is a bit like a lawn mower, or perhaps a louder mobility scooter. It just sounds really sick when you take off.
The other thing I didn't like is that the front of the car is invisible when you're sitting in the driver's seat. That makes squeezing into tight parking spots somewhat of a guessing game - you could easily find out where the front is by accidentally bumping into pillars or other cars.
Then there's the name; Ractis sounds like a disease. You go to the doctor with a mysterious set of symptoms, then later the doctor telephones you and says, "I'm afraid it's Ractis".
But if you can live with the horrible sounding transmission, it's actually a pretty decent car. Certainly there's a lot of space inside; great headroom and good leg room. The engine also has a decent amount of power. The steering is pretty numb, but then it is a Toyota, so that's expected.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 5th July, 2014