Review

Toyota Yaris hatchback

Price  £10,995 - £16,695

Toyota Yaris hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Reliable
  • Roomy interior
  • Fuel-efficient engines
Cons
  • Dull styling
  • Cheap-feeling interior
  • Not as fun to drive as rivals

At a glance

The greenest
1.4 D-4D Icon 5dr £15,595
The cheapest
1.0 VVT-i Active 3dr £10,995
The fastest
1.4 D-4D Icon 5dr £15,595
Top of the range
1.33 VVT-i I Excel M-drive S 5dr £16,695

"This Toyota Yaris supermini is 100mm larger than the previous version, resulting in a bigger boot and more interior space."

The Yaris is Toyota's answer to the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo and every other supermini vying for buyers’ attention. It brings reassuring features, such as a reputation for reliability – barely dented by Toyota's spate recalls in recent years – easy driving manners and a long warranty to the class.

On top of that, the latest model is very economical and efficient, with half of the range being exempt from road tax. For those buyers keen on saving even more at the pumps, there's a hybrid version capable of 80.7mpg.

The Yaris, like its main competitors, is available with three or five doors and puts ease of to driving at the top of its priority list. It has light steering, good brakes and a smooth, easy gearshift. It's not too sensitive to your inputs, so doesn’t feel uncomfortably sporty. Instead, it goes about its business quietly and dependably, riding on soft suspension that means it leans a little in corners.

However, the Ford Fiesta is both more rewarding to drive and more comfortable on the UK's broken roads than the Yaris. These qualities are unlikely to impress the Yaris’ older and more loyal target market, though.

In addition to the aforementioned 1.5-litre petrol hybrid, there's a choice of petrol and diesel engines. Our pick of the petrols is the more powerful 1.33, which is nippy around town but has the legs for longer journeys when required. It's reasonably economical, too. The 1.4-litre diesel is the quickest engine in the range, but its higher price and the higher cost of diesel mean it's unlikely to win over many Yaris buyers, who typically do short runs and are happy with their petrol cars’ running costs.

Where the Yaris really excels is its generous interior space, which compares well to family hatchbacks from the class above such as the Ford Focus. Convenient and undemanding in nature, the Yaris is also fairly easy to buy, with just four trim levels on offer: Active, Icon, Sport and Excel.

Even the basic Active has electric front windows, driver's seat height adjustment, steering wheel-mounted controls and a USB connection. However, for air-conditioning and welcome luxury touches such as soft-feel materials and a leather steering wheel, you’re better off with Icon.

The previous version of this Yaris scored the full five stars for crash safety when it was tested by Euro NCAP. However, that was under the old, slightly less stringent regime. Today's model hopes to reassure buyers with a good range of safety equipment that includes seven airbags, electronic stability control, and front and rear seatbelt warning buzzers. A worthwhile option is Toyota Safety Sense which, for £400, offers must-have features such as automatic emergency braking, which can help avoid low-speed shunts.

Not sure what you're looking for? Find out what we think is the best small car by watching our video below.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.9 / 5

Low running costs feature throughout the Toyota Yaris range, but the hybrid model is also exempt from the London Congestion Charge

Engines, drive & performance

2.4 / 5

It’s easy to drive, but the Toyota Yaris can’t entertain like a Ford Fiesta can

Interior & comfort

3.3 / 5

All Toyota Yaris models could do with being a little quieter, but the Hybrid model is the noisiest of them all

Practicality & boot space

3.9 / 5

The Toyota Yaris comes with a choice of three or five doors and has passenger space to rival cars from the class above

Reliability & safety

4.1 / 5

The Yaris has an enviable reputation for reliability and safety in the supermini class

What the others say

3.1 / 5
based on 4 reviews
3 / 5
"The Toyota Yaris is spacious and reliable, but lacks the sparkle of the Ford Fiesta."
3.5 / 5
"Previously the Yaris has majored in bulletproof reliability, a spacious well-built cabin, a strong range of economical engines and low running costs."
3 / 5
"The Toyota Yaris offers plenty of space and equipment at a keen price, but there are numerous other small cars that have classier interiors and are better to drive."
6 / 10
"A far-reaching facelift has improved it, but it's still not a match for the class best. At least you can now justify it."
What owners say 
4.2
4.2 /5 based on 429 reviews
59%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
2 Jul 2015
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