Toyota Yaris hatchback
- Economical engines
- Spacious interior
- Good reliability
- Bland looks
- Cheap-feeling cabin
- Not much fun to drive
At a glance
“There’s no doubting that the Toyota Yaris is a practical small hatchback that will be cheap to run – especially in hybrid form.”
For most people, the Toyota Yaris will prove a faithful, inexpensive and reliable companion. It's very much a car you’ll buy with your head rather than your heart, but if all you’re after is an easy-to-drive supermini with a long warranty and a decent amount of space inside, then the Yaris makes a great deal of sense.
In terms of rivals, the Toyota Yaris is up against fellow superminis like the Honda Jazz, Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia. Now, some of these will be more spacious, some will be more engaging to drive and some will have a nicer interior, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the Yaris.
Running costs should remain low as well. None of the engines emits more than 119g/km of CO2, meaning you won’t pay more than £30 a year in road tax and several models won’t cost you anything at all. Even the least efficient model will still return 55.4mpg and the super-efficient Toyota Yarus Hybrid can top 85mpg, meaning you won’t spend much time at the pumps as well, while Toyota's five-year warranty gives you peace of mind in terms of maintenance costs, too.
If you’re doing plenty of motorway miles, then we’d recommend going for the 1.4-litre diesel. Not only is it the fastest model in the range, but it's also very nearly as economical as the hybrid. It is however, more expensive to buy and diesel is, mostly, a more expensive fuel to buy than petrol; so you need to be doing lots of miles to justify these extra costs.
We’d recommend going for the 1.33-litre petrol if you’re likely to spend most of your time in town, though. It's smooth, nippy enough around town and pretty economical, too. The 1.0-litre petrol just isn’t powerful enough for this car, unfortunately. The Hybrid costs a fair amount more than most other Yaris models, but will be worth it as a company car thanks to its 9% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company car tax rating. You do notice the lack of a small turbocharged petrol engine – like Ford's 1.0-litre EcoBoost – however, which would give more power for similar running costs.
One of the Yaris’ biggest strengths is the spacious interior and impressively large boot. It's one of the most practical cars in the class and has plenty of space inside for four adults, while the 286-litre boot (rising to 768 litres with the rear seats down) is right up there with the class leaders.
Some of the materials inside don’t feel quite as plush as those found on the Volkswagen Polo or Skoda Fabia, however, and sometimes the design feels a little uninspired compared to its rivals.
To keep things straightforward, there are only four trim levels available: Active, Icon, Design and Excel (which is only available as a hybrid). Entry-level Active has electric front windows, a USB socket and a multi-function steering wheel, though the Icon trim level is a better buy if you can stretch to it, as it has classier materials in the cabin and air conditioning.
Neither safety nor reliability will be a concern if you opt for a Yaris. Euro NCAP awarded it the full five stars for safety and it comes with loads of equipment. There are seven airbags, stability control, traction control and the obligatory anti-lock brakes. You also get a buzzer which sounds if your seatbelt has not been done up. Toyota's reputation for reliability is second to none, and this is held up by the Yaris’ performance in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey – coming an impressive 26th out of 200 cars for reliability.
Low running costs feature throughout the Toyota Yaris range, but the hybrid model is also exempt from the London Congestion Charge
It’s easy to drive, but the Toyota Yaris can’t entertain like a Ford Fiesta can
All Toyota Yaris models could do with being a little quieter, but the Hybrid model is the noisiest of them all
The Toyota Yaris comes with a choice of three or five doors and has passenger space to rival cars from the class above
The Yaris has an enviable reputation for reliability and safety in the supermini class