Toyota Yaris hatchback (2011-2020)
"The Toyota Yaris supermini is a reliable and efficient car, which is more stylish than ever and even comes as a hybrid"
- Economical engines
- Spacious interior
- Good reliability
- Bland styling
- Cheap-feeling interior
- Not that much fun to drive
The Toyota Yaris has earned itself a loyal following since the first version went on sale in 1999. It combined up-to-the-minute looks with the practical and reliable nature that Toyota had built its reputation on.
The current version, most recently updated in early 2017, hasn't strayed too far from its predecessors' simple nature, but is far more stylish and well equipped. Toyota's generous five-year warranty comfortably outstrips those offered with the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa and matches that of the Hyundai i20. Build quality is a strong point, too, approaching that of the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia.
Another key to the Yaris' appeal is its low running costs. The hybrid version (which we've reviewed separately) takes the laurels for the lowest fuel consumption and claimed CO2 emissions and its 22% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rating is relatively good news for company-car buyers. However, private buyers may find its claimed 56-58.9mpg economy (depending on model) tricky to achieve. The 1.5-litre petrol still impresses with its up to 47.8mpg and is less expensive to buy.
A 1.0-litre petrol is also available, but while it's slightly more economical than the 1.5-litre, it's rather sluggish in comparison, detracting from driving pleasure. The larger petrol and the hybrid feel at ease on the motorway, although neither can match the Ford Fiesta's 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine for verve and responsiveness.
The Yaris is both easy to drive and comfortable to travel in, with sufficient room for four adults without feeling cramped. The dashboard design can't match the exuberance of the exterior styling, but is tidily arranged and well constructed. The Yaris is now only available as a five-door model and it has a generously proportioned 286-litre boot.
The model line-up consists of five main trims. Active is the entry-level specification and includes electric front windows, Bluetooth and a six-speaker stereo, but you don't get a DAB radio, air conditioning or alloy wheels unless you upgrade to Icon. This brings an infotainment system with a reversing camera as well as cruise control, and there’s also an Icon Tech model with a navigation system, rear parking sensors and different alloy wheels.
The limited-edition Y20 trims introduce a larger alloy-wheel design as well as some grey exterior touches, specific badging and privacy glass. A GR Sport trim has been added with similar looks to the sold-out Yaris GRMN hot hatch, although the changes are only aesthetic. Lastly, there's also a range-topping Excel with an even higher specification, but its high price pushes it beyond competition with many rivals.
The Toyota Yaris ought to prove painless to own – although it placed an uninspiring 59th out of 100 cars covered by our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, its low running costs and impressive reliability drew plenty of compliments. A five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating adds to its credentials as a thoroughly sensible family car.