Toyota Yaris 1.33 review
Previous versions have been practical and versatile, despite their small size, and the new Yaris builds on those qualities. It's a little longer than the old model, but is still shorter and easier to park than a Ford Fiesta.
You get plenty of technology, too. Toyota's Touch system is standard on all bar the base T2 trim, and combines audio and Bluetooth settings in one touch-screen application to reduce the number of buttons you need. Upgrade to Touch and Go, and the system incorporates sat-nav.
What's it like to drive? We've previously driven the 1.0-litre petrol Yaris, but here we're concentrating on the 1.33 petrol.
It has more power – 98bhp compared with the 1.0's 68bhp – so accelerates quicker, although you still have to give it plenty of revs. This hurts refinement, and there's a lot of wind nose at motorway speeds. Still, at least the engine settles down at a steady cruise.
The 1.33 feels pretty perky in town, too. However, it's in town that you really notice the stiffer suspension set-up of cars in sporty SR trim. Most Yaris models already suffer from an unsettled ride, and life is even harder in the SR, with bumps thudding through the cabin. On the upside, there's less body lean in corners.
Whichever suspension set-up you choose, the Yaris turns into bends pretty sharply and grips well. Just don't expect it to be as enjoyable to drive as a Fiesta because the steering is disconcertingly light and short on feel.
Toyota's Multitronic S CVT gearbox is new to the Yaris and, as in other models, its auto mode makes the car very noisy under acceleration. Switch to manual and you can keep things quieter. Shifts are pretty slick – you change gear either with the gearstick or by pulling on steering wheel-mounted paddles.
What's it like inside? There's always been oodles of space in the Yaris, and you get even more in the new one. A longer wheelbase means more legroom, and while the boot isn't huge, its 286-litre capacity is about par for the course in this class.
Sadly, the interior plastics disappoint because they look very cheap, and feel quite hard and scratchy.
Should I buy one? While the Yaris is competent on the road and pretty roomy, there's nothing that makes it outstanding. Sure it should be cheap to run – the 1.33 engine averages over 50mpg – but prices are quite high, and the Yaris isn't as fun as a Fiesta or as posh as a Volkswagen Polo.
Volkswagen Polo review
What Car? says