Toyota Yaris Hatchback full 9 point review
The entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol model is slow, even when you work it hard. It doesn’t cost much to upgrade to our favourite version, the 1.33 four-cylinder, which is more flexible and has a decent turn of pace when you rev it. The Hybrid model, which has a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, is perkier if still hardly brisk, while the 1.4-litre diesel gives decent performance.
Ride & Handling
The Yaris isn’t the smoothest-riding supermini; it feels jittery over scruffy surfaces and at speed, and sharp-edged ridges send a jolt through the cabin. The larger wheels of Sport models make things even less comfortable. It copes well with speed bumps, though, and the car’s small dimensions, tight turning circle and light steering help make it easy to manoeuvre in town. Many rivals handle better than the Yaris, and its steering is vague.
All the engines are raucous when you rev them hard, and the diesel and smallest petrol are noisy even when you don’t. You feel vibrations coming through the seat and pedals in both these versions, too. The 1.33-litre petrol engine is far smoother, and although the Hybrid drones when you accelerate hard, it swaps between petrol and electric power smoothly at low speeds. Road noise is pretty well contained, but there’s lots of wind noise at motorway speeds.
Buying & Owning
The Yaris costs a similar amount to most rivals, and its resale values are average for the class. All models are comparatively good for fuel economy and CO2 emissions, so they won’t cost too much to run. The star of the show is the Hybrid; it has low tax costs and is one of the cheapest hybrids on sale, even though it’s pricey for a small car.
Quality & Reliability
Toyota’s reliability record is the envy of the motor industry, so you’ll have few worries that your car will ever let you down. Even so, there’s always the generous five-year/100,000-mile warranty to fall back on. The Yaris’s interior is lifted by a strip of soft-touch plastic across the middle of the dashboard, but there are some harder plastics lower down, and although most of the switchgear feels robust, some of the pieces of trim are flimsy.
Safety & Security
Every version has an impressive amount of safety kit as standard. There are no fewer than seven airbags to help you avoid injury in a smash, and stability control and sophisticated braking systems to help you avoid having a crash in the first place. The Yaris was also awarded the maximum five-star rating in its Euro NCAP crash test. Deadlocks and an engine immobiliser are on hand to deter thieves.
Behind The Wheel
All models have a height-adjustable driver’s seat, plus rake and reach steering wheel adjustment; taller drivers may wish for more reach adjustment, however. Icon versions and above come with a touch-screen infotainment system that reduces the number of buttons on the dashboard. It’s reasonably easy to use, with simple menus and clear (if slightly small) icons, but it’s a little slow to respond and can be tricky to read in bright sunlight.
Space & Practicality
The Yaris caters pretty well for its passengers – there’s lots of room up front, and although rear-seat headroom is a little tight, there’s an impressive amount of legroom. The 286-litre boot is about par for the course where small cars are concerned, but the Hybrid model loses a little of that to its petrol-electric gubbins. All versions come with split-folding rear seats to boost capacity.
Entry-level Active cars are sparse, so go for Icon trim if you can. This brings a touch-screen control system, a reversing camera, air-con, Bluetooth and alloy wheels. Sport adds larger wheels, LED daytime running lights, a rear spoiler and a DAB radio. Excel versions are pricey, but have climate control, part-leather seats and automatic lights and wipers. Hybrid models come in Icon and Excel trims and are slightly better kitted than their conventionally powered counterparts.