The entry-level 68bhp three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol is very slow indeed, even when you rev it hard. It doesn't cost much to upgrade to the 98bhp 1.33, which is more flexible and has a decent turn of pace when you work it. The Hybrid version, which has a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, is even perkier. The 89bhp 1.4-litre diesel gives decent performance, too.
The Yaris isn't the smoothest-riding supermini, feeling decidedly jittery over scruffy surfaces. The sports suspension on SR cars makes things even less comfortable. With small dimensions, a tight turning circle and light, responsive steering, the Yaris is easy to manoeuvre in town. However, the steering doesn't get much weightier at higher speeds, so the car can feel twitchy.
All the engines sound decidedly raucous when you rev them, and the smallest petrol and diesel unist are noisy even when you don't. You feel plenty of vibration coming through the seat and pedals, too. The 1.33 is far smoother, and although the Hybrid drones a bit when you accelerate, 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.
The Yaris costs a similar amount to most other mainstream models, and residual values are about average for the class. All models are reasonably easy on CO2 and fuel, making them affordable to run, but the Hybrid is the star of the show in this respect. It’s pricey for a supermini, but it’s still one of the cheapest hybrids on sale. Plus, the Yaris comes with Toyota's generous five-year/100,000-mile warranty.
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. However, the cabin is woefully drab at the same time. Most of it is made from hard, scratchy plastic, and compared with most rivals, it’s desperately unappealing.
Every Yaris model comes with the same impressive safety kit as standard. There are no fewer than seven airbags to help you avoid injury in a smash, and stability control and sophisticated brakes to help you avoid having one in the first place. All this helped the car achieve a five-star crash rating from Euro NCAP. Deadlocks and an engine immobiliser are also on hand to deter thieves.
All versions come with a height-adjustable driver's seat, plus rake and reach steering adjustment. However, taller drivers might find the range of reach adjustment too limited, making it hard to get comfortable. Most of the trims come with an easy-to-use touch-screen infotainment system, which reduces the number of buttons on the dash. However, the menus are complicated and it can be hard to see the screen in bright sunlight.
The Yaris caters pretty well for its passengers – there's lots of room up front, and although rear headroom is a little on the tight side, there's an impressive amount of rear legroom. The 286-litre boot is about par for the course where superminis are concerned, but the Hybrid loses a little of that to its petrol-electric gubbins. All versions come with a split-folding rear seat to boost capacity.
The entry T2 model is pretty sparse, but TR trim and upwards get a touch-screen stereo system that incorporates Bluetooth, a reversing camera and, for a small fee, sat-nav. TR also provides alloys and air-con, while SR has sports suspension and part-leather trim. T Spirit models have climate control, keyless entry and automatic lights and wipers. Edition and Trend trims add sportier styling touches to T2 and SR trims respectively. Hybrid models have their own trims, named T3, T4 and T Spirit.
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Pricey for a Yaris, but because it's one of the cheapest hybrid cars around, we can see a reason to buy it. You can't say the same about other versions, because the Yaris is so far behind similarly priced rivals in so many areas.