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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Cheap to run; practical; drives well

Against Firm ride; three-door’s rear seat access is tricky

Verdict Quality at a low price; rivals better it for comfort

Go for… 1.3 VVTi GS 5dr

Avoid… 1.0 S 3dr

Toyota Yaris Hatchback
  • 1. There have been reports of whining gearboxes, but most of these should have been replaced under warranty
  • 2. Slipping clutches are common on cars that have been used mainly in town
  • 3. Uneven tyre wear is an indication of misaligned suspension; look for kerb-damaged wheels, too
  • 4. Getting in and out of the back of a three-door Yaris can be tricky, but the front seats are comfortable
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Toyota Yaris Hatchback full review with expert trade views

The Toyota Yaris made the competition look outdated when it was launched. Its perky styling was fresh and the interior offered the sort of space many associated with cars from a class above.

The front seats offer superb comfort, too, and the only problem is that getting in and out of the rear seat of a three-door model can be tricky.

The dash also sets the Yaris apart from the herd. The instruments are housed in a ‘floating’ binnacle in the centre of the dash with a digital display, and some people may find this hard to get used to.

They may also find it hard to cope with the firm ride - the price you pay for the sharp handling - and how hard you need to work the 1.0- and 1.3-litre petrol engines to keep pace with traffic. Alternatively, you could go for the T-Sport’s 105bhp 1.5-litre engine, which turns the Yaris into a junior hot hatch, or the quiet and frugal 1.4 turbodiesel.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Demand as strong as ever, especially automatics and Colour Collections

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Unless you spend your whole driving life in town or are determined to make every gallon go as far as possible, we’d recommend opting for the 1.3-litre petrol engine for its greater flexibility. We’d also choose the five-door body, as access to the rear seats in it is much better.

The basic S spec doesn’t get power steering or twin front airbags, so is best avoided. GS, the trim we recommend, has the power steering and airbags, as well as a better stereo, while the GLS has a sunroof and the CDX has air-con. There’s also the sporty SR with alloy wheels.

In early 2002, the trim levels were simplified in line with Toyota’s other models, so T2 replaced GS, T3 arrived in place of GLS and T-Spirit took over from CDX, although there were no changes to equipment.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Excellent reliability, very low average bills of £80 make this small car a fantastic buy

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

You can run a Yaris on a tight budget without having to skimp on proper servicing. Toyota dealers provide good service, but independent specialists can offer cheaper labour rates.

On top of that, Toyota reduced the cost of its spare parts in 2002, so keeping a Yaris in the best of health need not be expensive. Service intervals of 20,000 miles also mean you won’t necessarily have to see a garage for long periods.

Unless you choose the 1.5-litre engine in the T Sport model, insurance will be cheap, while low-emission engines also mean the Yaris sits at the lower end of the road tax scale.

Last, but not least, whichever engine you choose, fuel economy will be excellent. The 1.4 turbodiesel can return up to a claimed 67mpg, which is superb. The 1.0-litre petrol is good for 50mpg, the 1.3 returns 47mpg and even the T-Sport can manage 41mpg.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Demand as strong as ever, especially automatics and Colour Collections

James Ruppert
Used car guru

By far and away the biggest complaint about the Yaris, according to Warranty Direct, concerns the transmission. There have been reports of whining gearboxes, but most of these should have been replaced under the manufacturer’s three-year warranty. More common are slipping clutches, especially if the car has been used mainly in town.

Uneven tyre wear is an indication of misaligned suspension, so look for kerb-damaged wheels. Otherwise, the Yaris is a hard-wearing supermini with a much higher-than-average rating for reliability, which explains its continually strong showings in the JD Power survey and our own reliability reports.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Excellent reliability, very low average bills of £80 make this small car a fantastic buy

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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