Driving

Toyota Yaris review

Manufacturer price from:£13,320
What Car? Target Price:£12,395
Search new deals
Toyota Yaris
Review continues below...
20 Apr 2017 22:00 | Last updated: 21 Aug 2018 10:22

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Toyota Yaris hatchback performance

The entry-level 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol model is very slow, even when you work it hard, and struggles to keep up with traffic on faster roads and across hilly terrain.

It doesn’t cost much to upgrade to our favourite version, the 1.5 four-cylinder, which is more flexible, has better throttle response and a decent turn of pace when you rev it harder.

The hybrid model, which has a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, is perkier still, albeit hardly brisk. None of them has the same zingy power delivery as the latest small turbo petrol engines from Volkswagen, Seat and Ford.

Toyota Yaris hatchback ride

To make up for the hybrid's extra weight, Toyota has stiffened the model’s suspension over the others. That sounds like it should be bad news for ride comfort but, in fact, thanks to further revisions this model has received to its suspension, it is the most comfortable version of the Yaris.

The Yaris Hybrid soaks up bumps well while controlling its body movements better than the floatier 1.0 and 1.5 versions. Prior experience suggests that the Yaris's smaller 15in alloy wheels are a more comfortable option than the range-topping 16in ones.

Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris hatchback handling

Any small car faces a problem in the shape of the Seat Ibiza, which is one of the sweetest-handling cars available at any price. All its rivals struggle to match it.

The Yaris is no exception. Toyota has stiffened up the bodyshell to help the car feel more planted in corners, but the light steering gives the driver little indication of what the front wheels are up to. It also feels less eager to turn in to corners than the Ford Fiesta or Ibiza, rolls over more in bends and runs out of grip more quickly.

Hybrid versions come with skinny eco-tyres as standard, Because they are heavier than their petrol and diesel siblings, they consequently feel slightly less stable cornering at speed. Even so, the Yaris is easy to drive and handle, with light controls and a tight turning circle that make it easy to drive and park in town, if not very engaging outside it.

Toyota Yaris hatchback refinement

The hybrid model’s CVT automatic gearbox flares the revs of the 1.5 petrol engine when you accelerate, but it is always smooth. Those who drive mostly in town will also benefit from near-silent low-speed electric progress over short distances.

Push either the 1.0 or 1.5 hard and the engine booms loudly in the cabin, with the 1.0 three-cylinder sending back more vibrations through the controls. Noticeable road and wind noise on all three models on the motorway also frustrates.

 

open the gallery16 Images
There are 7 trims available for the Yaris hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
Active
Toyota’s Safety Sense package (now standard on all Yaris versions) brings automatic city braking technology, lane departure alert and automatic high beam, plus, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, powe...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£12,395
Average Saving £925
View Trim
OUR PICK
Icon
Icon versions of new Yaris add 15-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, air conditioning and a 4.2-inch colour TFT multi-information screen. They are also equipped with the Toyota Touch 2 touchscreen-...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£13,708
Average Saving £1,112
View Trim
Icon Tech
Icon Tech cars add satellite navigation and front parking sensors to the standard Icon features...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£14,214
Average Saving £1,156
View Trim
Design
Design trim gets larger 16in alloys, a honeycomb mesh grille, piano black side mouldings, rear privacy glass and a rear spoiler...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£14,934
Average Saving £1,216
View Trim
Excel
16in alloys, a rear spoiler and chrome side sills. LED front and rear lights are fitted, with an automatic dusk-sensing function for the headlights as well as climate control and part leather and A...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£16,452
Average Saving £1,348
View Trim
Bi-tone
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol/Electric Hybrid, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£16,544
Average Saving £1,356
View Trim
GRMN Edition
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£24,309
Average Saving £2,001
View Trim