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 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.