Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Ignoring the grin-inducing GR Yaris hot hatch, which gets its own separate review, currently there’s only one engine available: a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol that does without a turbocharger. Instead it uses a couple of electric motors and a battery pack to boost performance and fuel economy. Total power is 114bhp, which is enough for a respectable 0-60mph time of 9.0sec (in our own tests).
A CVT automatic is the only gearbox and, when you squeeze the accelerator pedal, moderate acceleration arrives reasonably promptly. However, when you need a real turn of pace there's quite a lot of noise, as we'll come on to explain in the Refinement section below.
However, although the Yaris is capable of making the corners of your mouth point upwards more than the Jazz can, the Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza and even Polo are much more fun to drive. All of those cars have more feelsome, naturally weighted steering, and feel lighter on their toes – even if the Polo does lean quite a bit through faster twists and turns.
Noise and vibration
You'll be impressed by the Yaris’s peaceful manners around town, where the petrol engine is frequently left to slumber while the electric motor does all the work. Toyota claims that the Yaris can run on battery power alone for up to 80% of the time, and if you're crawling in traffic that may indeed be true.