What's the used Toyota Yaris like?
The original Toyota Yaris of 1999 broke the mould for small cars, with daring design details such as a digital speedometer housed in a pod in the centre of the dash. While it’s true to say the Yaris has become more conventional over the years, as reviewed here in third-generation guise, it still represents solid value for money, particularly for those who rate reliability over a car that’s fun to drive.
The Yaris is a practical choice too, with interior space for those in the back helped by the completely flat floor, making this one of the roomier cars in its class. There’s also plenty of headroom up front, although the dashboard design is a little basic.
Another feature that makes the Yaris stand out from rivals is the availability of a petrol/electric hybrid version, which loses out on some boot space but promises impressive green credentials.
Petrol engines in 1.0 and 1.33-litre capacities, plus a 1.4-litre diesel, make up the rest of the range. Our pick is the livelier 1.33-litre unit paired with the easy shifting five-speed manual gearbox (Toyota’s Multidrive S CVT automatic is fine around town but provokes a lot of engine noise under hard acceleration).
The light steering is good for town driving but, on the open road, it doesn’t inspire as much confidence as the more informative steering you get in rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo or Mazda 2. Similarly, ride comfort lags behind the Fiesta's; although the Yaris is far from unbearable, you do feel more thumps and bumps through the suspension and there’s a bit of wind noise at motorway speeds, too.
As you’d expect of a Toyota, the Yaris has a good reliability record and performed well in crash tests, with a five-star rating from industry experts Euro NCAP.
Also of note is a facelift in the middle of 2014 that resulted in a slightly swisher dashboard and more aggressive styling at the front of the car.