Used Toyota Yaris Hatchback 1999 - 2003 review

Category: Small car

Quality for a low price, but rivals better it for comfort

Toyota Yaris Hatchback (99 - 03)
  • Toyota Yaris Hatchback (99 - 03)
  • Toyota Yaris Hatchback (99 - 03)
Used Toyota Yaris Hatchback 1999 - 2003 review
Star rating

What's the used Toyota Yaris hatchback like?

The Toyota Yaris made the competition look very outdated when it was launched. Its perky styling was - and still is - fresh and the interior provides the sort of space many associate with cars from a class above. The front seats offer superb comfort, and pretty much 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, as the instruments are housed in a Ôfloating' binnacle in the centre of the dash with a digital display. However, some may find this a bit hard to get used to.


Quality for a low price, but rivals better it for comfort

  • Cheap to run
  • practical
  • drives well
  • Firm ride
  • three-door's poor rear seat access

They probably also won't like the uncomfortable ride - the price you pay for the car's sharp handling - and the fact that the 1.0- and 1.3-litre petrol engines have to be pushed hard to keep pace with traffic. On the other hand, the T-Sport's 105bhp 1.5-litre engine turns the Yaris into a junior hot hatch, while the 1.4 turbodiesel is quiet and frugal.

Ownership cost

What used Toyota Yaris hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Toyota Yaris hatchback?

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

Toyota reduced the cost of its spare parts in 2002, so keeping a Yaris in the best of health need not be expensive. And, with service intervals of 20,000 miles, you may not have to see a garage for long periods.

To cap it all, everday running costs are also very good. 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 bottom end of the road tax scale.

Last, but not least, the fuel economy is among the best, and the 1.4 turbodiesel can return 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.

Our recommendations

Which used Toyota Yaris hatchback should I buy?

Unless you spend your whole driving life in town or are determined to make every gallon of fuel 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 is much better.

The basic S spec doesn't get power steering or twin front airbags so is best avoided. The GS (which we reckon has the best blend of kit and cost) 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, but there were no changes to the amount of equipment on each.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Toyota Yaris hatchback?