- Efficient engines
- Cheap to run
- Not as fun to drive as rivals
- Poor refinement
- Interior quality
Toyota’s supermini is safe, spacious, and reliable, but it’s not much fun to drive
The Toyota Yaris is one of the most common sights on the UK’s roads. First introduced in 1999, the Yaris is now in its third generation. Competing with the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa, the Ford Fiesta, and the Volkswagen Polo, the Yaris is one of the most reliable superminis currently on safe. It offers one of the biggest boots in its class, and is also one of the safest, though it can’t quite match the driving experience of most of its rivals.
The latest update in 2014 featured a complete redesign, with funkier aesthetics, a new interior, and improved safety.
Spacious and well-specced, but lacks the quality of some rivals
The supermini market is one of the toughest to excel in, especially when it comes to interior design. With so much competition, it’s disappointing that the quality on show in the Yaris isn’t quite at the level of the market leaders. There is however much more space than a lot superminis, and equipment levels are impressive.
The cabin of the Yaris is solid and well-designed. There’s also some soft-touch plastics used in places, though hard plastics can be seen in some areas. Compared to a Volkswagen Polo, it feels a little on the cheap side. Trim feels a little fragile, though controls are nicely damped and placed where you’d want them to be. It’s not quite the complete package on offer by the market leaders, but it still feels pretty solid.
Storage space is a place in which the Yaris excels. With a boot capacity of 286 litres, it beats both the Volkswagen Polo and the Vauxhall Corsa for useable space. There’s enough room here for a good sized shop, or even a small buggy, which will make it an attractive proposition for small family buyers. There’s also plenty of space inside the cabin, with enough room for four adults to sit comfortably.
So long as you avoid the entry-level Active trim, the Yaris is a pretty well-specced car. The Icon trim is where the range really starts, and features air-con, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, a reversing camera, and a touch-screen infotainment system. This system is pretty simple to use, though it’s not quite as that on offer in the Vauxhall Corsa.
Overall the inside of the Yaris is a pretty solid package. It may not be up there with the market leaders in terms of interior quality, but it’s still pretty solid. There’s also a fair bit of space for a supermini, and spec levels are impressive.
Easy to drive, but not particularly engaging
The Yaris is much improved after its update in 2014. The new stiffer chassis makes it a more settled car to drive, though it’s far from fun. The Ford Fiesta sets the bar in this sector for driving experience, and unfortunately the Yaris doesn’t quite keep up.
A car that handles well is a major expectation from a city car. Unfortunately the Yaris doesn’t quite live up to this. It’s an easy car to drive, especially around town, but it’s far from engaging. There’s a fair bit of understeer, especially at higher speeds, so B road blasts are out of the question. The light steering is perfect for the city, making parking a breeze, and zipping through traffic a doddle, but it makes for an unresponsive driving experience in other situations.
Suspension and Chassis
The new firmer chassis and softer suspension springs makes the Yaris quite a decent car to drive on motorways, and it copes admirably with city speed bumps. Unfortunately however, it struggles with rough surfaces and potholes, so it’s far from a refined ride. Road noise and wind noise are however kept to a minimum, which makes motorway driving a little more bearable.
Gearbox options in the Yaris come in four guises. Entry-level models feature a 5-speed manual, whilst a 6-speed manual is on offer in models further up the range. There’s also a CVT automatic on offer, which uses a unique pulley system instead or regular gears. Finally, there’s the Multidrive S transmission, which acts like a manual, but doesn’t use a clutch. There’s some interesting gearbox options for such a small car, and the Multidrive S is sure to find fans from both manual and automatic drivers.
Hybrid engine is impressive, with solid fuel efficiency throughout the range
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Yaris, you’ve got three options: petrol, diesel, or petrol-hybrid. Toyota is famed for its hybrid engineering, and the hybrid on offer in the Yaris is a prime example of Toyota’s technological capability.
If performance is of primary concern, there’s no engine in the range that screams out ‘hot hatch’. Whilst competitors offer viable options for petrolheads, Toyota doesn’t. The fastest model in the Yaris range is the diesel-powered 1.4 litre D-4D. With just 90bhp, and a 0-62mph time of 10.8 seconds, it’s not going to be breaking any records. But with a fuel consumption rate of up to 80.7mpg, you’ll at least be saving cash at the petrol pumps.
One area in which Toyota excels is eco-friendly cars. The 1.5 litre VVT-i Hybrid motor produces just 75g/km of C02 emissions, which makes it one of the greenest cars on the market. It also means you won’t be paying any road tax. In addition it’s the cheapest car to run in the range, with up to 85.6mpg on offer. The hybrid is more expensive to buy than any other car in the range, but you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money over the years.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your Yaris, you’ll be getting an incredibly efficient car. Even petrol-powered models can give over 65mpg, and C02 emissions are low across the board. There’s no option for petrolheads, but the engines on offer have enough bite to cope day-to-day.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, decent standard equipment
Unlike a lot of superminis, the Yaris easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 89% in adult safety, 81% in child safety, and 60% in pedestrian protection, the Yaris is amongst the best in its class. There’s also 7 airbags as standard, as well as stability control, and advanced braking systems in place. The Yaris is one of the safest superminis currently on the market.
Cheap to run, and low insurance groups
The Toyota Yaris offers great value for money. Every model in the range offers impressive fuel efficiency, with even the thirstiest engine, the 1.33 litre petrol, producing up to 57.6mpg. C02 emissions are also kept low, with nearly every car in the range featuring free road tax due to sub-100g/km emissions. The Yaris hybrid also offers free London congestion charge, so it’s sure to find London-based fans. All in all the Yaris is an exceptionally cheap car to own.
Insurance is also cheap in the Yaris. The cheapest model in the range is the 1.0 VVT-i Active, which is in group 4, with the most expensive being the 1.4 D-4D Design, in group 12. Whichever model you for, the Yaris is a cheap car to insure.
Depreciation is one area that particularly affects the Yaris. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Toyota Yaris is a supermini with a lot going for itself. It features some incredibly efficient engines, it’s spacious, and it’s one of the cheapest cars to run. However, it’s not particularly fun to drive, interior quality isn’t quite as good as some rivals, and it’s not the most refined. But with an exceptional safety record, and decent levels of kit, the Yaris is certainly an option worth considering.
Buying a used Toyota Yaris online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Toyota Yaris for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Yaris. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Toyota Yaris online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Yaris? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Toyota Yaris, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Yaris, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Toyota to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.