Toyota Yaris Review
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid has a sporty look and is fun to drive yet it also doesn’t use much fuel. That engine isn’t the quietest, though, and don’t expect the finest cabin quality.
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The Toyota Yaris is a hybrid small car that gets a sporty look combined with great fuel economy and a genuinely fun drive. It’s looking to divert your attention away from other small cars such as the Ford, Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and VW Polo, although none of these offers a petrol-electric hybrid power.
That’s why it’s the Best Small Hybrid Car in our 2021 carwow Car of the Year Awards.
None looks quite as sporty on the outside, either. The aggressive front end of the Yaris makes it look like the newborn baby of Toyota’s raucous Supra sports car – especially versions further up the range, which get larger alloy wheels. And as for the fizzy Toyota GR Yaris, the company has done the automotive equivalent of feeding a Gremlin after midnight.
Inside, the Yaris doesn’t make such an impact, certainly next to a Peugeot 208. It’s not terrible, but the Peugeot’s cabin is much funkier, while some of the plastics on show in the Toyota aren’t up to the same standards as those in a VW Polo. But at least the Yaris’ climate controls are separate from the touchscreen and very easy to get your head around.
Talking of touchscreens, every Yaris gets one, either 7-inch in the entry-level model, or 8-inch from second-rung Design trim and up. In either case, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, which is a great thing, because Toyota’s native system is neither the most logical nor visually impressive. The optional Tech pack does bring a brilliant head-up display, mind you.
Space isn’t the Yaris’ strong point, either. Those in the front will have little to complain about, while the driving position is good and widely adjustable at the seat and steering wheel. Rear space is only average, though, because tall adults will struggle for knee room. The Yaris’ boot is also on the small side – ultimately a VW Polo is better for carrying people and belongings.
There's just one engine, but mid-level Design trim offers good looks and great equipment. Head to our deals page for the best price!
There’s just one engine option: a petrol-electric hybrid engine made up of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor fed by a small battery pack providing 116hp. It means the car charges itself on the move but you can drive for short periods on electricity alone. It also means it’ll return around 60mpg if you drive carefully around town.
In town is where the Yaris excels, because it’s often running silently on electricity and feels punchy off the line when darting through traffic. It also has a good turning circle and although its rear screen is relatively small, it’s easy to park thanks to a reversing camera coming as standard across the range.
On country roads, the Yaris is surprisingly good fun. Its engine does get a bit noisy when pushed hard due to the nature of its CVT automatic gearbox which holds onto revs rather than swapping physical gears, but it also steers sweetly and does a tidy job of cornering. Just know that on 17-inch alloy wheels it feels quite firmer, despite it helping the fun factor.
It can feel a bit bouncy on the motorway, too, but otherwise the Yaris cruises along well, with enough power in reserve for overtakes and not too much road and wind noise inside.
So, a Ford Fiesta is still the more fun car to drive, but this Yaris puts on a very impressive showing. A Polo is more spacious, too, but if that’s not your primary concern, then the Yaris offers lower running costs, higher levels of standard equipment and Toyota’s legendary reliability record.
If that’s convinced you, head to our deals page for the best prices.
Toyota Yaris Colours
You can get your new Yaris in a range of eight colours. And all but one will cost you extra.
Your paint choices kick off with Pure White, the standard, no-cost option. The next five Yaris colours are metallic paints – Galactic Blue, Decuma Grey, Eclipse Black, Tyrol Silver and Titan Bronze. They will add an extra £585 to the cost of your new car.
The most expensive paint options are pearlescent paints. They will cost £880 and you can choose either Tokyo Red or Platinum Pearl White.
|Pure White||No Cost|
|Platinum Pearl White||£880|
The Toyota Yaris has decent infotainment across the range and its cabin is well-built. There are small cars that are better in both areas, though.