The Yaris is easy to see out of and a breeze to park but it’s quite noisy at speed and isn’t particularly comfortable
You can get the Yaris with either a petrol engine or a hybrid system. It’s also available with either a manual or a CVT automatic gearbox.
The entry-level 1.0-litre petrol is only worth considering if you spend most of your time pootling around town. It’ll return around 55mpg and is significantly cheaper to buy than the Hybrid. Its modest 69hp means it’ll struggle to keep up with fast moving traffic, however, and it drones rather loudly if you accelerate hard.
The bigger 1.5-litre petrol engine is a better bet if you regularly travel long distances. It’s not quite as perky as the likes of a 1.0-litre Ford Fiesta but it’ll zip you along at motorway speeds without too much fuss and it’ll return around 50mpg.
The Yaris is about as exciting to drive as it is to look at – that is to say not very. Thankfully, it’s perfectly happy nipping through heavy city traffic
The hybrid model uses a slightly less powerful version of the 1.5-litre petrol engine that’s assisted by a compact electric motor and a CVT automatic gearbox. This combination helps it return around 70mpg and produce so little carbon dioxide that you can drive it into London without paying the congestion charge – ideal if you live or work in the Capital.
Toyota also offers an automatic gearbox on standard 1.5-litre models to help take some of the stress out of long journeys and rush hour traffic. However, not only is it pretty noisy when you accelerate but it’ll set you back £1,000 more than a manual model.
The Yaris gives you a good view forward and backwards and it doesn’t have any particularly awkward blind spots. This, combined with its light steering, helps make it a breeze to drive around town.
It’s manoeuvrable enough to slip into tight parking spaces with ease, but for a little extra reassurance, you get a reversing camera on all but entry-level Active models. Rear parking sensors come as standard on top-spec Excel versions, too.
The Yaris takes most small bumps in its stride but large potholes can send an unpleasant jolt through the cabin – especially if you pick a model with the larger 16-inch alloy wheels. Its rather soft suspension means it leans quite a lot in tight corners, too – not ideal if your passengers have a tendency to feel car sick.
Pick a hybrid model and you can cruise around at slow speeds using just its electric motor. This makes it much more relaxing to potter around town in than its petrol-powered siblings.
The Yaris received a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP when it was tested in 2011. These tests have been made much stricter since then, however, so newer cars – such as the five-star Nissan Micra – will offer more protection in a crash.
Since it was updated in 2016, all new Yaris models come with lane departure warning – to help stop you leaving your lane on the motorway – and automatic emergency braking as standard. All but entry-level Active cars feature cruise control and road sign recognition, too.