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Toyota Yaris: Test Drive Review

Date: 05 September 2011   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Supermini
P11D price: £13,205
Key rival: Mazda 2

While the majority of business car downsizing has been from large to small family cars, for example from Mondeos to Focuses, Toyota is aiming the new Yaris at those looking to go from small family cars to superminis.

As a result the car's now fractionally longer than the outgoing model, while a great deal of effort has gone into making the interior as large as possible. There's also a high level of equipment for all but the entry T2 trim.

At launch there will be a choice of three engines: 68hp 1.0-litre and 99hp 1.3-litre petrols and an 89hp 1.4 diesel. The 1.3 will be by far the biggest seller in both business and retail markets. There's also the option of a CVT automatic gearbox on the 1.3. All engines are fairly efficient, if not class-leading, with the 1.3-litre petrol hitting the 15% Benefit-in-Kind band and a combined figure of 52.3mpg.

Ignoring the no-aircon T2 model, the range runs up through the best-selling TR spec to SR (the sporty option with larger wheels and lower suspension) and on to T-spirit (the luxury trim).

The TR trim features a very attractive equipment list including Bluetooth, alloy wheels, ESP anti-skid control, reversing camera on a large colour screen that, at launch, will also host satnav as standard. The satnav features a system similar to that used by BMW and Audi, which links to Google Maps so you can send destinations to the car from your office (or home) computer. However, the offer is only available for the first few months after the car goes on sale. After this November you'll have to pay £500 for the nav option.

The downside to this is that the taxable P11D value is higher than competitor models. Oddly, Toyota in the UK has opted not to include stop/start, which it claims would have only reduced the CO2 output by 4g/km but would have pushed the price up by £500. The brand claims the savings from this wouldn't have paid off for at least five years.

The car looks the part on the outside without having a particular 'wow' factor. The interior, meanwhile, is very spacious for the class with enough knee and headroom to sit two adults in the rear and a good-sized boot. However, the quality of the interior materials let the Yaris down. The grained dashboard top looks hard and shiny, while those materials lower down also appear low cost, even if the soft-touch of the dashboard and the steering wheel look and feel much better. The driving experience too is only average, with little fun or feedback built into the Yaris. There's also a high level of wind noise from around the windscreen at speeds above 60mph. The result is a car that will find it tough in the crowded supermini market. The initial satnav offer is very attractive, but after that there's little to stop buyers heading for a more efficient, lower cost and higher quality rival.

Toyota Yaris 1.3 TR 5dr
P11D price£13,205
Model price range£11,170-£15,385
Fuel consumption52.3mpg
CO2 (tax) 123g/km (15%)
BIK 20/40%
per month
Service interval1 year 10,000mls
Insurance (1-50)group 8E
Boot space min/max286/1000* litres
Engine size/power1329cc/99hp
Top speed/0-62mph109mph/11.7secs
On sale September 2011
VerdictRoomy and reliable,
but there are more fun,
interesting and efficient
rivals available


Roomy and reliable, but there are more fun, interesting and efficient rivals available