What is the Toyota Yaris Mk 3?
The Yaris is Toyota’s supermini rival to the Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz, Peugeot 208 and VW Polo. It offers affordable, safe and practical motoring — but is little more desirable than a fridge freezer.
There are three-door and five-door body styles, petrol and diesel engines and even a hybrid model. Our pick would be the 1.3-litre petrol, with the TR trim, which includes a touchscreen infotainment system, reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity.
The hybrid model is impressive on paper, capable of up to 80.7mpg and emitting just 79g/km of CO2. However, for most users the 1.3-litre petrol model offers more than adequate performance and economy at a more palatable price.
As with many superminis, the latest generation of Yaris (launched at the end of 2011) isn’t especially small, but it is refined and comfortable and will deal with anything you care to throw at it. Well, bar a drag race with a Ferrari FF …
It’s also a tough cookie: it was awarded a full five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, and Toyota provides a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
The entry level 1-litre petrol engine is a little weedy when lugging the Yaris around, and the 1.4-litre D4D diesel and hybrid are quite costly, which is why the 1.3-litre, four-cylinder petrol is our recommendation. It develops 98bhp and feels sufficiently lively on the road to inspire confidence on the outside lane of the motorway. It can be a little noisy when worked hard, though, and there’s also some wind noise and a firm ride that you wouldn’t find in a Ford Fiesta or VW Polo. But with the potential for over 50mpg, it’s a frugal performer.
A great supermini should always put a smile on your face along a winding road, but the Yaris — although perfectly competent — fails to excite the driver. An automatic gearbox, called Multidrive S, improves the car’s fuel economy and lowers its emissions a little.
The Yaris has always been one of the more practical superminis, and the latest model continues that trend. Up front, the driver’s environment is spacious, uncluttered and intuitive, helped in part by simple controls and an equally simple touchscreen infotainment system. There’s plenty of space to stretch out, and in the back two adults can sit comfortably — three if they don’t mind rubbing shoulders. The rear seats split and fold, increasing luggage space from an already competitive 347 litres, but it’s a shame Toyota has done away with the useful sliding rear seat. A Honda Jazz is more practical.
Where the Yaris could learn from rivals is in the feelgood factor. Most of the plastics and fabrics feel a little flimsy and downmarket, in contrast to those of the well-made VW Polo.
The one to buy
Toyota Yaris TR 1.3 VVT-i
- £12,970 (correct at first publication)
- 1329cc, 4 cylinders
- 98bhp @ 6000rpm
- 92 lb ft @ 4000rpm
- 6-speed manual
- 0-62mph in 11.7sec
- Top speed:
- 52.3mpg (combined)
- Road tax band:
- L 3885mm, W 1695mm, H 1510mm