Toyota Yaris review - Engines, performance and drive

Toyota is confident the efficient petrol-hybrid engine in the Yaris will prove to be a winner with customers.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

3.9 out of 5

  • Great economy
  • Good looks
  • Entry-level models well-equipped
  • Not as spacious as rivals
  • Noisy CVT transmission
  • Firm suspension

The Toyota Yaris is a competent all-rounder, offering a reasonable drive on a variety of roads. But, it’s around town where the hybrid supermini shows off the best of its talents. The steering feels precise and the Yaris is easily manoeuvered around the tightest of turns, while parking-up in narrow spaces should prove equally straightforward.

Although largely untroubled by higher speeds, the Yaris feels a little strained when on the motorway, and the CVT transmission isn’t the most involving when pressing on through twisty B-roads - becoming quite noisy under hard acceleration. The set-up is better suited to more measured inputs, which makes for a relaxing drive.

The Yaris suspension arrangement comprises MacPherson struts at the front and a torsion beam at the rear. It’s pretty agreeable, but it does crash through the worst of potholes, and becomes unsettled over uneven, broken surfaces.

Like its Honda Jazz and Renault Clio E-TECH rivals, the Yaris can drive on electric power alone when on shorter, urban runs. A key advantage is that you don’t have to stop to plug-in and recharge, instead the Yaris’s battery pack is topped-up by a regenerative-braking function, which produces electricity when you brake or coast. Excess power from the engine is also used to charge the battery.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The Yaris’s hybrid system delivers a total of 114bhp and, combined with a relatively low kerb weight of 1,085kg, the 0-62mph sprint is taken care of in a reasonable 9.7 seconds. Top speed is 108mph, but these aren’t figures that many Yaris customers will be actively seeking out. It’s not that kind of car.

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