Toyota Yaris 1.0
Entry-level petrol version of new supermini aims to keep running costs to a minimum - we try it out on UK roads
This entry-level 1.0-litre engine won’t cost you much to run – but unless you spend most of your time in town, the more powerful 1.33-litre engine is a better all-rounder. The problem with the Yaris is not its power source, though. While there is nothing bad about it, it just can’t match the likes of the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo. With strong used values, excellent dealers and a five-year warranty, the car’s biggest draws will be peace of mind and a stress-free ownership experience.
The smaller engine is even more efficient and cheaper to run, returning almost 60mpg and emitting 111g/km of CO2, compared to 52mpg and 123g/km for the 1.33. That makes it one of the most efficient cars in its class – entry-level VW Polo and Ford Fiesta petrol models only manage to return around 50mpg and emit 128g/km of CO2.
Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Toyota Yaris
So the Yaris saves you money at the pumps and on road tax, but what’s it like to drive? The 68bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine will be familiar to anyone who has driven the smaller Aygo city car. It’s a great little engine that has plenty of character, with an enjoyable and distinctive soundtrack. It likes to be revved – and that’s just as well.
With only 92Nm of torque available at 3,600rpm, you need to keep the little engine on the boil. Around town, that’s not a problem – it’s peppy and responsive, and the five-speed manual gearbox is precise.
But a 0-60mph time of around 15 seconds tells its own story, and out on the open road the car can feel a bit underpowered. Cruising on the motorway at 70mph is reasonably quiet, but acceleration is poor. The rest of the driving experience is good, but not class-leading. Look past the numb steering and firm ride, and the Yaris is surprisingly poised and grippy in corners.
Our test car came in flagship TR specification – a trim level Toyota expects to be the most popular. There’s lots of standard equipment, including a reversing camera, Bluetooth and connectivity for iPods and other MP3 players, plus smart alloys. That goes a long way to justifying the high £12,700 price. There may be no shortage of kit, but there are some letdowns inside. The dashboard is made of a strangely textured plastic that should look classy, but instead feels cheap, while the steering wheel only adjusts for height, too.
That said, as it’s 100mm longer than the old car, the latest Yaris is spacious, with decent room in the back for adults and a boot that’s about as big as a Fiesta’s. However, it’s hard to get excited about the Yaris, whatever petrol engine it has.