Used Toyota Yaris review
A full used buyer’s guide on the Toyota Yaris covering the Yaris Mk3 (2011-date)
Seven years is a long time in the car industry and the supermini sector has seen some of the most impressive strides in that time, but Toyota has done a pretty good job of keeping the Yaris up-to-date. It’s unique in this class because it’s available in petrol, diesel or hybrid forms, with the latter very popular in the UK. You should find all models are easy to live with, but healthy demand on used car forecourts means asking prices can be high (especially for Hybrid editions). The Yaris’s looks are sharper than its driving experience, so try a few alternatives before buying too readily.
Ever since Toyota arrived in the UK more than half a century ago, it’s offered cars that focus on reliability rather than excitement. It’s a strategy that’s served the firm very well, with buyers returning time after time, safe in the knowledge that their car is unlikely to let them down.
That’s certainly true of the Yaris, the first generation of which appeared in 1999. With light controls and an easy driving experience, this supermini provided quality and economy with a healthy dose of practicality. It’s a formula Toyota has stuck with right up to the latest Mk3 car; but are those qualities enough in a crowded segment?
- • Toyota Yaris Mk3 (2011-date) - Reliable supermini stands out with petrol, diesel or hybrid options.
Toyota Yaris Mk3
The third-generation Yaris arrived in September 2011 in three and five-door forms. Engine choices were 1.0 or 1.33-litre petrols or a 1.4 D-4D diesel and trims T2, TR, SR and T Spirit; the only automatic option was a 1.33 CVT.
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A 1.5-litre Yaris Hybrid appeared in July 2013, with T3, T4 and T Spirit specs and a CVT box only. A facelift in January 2014 brought new specs (Active, Icon, Sport and Excel), a fresh nose design and higher-quality interior trim.
Another revamp in spring 2017 added design updates inside and out, a more efficient Hybrid option, plus extra safety systems, while a 1.5-litre petrol engine replaced the 1.33-litre motor.
In 2017 a 210bhp Yaris GRMN hot hatch arrived, with a supercharged 1.8-litre engine. Just 100 were imported.
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Which one should I buy?
Diesel models are very frugal, but the Hybrid is better suited to endless short journeys, especially urban ones.
Entry-level cars are spartan, so aim for at least TR/Icon trims, with 15-inch alloys, air-con, Bluetooth, a rear parking camera and a touchscreen without nav.
The SR/Sport bring part-leather trim, 16-inch wheels, privacy glass, lowered suspension and sportier detailing. The range-topping T Spirit/Excel feature a glass roof, dual-zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers, plus an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Cars with the Touch and Go touchscreen multimedia system include sat-nav plus a raft of connected services.
Alternatives to the Toyota Yaris Mk3
Ford’s Fiesta is the best all-round used supermini because it’s plentiful, cheap, fun to drive and generally well equipped. The Vauxhall Corsa and SEAT Ibiza share most of these attributes, but neither model is as engaging to drive.
Both the Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio play the value card more heavily, because most models are well equipped and reliable. You get smart styling and great driving dynamics in the Mazda 2, and while Volkswagen’s Polo isn’t as affordable as most rivals, it’s well made, spacious and good to drive.
What to look for
Rear number plate trim can react with the tailgate and corrode. Dealers know about it.
Shiny dash plastics can reflect in the windscreen. Some owners have made their own dash-top mats.
Multidrive CVT auto is either loved or hated by owners; it’s less reliable than the manual alternative.
Poor fuel economy is a common gripe. Hybrid buyers expect more than 70mpg, when 45-50mpg is more realistic.
Everything is clearly laid out in the Yaris, but some of the materials used look and feel cheap. The touchscreen in most cars is excellent and cabin space is fine; four adults can be accommodated, but realistically not five. Boot space is generous, at 286 litres, or 768 litres with the rear seats folded; unusually these figures also apply to the hybrid.
The Yaris needs maintenance every 10,000 miles or 12 months. There are three levels of service (Intermediate, Full, Full+) at £165, £295 and £355 for a regular Yaris; prices are a little higher for the Hybrid.
Check-ups alternate between Silver (£110) and Gold (£190) once a car is five. These include replacing brake fluid biennially and coolant after 10 years/100,000 miles, then every five years/50k miles. Engines are chain-driven.
There have been eight Yaris Mk3 recalls; two in August 2013 for brake fluid leaks and power steering failure.
Possible brake fluid leaks led to an action for Hybrids in December 2014. In January 2015 turbos were called back for oil leaks. Other campaigns came in March 2015 (rear hubs working loose), June 2015 (faulty airbags), May 2016 (rear seatbelts) and July 2016 (suspension failure).
Driver Power owner satisfaction
The Yaris Mk3 came 58th in our Driver Power 2018 new car survey and 33rd in our latest used car poll. In the latter the car got a thumbs up from owners for low running costs, reliability and infotainment. It didn’t score especially badly in any area, but the attributes that drivers liked the least were practicality and ride/handling.