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In-depth reviews

Toyota Yaris - Interior, design and technology

The Toyota Yaris features striking good looks and a decent level of standard equipment, although the bleak interior doesn’t inspire

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

3.9 out of 5

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Toyota has bestowed the Yaris with a strong, distinctive look. The muscular wheel arches, large grille, and sharp creases all contribute to a more purposeful stance than on the previous model, and an appearance that translates well to the beefed-up GR Yaris performance model.

Inside the cabin, it’s a different matter. The interior design is typically Toyota – solid and practical but with very little sparkle or sense of style. The fascia is enveloped in gloomy, black plastic, with just a few metal-effect accents on show to improve the mood.

On the plus side, a good level of standard equipment is on offer. The entry-level Icon trim includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, air conditioning, a reversing camera and a multi-function leather-trimmed steering wheel. It does have ‘keep fit’ manual rear windows in the back, so those with small children may want to go further up the range to get a model with electric rear windows you can lock to prevent them from being opened. 

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Stepping up to the Design versions adds bigger 17-inch wheels, rear privacy glass, electric rear windows, and LED headlights. If you fancy a sportier look and can’t get your hands on the GR Yaris, the GR Sports features sporty styling touches inside and out (including 18-inch black alloys), sports suspension, and keyless entry. The top-of-the-range Excel includes power folding mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, and extra safety kit.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

All versions of the Yaris get the Toyota Touch 2 infotainment system, but Icon models use a seven-inch central touchscreen, rather than the eight-inch display featured in the majority of of the range. The range-topping Excel comes with a nine-inch display. All these confusing screen sizes will go by the wayside with the 2024 update, because every version will get a 9.5-inch touchscreen as standard, with a 10.5-inch display fitted to higher trim levels.

The current touchscreen choices are set high on the dashboard, so they’re easy to see and reach, while the use of physical buttons and control knobs on either side is a better solution than touch-sensitive keys, even if the buttons themselves are on the small side. 

Toyota’s menu system isn’t quite as clear as we'd like, and there are a few too many sub-menus to navigate through if you want to change a setting – radio station selection is especially frustrating if you haven’t set-up your favourites for instant access.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity is fitted as standard, so you can bypass Toyota’s system completely if you want.

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Online Reviews Editor

Max looks after the reviews on the Auto Express website. He’s been a motoring journalist since 2017 and has written for Autocar, What Car?, Piston Heads, DrivingElectric, Carbuyer, Electrifying, and Good Motoring Magazine.

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