Since the Yaris was first released in Europe the car has undertaken some dramatic changes. As the Toyota family grew so too did the Yaris. It got much better looking over time too. The Yaris has been a popular choice in Ireland since it first landed in 1999 and replaced the extremely popular Toyota Starlet. This car has some very tough rivals with the Ford Fiesta, the very-stylish Mazda2 and the Skoda Fabia. However, the Yaris will always be a strong contender in its segment because it dons a Toyota badge which to a lot of people means that it will be reliable and probably cheap to run.
The Yaris comes with a good selection of engines between petrol, diesel and hybrid choices. There are two conventional petrol choices, a diesel option and a petrol-powered hybrid. The petrol offerings include a 1.0 litre engine that has some great “on-paper” efficiency statistics. According to Toyota, the Yaris can achieve a combined fuel economy of 4.3 litres per 100 km. However, this is not a major performer and racing from 0-100 km/h will take 15.5 seconds. The next petrol choice is a 1.33 litre Dual VVT-i. This is more powerful and the same speed can be achieved in 11.7 seconds.
The diesel offering is a very efficient 1.4 litre D-4D that has an “on-paper” fuel economy of 4.2 litres per 100 km. According to Toyota, this will make 0-100 km/h in 10.8 seconds. The most efficient engine on offer is the petrol hybrid engine that has a reported fuel economy of 3.3 litre per 100km. We believe that this is capable of bringing the car from 0-100 km/h in 11.8 seconds.
Like many other city cars, the Yaris is nippy in towns and is easy to park. It deals well with ramps but it can be shaky driving over other road imperfections. The steering should offer more feedback too. Unfortunately for Toyota they are still not achieving the fun factor that’s on offer in the Ford Fiesta. However, this car is not a bad road handler and because Toyota has a loyal following we don’t think they’re too worried about the Fiesta being more fun.
Road and wind noise seeps into the cabin of the Yaris. In fairness to Toyota this is a common issue in most superminis – except for the likes of the Audi A1 and Mini. Noise from the engines are not terrible but they’re not silent either.
The dashboard is extremely simple in the Yaris and as you move up the trim lines you will find that more is on offer. The Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system is available with higher grades of the Yaris and if you opt for it you will find that it is simple and easy to use. This is Bluetooth and USB enabled and there will be no problem connecting to iPod, etc.
The Yaris scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP. To the rear you will find ISOFIX child seat anchor points and seven SRS airbags surround the interior of the vehicle. This car also comes with a tyre pressure warning system which will let you know how inflated your tyres are. The Yaris comes with Vehicle Stability Control, this has the power to activate each individual brake of the car if it feels that you are about to skid.
As city cars go, this vehicle would be on par with many of its competitors. It has a surprisingly spacious interior that would comfortably fit four adults. The boot would also be on par with most of its class.