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Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris Review

The Yaris first came on the scene in 1999 and has become one of Toyota’s best-selling cars worldwide, but now the reliable runaround has been revised for 2014 with improved styling, powertrains and efficiency. The Yaris has always had what I’ve deemed a fairly uninspiring front, but this year sees Toyota take styling cues from their all-new Aygo and so the ‘X’ grille now catches the eye bringing it up to date as it competes with the rival Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208. Available as a three and five-door the Yaris offers plenty of space both for driver and passengers alike, while in the boot the car is bigger than the previous generation as it now holds 286 litres, which is slightly larger than the Ford Fiesta but with split-folding rear seats this increases to 768 litres. The interior doesn’t have the same wow factor as the smaller Aygo so does look a bit bland and boring, although the Toyota Touch2 with Go multimedia system is easy to use on the 6.1-inch touchscreen and with Bluetooth, iPod and MP3 connectivity you can stay in touch, be entertained, park safely with the rear-view camera and get to your destination with a good navigation system unlike many of its rivals that send you round the houses.  What was odd was feeling around for the door handle and window buttons in the dark as they weren’t back lit.  Most odd. There are four trim levels available, Active, Icon, Sport and Excel.  A decent list of standard equipment comes on the entry-level Active including Daytime Running Lights, seven airbags, a tyre pressure monitoring system and advanced safety technology.  We drove the Icon which is more about connectivity so featured Bluetooth, the Toyota touch 2 multimedia system, reversing camera and body coloured mirrors. Sport trim ramps up the distinctive styling with LED Daytime Running Lights and rear LED lights, privacy glass, rear spoiler and rear disc brakes.  The top-spec Excel is more refined with dusk-sensing headlights, dual-zone climate control, partial leather seats and cruise control. What’s it like to drive? There are a choice of engines available on the Yaris from two petrols, a diesel and a highly efficient hybrid.  The latter has been revised bringing CO2 levels down from 79 to 75g/km and the three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol has them reduced to 99g/km so both are road tax free. We drove the 1.33-litre petrol engine, the quiet four-cylinder producing 98hp with a top speed of 109mph.  It’s great at long motorway journeys, gets up to speed very quickly, although the steering did feel light, almost shaky at 70mph, making the Yaris suddenly lack any sort of sturdy ride on the road.  Pushing past that speed and it started to regain its composure. City driving puts the Yaris in its element, it’s light, manoeuvrable, ride is comfortable and with a combined 57.6mpg and just 114g/km of CO2 then running costs will be low. Read More