Sunday 25 September 2016

Review: Toyota Yaris is 'comfort, space and a pleasant, easy drive'

Sinéad McCann CarsIreland.ie

Published 17/11/2015 | 13:14

The Toyota Yaris was given a bold new makeover recently, taking on its baby sibling Aygo's X shaped front grille and adding a much needed injection of life to an old favourite.

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The new Yaris continues to provide everything that was great about the previous one – comfort, space and a pleasant, easy drive.

Performance & Running Costs

The Yaris is the only supermini available in three engine types with two petrols, a diesel and since 2012, a Hybrid version to choose from. With petrol still king on the small car market, the nippy 1.0l VVT-i in our test car has proven to be the most popular option so far, meeting the needs of most supermini customers with its impressive fuel economy of 66 miles to the gallon and low motor tax bill of just €180 a year.

Automatic drivers will have to go for the slightly larger 1.33l petrol and the diesel comes in the form of a 1.4l D-4D. The latter may see sales slump though thanks to the increasingly popular Hybrid option. Using a combination of a 1.5l petrol engine and an electric motor – it offers many of the benefits of a diesel with an incredible fuel economy of 86 MPG and CO2 emissions of just 75g.

Handling

The Yaris has always been a favourite amongst learners, probably because it's so easy to drive. It's a great little road holder and all manoeuvres feel assured and predictable. The 69BHP in the 1.0l is more than adequate for the mainly city driving it is intended for, yet it can still hold its own on the motorway – the great sound insulation and exceptionally good driving position making it surprisingly comfortable on longer journeys.

What’s in the cabin

The interior was also given a revamp – and the cabin not only looks better, but feels better too with a soft-touch dashboard and some nice new materials. The new layout also sees the speedometer move back behind the steering wheel from its traditional spot above the centre console, making way for a brand new touchscreen infotainment system on the higher spec models – bringing the Yaris bang up to date with its technology-rich peers.

Despite this youthful new image, everything that was good about the Yaris prevails – it's still surprisingly roomy inside – particularly in the back, which thanks to a flat floor and generous knee room makes it more capable of carrying three than most superminis. The boot is just about on par with main rivals like the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta at 286 litres and will extend to an impressive 768 litres with the rear seats down.

Value for money

There is plenty of choice when it comes to trim, ranging from the slightly sparse but great value for money Terra model coming in at just under €15,000, to the range-topping Sol model with all the bells and whistles and starting at €17,500. Our pick of the bunch though would be the mid-spec Luna, which gets the fantastic Touch2 Multimedia system complete with rear-view camera, cruise-control, Bluetooth and a multi-function leather steering wheel. Starting at €16,500 for the five-door, it offers a nice compromise while staying competitive in what has always been a very price-sensitive market.

Safety

Safety is something the Yaris has always been synonymous with and it remains one of the safest cars in the class with a full five star NCAP crash rating, and seven airbags as standard.

Ownership

Reliability is the other major draw of the Yaris and its reputation for long-lasting, hassle-free motoring will make for good residual values come resale time.

Conclusion

A strong brand image, along with a good degree of choice when it comes to engines and trim level should ensure the Yaris holds on to its loyal market share over the coming years, and with this X-citing new design, maybe even pick up some new fans along the way.

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