Toyota Yaris new car review – already outstanding in its class, so is £76m revamp worth it?

Toyota Yaris new car review

Toyota Yaris new car review

Toyota Yaris Icon Tech new car review

Toyota has splashed out £76 million re-vamping its Toyota Yaris, a car that was already outstanding in its class.
 
There is no longer a three-door model nor a diesel engine in the line up, which now offers 1.0 litre, 1.3 and new 1.5 litre petrol engines. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, auto tramission an option, and you can also get a fuel-saving hybrid model.
 
Yaris competes in the tough supermini sector dominated by Fiesta, Corsa and Polo and so needs to be impressive – and it is. The £76 million has been partly spent on giving the car a sharper and more substantive new exterior appearance and the refreshed cabin also has a more contemporary look.
 
Upgraded technology and safety features also add value.
Prices start at £12,495 for an adequately equipped 69 hp 1.0 litre version, but most buyers will be heading up-range, and some will be opting for the new 110 hp 1.5 litre petrol engine which offers improved performance and almost 60 mpg.
This was the engine in my Icon Tech version, laden with kit and costing £15, 845. The 0-60 mph time is a modest 11 seconds, top speed 109 mph and the fuel figure very respectable at 58.9 mpg combined.
 
It’s a smooth quiet engine mated to a positive-shift 6-speed manual gearbox, and with light precise steering too, the new Yaris delivers a pleasing driving experience with compliant ride and composed cornering.
 
The car offers a slightly higher driving position than some in the sector, and there is plenty of adjustment for seat and steering wheel so most people should easily find their ideal settings. There is no wow-factor for the dashboard but it is well-designed for ease of use, with good placement of dials and switches.
 
The Yaris has a surprisingly amount of cabin space – more than appears from the outside – and can accommodate five adults with decent leg and head room, though four will be more comfortable. At 286 litres, the boot is quite large and folding the rear seats boosts space to 768 litres.
 
Standard equipment on the Icon Tech model includes auto wipers, auto lights (including auto-high-beam), alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, multi-media 7-inch touchscreen, sat nav, on-line connectivity, front parking sensors, rear view camera and safety kit including pre-collision response and
lane departure alert.
 
Main rivals in the sector all have strong individual plus-points but my overall impression of this latest Yaris is that it is a great all-round package under-pinned by Toyota’s fine reputation for reliability, robust re-sale values and a five-year warranty – many rivals offer only three years.
 
FOR: Toyota dependability, smooth driving dynamics.
 
AGAINST: Rear seats don’t fold flat.
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