THE TOYOTA YARIS has been a popular choice in the supermini sector for some years, never getting close to the sales figures of leaders such as the Fiesta, Corsa or Polo, but with its own strong following.
The appeal of the Yaris has been extended with the latest version which is bigger, smoother, more economical and sharper looking than the previous model and likely to attract younger buyers.
It is available as 68hp 1.0-litre and 98hp 1.33-litre petrol units and an 89hp 1.4-litre diesel. There are four trim levels: T2, TR, SR and T Spirit, and prices start at a touch over £11,000 with flagship versions at just over £15,000.
My recent test model was the 1.3 SR version at £13,835. Standard equipment includes power front windows and mirrors, air-con, radio/CD player, reversing camera, Bluetooth, multi-airbags, vehicle stability control, remote door locking and 16-inch alloy wheels. From the outside, the new Yaris exudes plenty of kerb appeal, with more defined styling, a more youthful image, and more practicality – longer, more interior space especially for rear seat passengers, and a decent 285-litre boot space.
Typical age of a Yaris buyer is around 60, but this new version should lower that by a good margin thanks to its cool looks and improved driving fluency. Another welcome improvement is revised suspension – smoother, more compliant, far more comfortable. Add sharper, more responsive steering and you see the Yaris coming together as a very attractive package.
The 1.3-litre petrol engine on my test model was perky in most driving situations though on long hills you do need to shift the gears to maintain momentum. Top speed is 109 mph and 0-60 mph takes a leisurely 11.7 seconds. However, there is excellent fuel economy – 51.4 mpg combined.
Yaris drivers will seldom be pushing their cars to the limit but it’s good to know that the new version hugs the road well, with assured handling even at speed. The marked improvement in ride quality is very evident, with the new suspension set-up really smoothing out even rough surfaces.
No doubt about it, this new Yaris will be making a much bigger impact in the very-competitive supermini sector.
FOR: Excellent build-quality, good standard equipment level, user-friendly driver-appeal.
AGAINST: Appears a tad pricey compared with mainstream rivals but then the Toyota brand does have a top reputation for reliability and good residual values.No related links found