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Toyota Yaris overall verdict
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A handy and versatile little thing. While most superminis have grown, the Yaris keeps the emphasis on the ‘mini’. So it’s light and nippy.
For such a small car, surprisingly good. You sit fairly tall and there's a flat floor, so your legs and feet can fit easily, even if you're in the back. Ride is firmish but controlled, and refinement not bad at all.
The 1.3 is well suited to the car, managing 0-100km/h in 11.5 sec, and the quick gearchange makes the best of it (so you can avoid the clunky automated manual).
Some small cars are cool but not this one. The pillowy styling tends too far into self-consciously cute, and there's no link with history or motorsport or movies or celebrity or, well, anything at all.
In photos the cabin looks terrific. The shapes are original, the colours lively and the digital instrument pack is a touch out of the ordinary. The reality is a crushing disappointment. The dash is a hard, hollow, scratchy moulding, the glovebox lid is like the top of a Chinese takeaway, the heater knobs graunch. Nasty. But the major controls are fine. And naturally, underlying reliability is a given.
This is a fun car to punt about. The grip is only moderate but you can have fun exploring it, thanks to direct steering and progressive reactions. And hey, there's not enough power to get you into trouble.
For a car so small it's useful. The rear seat is split 60:40 and each section reclines and slides. They then fold flat with an easy lever movement.
Rock-bottom depreciation, low insurance and minimal fuel cost mean the small-engines Yarises are among the cheapest ways to own a civilised new car.
More Toyota Yaris cars we've driven...
- Toyota Yaris Echo 1.3
- March 2003