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Car Review

Toyota Yaris review

£19,730 - £29,475
710
Published: 27 Mar 2024
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The entry power rating of 114bhp might not sound like much, but the Yaris barely weighs 1.2 tonnes, so it’ll manage a respectable 0–62mph time of 9.7 seconds. Obviously, with a top speed of 109mph it’s by no means rapid, but the hybrid assist means it’ll sprint away from the lights with enough – if not total – abandon.

The more powerful 129bhp option doesn’t boost things a great deal on paper (0–62mph down to 9.2s, same top speed) but it offers a heftier e-boost from lower down and makes the car feel a bit more flexible. If anything we’d want it to calm down a little bit; there’s always an assertive jolt off the line.

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What about that gearbox?

Not for the first time, the main hindrance here is the CVT gearbox, which allows the revs to flare under anything more than the gentlest acceleration and fills the cabin with muted-but-noticeable engine noise beyond a tickle of throttle. It’s certainly not a setup for dynamic driving.

Saying that, it’s a lot better than some of the CVT systems we’ve driven, and a world away from the very first versions, which really were tortuous to use. The hybrid system also does its very best to mitigate the CVT’s need to drone away and seek a torque peak, too – it fills in some of the gaps, and bridges a few of the worst moments.

Is the economy decent? 

It’s an obvious one, and particularly relevant when set against the backdrop of expensive petrol and the onslaught of electric vehicles. In terms of efficiency, the Yaris is mighty. A real world 70mpg or above is achievable, especially around town, and the hybrid system is supremely well integrated.

In either of its normal or eco modes the Yaris will silently switch to electric-only power whenever you come off the accelerator at any speed up to 70mph, and there’s very little changeover to notice.

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It’s all good stuff – with the smaller wheeled, lower powered car, we managed around 72mpg, and we weren’t driving in a particularly ‘eco’ manner at all. In the more powerful car we got around 66mpg.

What about the rest of it?

The brakes are good too, with a firm pedal and good feel, although the same can’t really be said for the steering, which is light and uncommunicative. That’s useful in town of course, and the Yaris’s turning circle is a tight 5.2 metres, making it a doddle in a multistorey or tight car park.

It’s probably worth avoiding those optional 17-inch wheels though, especially if you go for the GR Sport trim with its slightly firmer suspension setup. The ride isn’t overly crashy and the amount of body roll is just about right, but the standard 16-inch wheels with slightly more sidewall improve things – especially given the car’s character.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

1.5 Hybrid 130 GR Sport 5dr CVT [Safety/Bi-tone]
  • 0-629.2s
  • CO2
  • BHP128.7
  • MPG
  • Price£29,475

the cheapest

1.5 Hybrid Icon 5dr CVT
  • 0-629.7s
  • CO292.0g/km
  • BHP114
  • MPG
  • Price£19,730

the greenest

1.5 Hybrid Design 5dr CVT
  • 0-629.7s
  • CO292.0g/km
  • BHP114
  • MPG
  • Price£20,790

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