Toyota has been at the forefront of electric automotive tech for some time, unbelievably a hybrid version of the Yaris has been available for over 10 years now. And whilst the model has sold in relatively good numbers, it sits within one of the most competitive segments on offer. It is routinely piped to the post by the likes of the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Polo, now though, Toyota believes this fourth-generation Yaris ticks every box when shopping for a supermini. A fair statement? Let’s find out.
For now, only one engine option is on offer, but don’t let this put you off. The five-door hybrid 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine now boasts a smaller, lighter, and more powerful battery than the earlier generation Yaris hybrids.
For those looking for something with more oomph, there is a separate turbocharged four-wheel-drive GR Yaris.
Trim levels and equipment
Toyota is offering four trim levels, all of which offer a great amount of standard equipment, such as a height-adjustable driver’s seat, a fully adjustable steering wheel, DAB radio, Bluetooth, and USB sockets to charge your phone.
Icon and Design have 16inch alloy wheels and regular suspension with a fairly firm ride. Climate control, adaptive cruise control, and electric front windows come as standard.
Dynamic and Excel include 17inch alloy wheels and ‘Sports’ suspension which results in an even firmer ride, some may even argue uncomfortable on pothole-covered roads.
The safety Sense package is also standard across all trims and features lane-keeping assistance, road sign display, and automatic city braking technology. A rear cross-traffic alert system and blind-spot monitoring are optional with the Dynamic trim and standard on Excel.
As for the infotainment system, the Icon trim level has a central 7inch touchscreen, however, all other trim levels have a larger 8inch screen. The screen is accompanied by small but handy shortcut buttons to allow you quicker access to specific functions such as selecting a radio station. Overall, the infotainment system could do with further improvements, however many drivers will get around this by using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto which is standard across the range.
While most drivers would find the Ford Fiesta or Seat Ibiza more fun to drive, the Toyota Yaris does beat the Honda Jazz in terms of drive appeal.
As the handling and grip is good regardless of trim level, we’d point you in the direction of the Icon or Design level to avoid the overly firm ride.
Whilst driving around town the Yaris will take advantage of its electric motor, leading to a quiet and smooth drive. However, the car becomes a little noisier with more vibration when running the petrol engine for normal and motorway driving.
Visibility is good for the most part. You may wish for a slightly bigger rear window, although to counteract this hindered view, Toyota has included a rear-view camera as standard on all trim levels.
To further aid visibility automatic headlights (LED on Design trim and up) and rain-sensing wipers are standard, with parking sensors being optional on Dynamic and standard on Excel.
Interior, space & storage
Interior quality certainly beats the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai i20. However, it doesn’t feel as upmarket as the Peugeot 208 or the Volkswagen polo.
While there are several small storage cubbies, storage space and legroom is not class-leading. If you are looking for a vehicle with enough room for 6-footers to frequently travel in the rear, you may wish to consider the Volkswagen Polo or Honda Jazz.
Boot size is also fairly average with a 286litre capacity.
While outright buying options are higher than the likes of the Polo, the Toyota Yaris is one of the cheapest, economic non-electric small cars to run, and depreciation is expected to be slow. Toyota also offers a five-year/100,000-mile warranty as standard. Alternatively, very competitive PCP deals can currently be found.
All in all, the new Yaris is packed full of equipment without you having to go far up the trim level ladder. Fuel economy and reliability are big factors with this model and should be carefully weighed up against the slightly cramped rear and firm ride.