Climb into the cabin and you’ll notice that there’s something different about the layout. There are no dials behind the steering wheel, instead they’ve been relocated to the centre console, and aimed towards the driver. This peculiar arrangement takes some getting used to but feels natural after a while. The driving position is comfortable and the seats are supportive. There’s plenty of headroom up front, and rear passengers won’t feel too cramped, thanks to the sliding seat arrangement, where you can choose between additional boot space, or extra legroom for back seat passengers. Fire up the revised 1.4-litre turbocharged unit and you’ll be surprised by its willing performance. Given its diminutive size, the engine is surprisingly powerful and eager to get going when the pedal’s to the metal. The six-speed manual gearbox is smooth and positive, working well around town. What’s more, the sixth cog and makes motorway driving surprisingly comfortable for a car of this size. Wind noise is well surpressed, and the generous amount of torque makes overtaking a stress free affair, even with a full compliment of passengers. And despite giving away 10bhp away to its 1.33-litre petrol stablemate, the 1.4 D-4D offers better performance thanks to its healthy 151lb ft of torque. There’s also an extra 13.5mpg on the combined cycle over the petrol model and 10g/km lower CO2 emissions. The Yaris isn’t without its flaws, though. At a shade under £13,000, there are better value alternatives on the market, like Skoda’s Fabia, SEAT’s Ibiza and even Nissan’s ageing Micra.
Since our test, Toyota has further revised the Yaris TR specification, adding 15-inch alloy wheels, while deleting the knee and curtain airbags from the standard kit – so it’s swings and roundabouts in terms of kit. Insurance and running costs are reassuringly low – group four, a £35-per-year road tax bill and 68.9mpg are all wallet-friendly figures. Durability shouldn’t be a problem either, as the Yaris has performed exceptionally well in all published reliability surveys.
RIVALS: Nissan Micra n-tec 1.5 dCi, SEAT Ibiza Sport 1.6 TDI CR , Skoda Fabia 2 1.9 TDI PD
- Engine: 1364cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max power: 89bhp at 3,800rpm
- Max torque: 151lb ft at 1,600 to 3,000rpm
- Max towing weight: 1,050kg
- Max speed: 109mph
- 0-62mph: 10.7secs
- Combined consumption: 68.9mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 109g/km (B)
- Boot space: 363/737litres
- Insurance group: 4