Toyota Yaris Review logo

Toyota Yaris Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2020
      Body type
      Small hatch
      Fuel type
      Hybrid
Russ Campbell

Written by

Russ Campbell

00/10
heycar rating
“Cheap to run and comfortable”

Best bits

  • Smart styling inside and out
  • Hybrid engine makes a camel look thirsty
  • Autonomous driving aids take the edge off long journeys

Not so great

  • Perceived quality isn't as consistent as you'll find elsewhere
  • Tall adults will feel a little squeezed in the back
  • Steep starting price, though offset by generous kit

Read by

Toyota Yaris front three quarter

Overall verdict

Toyota Yaris dashboard

On the inside

Toyota Yaris rear three quarter

Driving

Toyota Yaris Back Car Seats

How much does it cost to run

Toyota Yaris profile

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Toyota Yaris

"You always knew that Toyota made small cars that are dependable, but this new Toyota Yaris proves it can also make them desirable. It looks great inside and out, but also also adds class-first standard autonomous driving aids and a hybrid engine that make it relaxing on long trips and cheap to run. It's very nearly the complete package".

Toyota Yaris front three quarter

This probably shouldn't come as a surprise because Toyota's seriously got its act together recently. Over the past couple of years we've had the stylish Toyota C-HR, seen the once forgettable Toyota Camry get a sharp new suit, while the Toyota Corolla – at one time derided as one of the most boring models on sale – has been resurrected as a car you can be proud to own. 


The Yaris's own comeback starts with its striking styling – a bold grille, and a combination of curves, creases and angular details ensure that, unlike its predecessors, this Yaris is memorably good looking.  


And the same's true on the inside. There you'll find two-layer design and an infotainment screen that's fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, and all but the basic model get a pretty digital dashboard. It's not a clean sweep, though, and there are more hard and flimsy plastics hidden below your eye line than you'll find in a Volkswagen Polo.


A bigger complaint can be aimed at interior space because the Yaris can't accommodate four tall adults as comfortably as a Hyundai i20 or the Polo for that matter. The boot also falls a little short of the class best – its neither the biggest nor the best designed – so if you want as much practicality you can get from a small hatchback, that might rule the Yaris out for you.


Which would be a shame because the Yaris does some things – like fuel economy – brilliantly. You only get one engine choice – a petrol-electric hybrid – but its an excellent option allowing the Toyota to return fuel economy of 60mpg almost irrespective of how and where you drive it. As a result, 400-mile trips are readily achievable out of its small 36-litre tank. 


As well as saving fuel, its ability to run on pure electric power makes it very quiet to drive in town, where its lights controls, standard CVT automatic gearbox and reversing camera make it a treat to manoeuvre. This relaxed nature continues as the speeds rise thanks to its standard autonomous driving aids. They do the car's accelerating, braking and steering for you so long as you keep your hands on the wheel, massively reducing fatigue on long motorway runs. 


Okay, so it's still not the last word in driver enjoyment. A Ford Fiesta has sharper responses, grips just that little bit harder and has a manual gearbox that makes it more engaging, but the Toyota has never been closer in the fun stakes, while it's autonomous driving aids make up for a ride that isn't quite as comfy as a Polo's.


Above all else, what should have its rivals most worried is that this Toyota Yaris is genuinely desirable and that's not something we could have ever said before. 


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Toyota Yaris (2011-2020) review.

Is the Toyota Yaris right for you?

If you want a small car that can rival the build quality of a brick-walled latrine but is many times more desirable, then the Toyota Yaris should be right at the top of your shopping list. It's packed to the gunnels with technology that makes it easy to live with every day, its automatic gearbox makes it ideal for town and its hybrid engine means it has the thirst of a fruit fly.


You should only rule it out if you want as much space as possible out of your small family car, you'll be better catered for by the Volkswagen Polo or Hyundai i20 if that's the case.

What's the best Toyota Yaris model/engine to choose?

All Toyota Yaris models are well equipped, but we'd dodge basic Icon trim and take one step up to a Design model which adds the digital dashboard and the larger eight-inch central touchscreen. The Yaris only comes with one engine – a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol that's a peach if you like making quiet progress and paying rock-bottom running costs. 

What other cars are similar to the Toyota Yaris?

The Toyota Yaris' stiffest competition can be found in the more fun-to-drive Ford Fiesta or the more spacious and smoother riding Volkswagen Polo, though neither offers the Toyota's generous standard equipment levels and hybrid engine.  If it's hybrid you want, look at the versatile Honda Jazz.


There's a long list of other rivals to choose from including cars like the Hyundai i20, Kia Rio - both with long warranties as standard plus the practical Skoda Fabia and the well equipped SEAT Ibiza. The Mazda 2 is a little older but still worth checking out plus the latest Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208 are both very impressive.

Learn more

Toyota Yaris dashboard

On the inside

Toyota Yaris rear three quarter

Driving

Toyota Yaris Back Car Seats

How much does it cost to run

Toyota Yaris profile

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is the Toyota Yaris automatic a good car?

The new Toyota Yaris only comes with an automatic gearbox which might put you off if you enjoy changing gear yourself. In truth, though, you're more likely to appreciate that it makes the Yaris easier and more relaxing to drive.

Keith Moody

Answered by

Keith Moody

Is the Toyota Yaris comfortable?

The Toyota Yaris' silent electric running, plus its standard automatic gearbox and self-driving technology makes it the most comfortable small car on sale.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Why is the new Toyota Yaris so expensive?

It's true, the Toyota Yaris is quite expensive for a small car, but take account of its generous standard equipment list and you'll find it actually closely matches other small cars, which don't come with the Toyota's clever hybrid technology.

Russ Campbell

Answered by

Russ Campbell