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Toyota Yaris: which version should you buy?

  • Are you thinking about buying a Toyota Yaris?
  • Engines and trim levels explored in our guide 
  • Find out which version we would buy

If you’re in the market for a small hatchback, the list of possibilities are endless. With the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa taking the lion's share of sales, the Toyota Yaris can have a hard job standing out. 

Launched in 2011 and facelifted in 2014, there’s a lot to like about the third-generation Yaris. It may not be the last word for driving fun or interior gadgetry, but its strong reliability record, striking design and low running costs make it a worthy competitor in the busy Supermini segment.

With numerous engines, four trim levels and a long list of options available, finding the right Yaris is no easy feat. To help, we've taken a closer look at the range to find out which Toyota Yaris we would buy.

Three or five doors?

Like many other B-segment cars, the Yaris is available in three- or five-door guise. Sometimes opting for a three-door means a sportier look overall, but this isn’t really the case with the Yaris which has quite a boxy profile.

It costs around £600 more for the extra two rear doors and we think that’s money well spent for the additional practicality, especially if you’ve got young children and need to manoeuvre a car seat around frequently.

Picking the cheaper three-door Yaris also means you’ll be limited with engine choice. No diesel powertrain is available, the hybrid only comes in five-door guise and the higher-powered petrol with an automatic gearbox is also off the list.

Petrol, diesel or hybrid?

Unlike most of its competitors, the Yaris is available with a petrol, diesel or hybrid powertrain under the bonnet.

As you may expect, the hybrid offers much in terms of running costs, however it’s more expensive, costing around £3,500 over the 1-litre petrol model.

Powering the Yaris Hybrid is a 1.5-litre petrol engine coupled with a small electric battery and motor. Total power is 132bhp and the 0-62mph sprint can be achieved in 11.8 seconds. A smooth driving style is essential to get the best out of the Yaris Hybrid and it performs well on the motorway.  With CO2 emissions from just 75g/km and an official combined fuel economy of 85.6mpg, it’s one of the best in its class for official running costs, although the CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic gearbox is painfully slow to react at times.

As we’ve previously mentioned, you’ll need to opt for a five-door model if you’re interested in the 1.4-litre diesel. The four-cylinder unit offers 89bhp and 205Nm of torque and can accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds, making it the quickest Yaris you can currently buy.

With CO2 emissions of 91g/km and an official combined fuel economy of 80.7mpg, running costs are very competitive too. You’ll pay around £1,500 more for the diesel over the 1.3-litre petrol, something to bear in mind when you’re weighing up the total cost.

Petrol makes up a large chunk of sales for the Yaris and you’ve got two choices here. There’s the entry-level three-cylinder 1-litre, which comes with a five-speed manual gearbox and offers 68bhp and 95Nm of torque. It’s best suited to city driving as the engine has to be worked hard on the motorway to make decent progress. Unsurprisingly, it’s the slowest engine in the range, completing the 0-62mph sprint in 15.3 seconds.

If you need a more versatile engine, the 98bhp 1.3-litre engine is a good choice. With 125Nm of torque, 0-62mph can be reached in 11.7 seconds and it's the only engine in the range that comes with a choice of six-speed manual or the aforementioned CVT auto gearbox - which we would avoid. Running costs don't fare too badly either with a combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 114g/km.

Four trims available

You’ve got a choice of three or four trims here, depending on the engine you choose.

Standard kit in entry-level Active is a little sparse with the highlights including heated door mirrors, six speakers, daytime running lights, electric windows and a radio and CD player.

Moving up to Icon bags you Bluetooth, DAB radio, a rear-view camera that will make parking and reversing around corners easier and front foglights.

If you’re looking for a sportier Yaris, then Design trim is the way to go. It adds around £500 over Icon cars and for the money you get additional styling touches like a rear spoiler, LED lights and larger 16-inch alloy wheels. You also get dual-zone climate control and grey stitching detailing inside as standard.

Excel trim sits at the top of the range and is only available on hybrid cars. Convenience features like automatic lights and wipers are included and to make motorway journeys easier cruise control is also thrown in.

For a full breakdown of all the available kit, view our equipment section here.

What about options?

There’s a whole host of optional features and packs available in the Yaris depending on the trim that you choose.

For additional practicality you can specify a roof rack for £149 and a boot liner for £55. If you’re travelling with young children you can also get rear sun blinds fitted for just £65.

To sharpen up the exterior design, other options include side sills of various shades for a fraction under £300 and a chrome exhaust pipe for £70.

Need more connectivity? For £350 the Toyota Hotspot gives you internet access for up to five wi-fi capable devices including laptops, tablets, smartphones and game systems and also enables in-car interaction between them.

If sat-nav is high up on your list of priorities than the Toyota Touch2 system for £650 is a worthy consideration, or on higher-spec cars you can opt for the Premium Pack, which offers a panoramic sunroof, sat-nav, rear spoiler, keyless entry and electronic door mirrors for £1,095.

One of our favourite packs is Toyota Safety Sense, which incorporates many advanced safety systems like automatic high beam, lane-departure warning and a collision prevention system all for just £400.

The Protection Pack is worth considering too and includes mud flaps and scuff plates and a rear bumper protection plate for £225.

Finally, a Convenience Pack is also available on certain trims which includes automatic lights and wipers, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, electronic folding door mirrors and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror for £950.

Verdict

There’s plenty of choice in the Toyota Yaris line-up and the car you buy really depends on what type of driving you do and how many miles you drive. If you’re mainly an urban driver but want an engine which can cope well on the motorway, we’d go for the 1.3-litre petrol, we’d also opt for five doors for the additional practicality.

Design trim offers a good mix of kit for the price and we’d definitely consider the Toyota Safety Sense option pack and the Touch2 system which includes sat-nav too.

For more on the Toyota Yaris, read our full review here.

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