We’ve got the new Toyota Yaris in for review and test, this one the mid-range Yaris Icon Tech with the new 1.5 litre petrol engine. How does the new Yaris stack up?
It’s been a few years since we last reviewed the Toyota Yaris so, with the Yaris getting a decent update earlier this year, we thought it was about time we grabbed a Yaris and had a play.
The Yaris Toyota has sent is the Icon Tech trim – which sits bang in the middle of Toyota’s UK Yaris line-up – complete with Toyota’s new 1.5 litre petrol engine – a car which is probably the sweet spot of the range unless you are keen to run a hybrid.
The changes Toyota wrought to the Yaris earlier this year weren’t enormous, but it gets a new front bumper, revised back end and some new lights, some new materials inside and a new look instrument layout, all of which conspire to make it look fresh and, actually, a bit more sporty.
What the Yaris also gets is a new 1.5 litre petrol engine – fitted to this car – which replaces the old 1.33 litre petrol (upsizing – how refreshing) and offers 110bhp, better performance and improved economy, thanks to both a water-cooled manifold and the ability to flip between Otto and Atkinson cycles using VVT to deliver the best balance of performance and economy.
It all looks very promising.
2017 Toyota Yaris Inside and Out
The Yaris has always been a decent looking supermini, and the latest tweaks make it even more so; it even looks a bit sporty, which will help it appeal to a younger demographic seduced by competition like the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo.
It’s grown a bit too from where it used to be, and still has a high roofline even though it looks a bit squatter than before, so the boot’s a decent size (although the load area doesn’t fold flat) and there’s a decent amount of room in the back seats; you could probably squeeze in three adults for a trip, although they probably wouldn’t thank you.
In the front the seats are comfortable and adjust for height, and with an adjustable steering wheel you should be able to find a comfortable seating position. The view out, all round, is really very good, making the Yaris a very easy car to blat round a busy urban landscape.
The dash is kept neat and simple with a rev counter and speedo each side of a 4.2″ TFT display, and sat in the middle of the dash is a 7″ touchscreen infotainment above controls for HVAC. You’re not going to struggle to find anything.
The infotainment is nice and easy to use to – although latency didn’t seem brilliant – and, in this Icon Tech spec, it comes with Sat Nav, and there’s also Air Con, front parking sensors, rear view camera, DAB and Bluetooth. which is all you really need.
Although there are some nice quality plastics floating around in the cabin, you don’t have to look too hard to find some of the less pleasant scratchy stuff which, although all bolted together very well, is a bit of a disappointment.
But, all in all, it’s a decent interior and a nice place to be.
2017 Toyota Yaris On the Road
The highlight for the latest Yaris range – apart from the appeal of a hybrid version in this class, is the new 1.5 litre petrol in this car, and upsized engine from the previous 1.33 litre, but one which is more powerful and economical too.
It definitely feels a bit livelier than the old engine, although you do need to work it hard to get it to perform. Which rather mitigates against hitting Toyota’s claimed 58.9mpg (we got 47.6mpg in a week of mixed driving and drivers). But treat it more gently and it feels pretty refined, and there is enough get up and go to deal with back road overtakes and slip road sprints with confidence.
But even though the Yaris is lively enough to deliver practical levels of performance, it’s no B-Road blaster, and although the steering is accurate, and there’s decent grip and good brakes, the Yaris is better suited to a more comfortable style of driving.
It doesn’t encourage you to push on in the way a Fiesta does, but back off a tad and you’re rewarded with a ride which is comfortable and controlled and does everything you want it to. It’s not exciting, but it is composed and, apart from a bit too much noise at times from wind and engine, just does its thing. Which is probably what most owners want.
2017 Yaris Verdict
The fact that the Yaris doesn’t stand out in any particular area could mean it’s easy to dismiss if you want the right supermini; it’s not the most dynamic, the roomiest or the most fun to drive in its class. But that doesn’t make the Yaris a bad buy.
It is a good looking car, it’s not as ubiquitous as some of the competition, and it offers a comprehensive package which really does do a decent job.
Start to engage brain, rather than using heart to measure desirability, and the Yaris starts to make even more sense.
Toyota’s warranty is a healthy five years, and one thing you can be sure of with a Toyota is that it’s not going to let you down; cars which last is a Toyota speciality.
If you are in the market for supermini, you’d be daft not to add the Yaris to your list and get on down to your local Toyota dealer for a test drive. As an all-rounder, it has plenty to offer, although it still appeals more to an older demographic than the younger buyers Toyota covets.
Toyota Yaris 1.5 Review Tech Specs (2017)
- Engine: 1496cc: 110bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 11.0 seconds / Top Speed 109mph
- Economy: 58.9mpg – Official / 47.6mpg – Test
- Emissions: 109g/km
- Price: £15,845 / Price as tested £16,495
- Test car supplied by Toyota UK