Launched in 1999, the compact Toyota Yaris had a number of positives, which made other manufacturers re-think their small cars. Why? The humble little Toyota was superb value for money and offered a fun driving experience. It was also beautifully inexpensive to run and buy. Despite its cost, the Yaris was still a superbly well-built car. Although it's compact supermini size, the Yaris was available in both three and five-door versions and was surprisingly spacious, especially in the five-door. In 2006, the Yaris was updated, but still managed to keep the traits of the original. Therefore it was even more spacious, thanks to bigger proportions, but make no mistake the Yaris was still a compact hatchback. In 2011 the latest model was launched, sporting a much sleeker and sophisticated appearance than its predessecors.
ExteriorPrevious generation Yaris models are fairly 'cute' and feature typical supermini styling. Soft lines and fairly standard looking alloy wheel designs, with sporty models being few and far between - so don't expect any dominating aerodynamic features, or large alloy wheels. It's the latest facelift models which set the Yaris apart from their predecessors, as they feature the new age 'X-faced' front end design, giving the Yaris that real sharp, Japanese look. Combine this with the dual coloured body and you have a car that oozes premium and sophistication in impressively high levels, setting it apart from alternative superminis for all the right reasons. All generations feature 3 and 5-door variants too.
Older generations of the Toyota Yaris feature basic but sturdy interiors with style very much in keeping with Toyota interiors of that particular era. Dials were set in the middle of the dashboard, which gave the dashboard a much cleaner and clutter-free look, if a little bare. Buttons and switches are rather large and feel a tad retro. That said, the interiors are robust and didn't over complicate the matter at hand. The main matter was providing a deceptively spacious interior, to say the least. The latest generation interior is worlds apart from previous generations, and features enhancements in materials, fit, finish and quality. The overall level has been raised to offer a much more premium supermini feel, with the dials finding home in the more conventional area behind the steering wheel.
The first-generation models feature fine handling, and their easy to drive nature has been replicated in later models too. Models are set up for comfort, rather than out and out dynamic ability, but there are a few models in the range which are suited to more spirited drivers - especially the latest GRMN Edition, which features a potent 209 bhp and is the Yaris' hottest ever model. There is also a unique hybrid in the latest variant too, which is able to return an ultra impressive 80 mpg, for those wanting a comfortable supermini that wont cost the earth to run.
Earlier versions of the Toyota Yaris are available in both a sporty looking 3-door, along with a more practical 5-door. The latest generation is only available in the more practical 5-door, although the overall look is still very sleek and sophisticated, and if we are honest, more hatchback cars are going the way of the more practical 5-door body style. Despite the Toyota Yaris' supermini compactness, the interior of each generation is surprisingly spacious, with a good sized boot thrown in too.