Toyota Yaris (2020) Review
Toyota Yaris (2020) At A Glance
If you're looking for a small car you really are spoilt for choice. There's the Ford Fiesta which is great to drive, the Volkswagen Polo that is comfortable and practical and the Peugeot 208 which is stylish to the bone and also available as a pure electric. The Toyota Yaris gets close to matching these cars in all areas while majoring on comfort and fuel economy – thanks to its suite of autonomous driving aids and petrol-electric setup.
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If the Toyota Yaris was a European country it would be Sweden. Famed for being taxing on the wallet, Sweden rewards your investment by providing an excellent quality of life.
In much the same way, the Yaris comes loaded with technology that’s expensive but ultimately makes your life better.
Thankfully, we can drop the Swedish analogy at the Yaris’s styling because it’s pure Japanese. A jumble of creases and curves, sharp edges, with a hint of origami, bookended by a gaping grille and pair of attractively protruding tail lights. It’s a Yaris that, whisper it, looks great.
The inside doesn’t quite match these high standards. Its slabby looking infotainment screen rises awkwardly (if practically) out the top of the dashboard, but the rest of the cabin is lovingly sculpted. You even get a thick seam of squishy plastic that’ll keep Volkswagen’s head of perceived quality trembling under their duvet.
Volkswagen’s head of practicality – if such a job existed – would get off more lightly because, while the Yaris is quite practical for its size, it’s not as spacious in the back as the Polo and it’s boot isn’t as well designed or as roomy.
That’s about where the negatives end, mind you, because the Yaris is near enough a class-leader in every other respect and it goes about it in its own unique way.
Take the hybrid engine, it serves up spectacular fuel economy almost irrespective of how or where you drive. Its ability to drive in silent electric power almost all the time in town makes the Yaris extremely relaxing to potter about in and it’ll take you all the way up to motorway speeds without stirring the petrol engine.
It’s at this point that Yaris pulls another trick out its sleeve – its comprehensive suite of autonomous driving aids. Bang up to date, they’ll keep the Yaris arrow straight in its lane and around curves while braking and accelerating with a deft smoothness that serves only to expose the poor quality of driving of the humans around you.
Sure, you have to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, but it cuts down on fatigue and makes long motorway slogs less exhausting as a result. It makes the Yaris the small car to have if you do lots of long-distance driving.
It's worth saving your energy because when you turn off onto an A road you realise the Yaris is actually decent fun. It grips well and steers with precision. It’s not a genuine driver's car like a Ford Fiesta but, unlike the old Yaris, it is at least playing the same sport.
And anyway, like Sweden, you sense Toyota hasn’t tried to copy anyone else – it's made things better by going its own way. So, while the Yaris isn’t the last word in dynamics or the very best in terms of practicality, it makes up for that with its smart design, relaxing drive and unnervingly good fuel economy.
It's no longer just the safe choice, instead it's a desirable car that just so happens to also be very sensible.