Review: Toyota Yaris (2011)
Enjoyable to drive. Economical engines. Spacious. Available with a smooth and economical hybrid engine.
Doesn't feel as upmarket or as plush as some rivals.
Toyota Yaris (2011): At A Glance
- New prices start from £15,450, brokers can source from £13,412
- Contract hire deals from £183.55 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 2–11
- On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure
The Toyota Yaris keeps up Toyota traditions of durability, reliability and build quality. It's not especially exciting or fun to drive, but there's plenty to like and it's an easy car to recommend, with economical engines and plenty of space too. Just remember that more recent rivals, including the SEAT Ibiza, feel plusher and more refined.
But while it might not have the same plush plastics as many of its rivals, quality is still excellent. The car feels solid and well screwed together and this is reflected in the drive. Refinement on the motorway is good - the Yaris feels like a larger car, with very little noise or vibration in the cabin. It's also easy to drive, albeit not very involving.
The engine line up initially kicked off with two VVT-i petrols - a 1.0-litre and a 1.33-litre – along with a 1.5-litre hybrid and a 1.4 D-4D diesel. From 2017 the engine range was updated, with a punchier and more flexible 1.5-litre petrol replacing the 1.33 and the diesel being discontinued.
The hybrid engine option is unique in the small car class, now that Honda has stopped selling a Jazz Hybrid. So you get very impressive fuel economy, low emissions and a very quiet, smooth and relaxed driving experience, particularly around town. It’s the highlight of the Yaris engine range.
From 2017, equipment levels are very good. Even basic Active models come with a package of active safety technologies including lane assist and pre-collision warning. Moving up to Design adds a touchscreen system, reversing camera and alloy wheels, while top models get two-tone paint and other stylish extras.
The Yaris is five-door only, which means there is good access to the back row of seats. There’s a reasonable amount of leg room for a car this size, while headroom is surprisingly generous. The boot, too, is ample for shopping trips – although there is a little less capacity of you opt for the hybrid.
If you want a small hatchback with a good reliability record and relaxed driving dynamics, the Yaris is very good. Perhaps its most important asset, though, is the availability of the very quiet, smooth and economical hybrid version, which is affordable and unique in a small hatchback.
What does a Toyota Yaris (2011) cost?
Toyota Yaris (2011): What's It Like Inside?
The Toyota Yaris has a comfortable driving position with plenty of adjustment in the seat, but the dashboard looks dated and the choice of plastics isn't great. It migh be very sturdy, but it doesn't feel particularly plush. Other small cars do a much better job of feeling upmarket, including the Ford Fiesta and SEAT Ibiza.
A touchscreen system is fitted as standard on all but the very basic Active model, which is responsive and user-friendly. As an option, owners can upgrade to Touch and Go - either when they buy the car or retrospectively if they decide to upgrade in the future. Touch and Go adds satellite navigation, advanced Bluetooth (with the function to send and receive text messages via the screen) and speed camera alerts.
The plastics might not be all that plush, but the Yaris has impressive refinement and very little wind or road noise, helped by a new sound-insulating acoustic windscreen - so it it does at least feel like a bigger and better-made car on the move. It has some impressive safety kit as standard too including lane keep assistance and pre-collision alerts.
Even with a six-foot plus driver, there's a reasonable amount legroom behind for most passengers, but taller occupants will struggle a little and find their knees touching the front seatbacks.. There's plenty of head space though - more so than is typical for a car in this class - and the five-door only body style means it's easy to access the back seats in any Yaris.
Boot space is average for a small hatchback with 286 litres of space (up to the window line) and when the rear seats are folded down, this goes up to 768 litres. The boot floor itself is very wide as is the tailgate opening, but there is a load lip to lift heavy items over. Elsewhere in the cabin there's decent storage although the front door pockets are quite narrow.
Standard equipment from July 2017:
Active models come with 15-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, 12V outlet, air conditioning, auto wipers, pre-collision warning, lane departure alert, auto high-beam.
Icon trim adds Toyota Touch media system with 7-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, 15-inch alloy wheels, reversing camera, front fog lights, speed limiter, cruise control, road sign assist.
Icon Tech adds Touch and Go navigation, front parking sensors.
Design adds black 16-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear glass, rear spoiler.
Excel adds automatic headlights, leather/Alcantara seats, climate control.
Bi-tone adds two-tone paint, LED front light guide, two-tone interior trim, rear electric windows.
Child seats that fit a Toyota Yaris (2011)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Toyota Yaris (2011) like to drive?
When launched the Yaris came with the same engines as the previous model - a 1.0-litre VVT-i and a 1.33-litre VVT-i plus one diesel, the 1.4 D-4D. Later, a 1.5-litre Hybrid arrived and in 2017 the 1.33-litre petrol was replaced by a more powerful and flexible 1.5-litre petrol.
The entry-level 1.0 VVT-i comes with a five-speed manual gearbox. The three-cylinder engine is a peppy little performer and although its output figures of 68bhp and 93Nm of torque may not set the world alight, it's still quite a fun engine to drive around town. Economy is its real strength too.
The 1.33 in earlier examples of the Yaris was a good engine, with responsive power delivery and a slick transmission. But the 1.5-litre from 2017 is altogether better, with a more flexible power delivery and reasonable performane, thanks to peak power of 111PS. It's no hot hatch, but it's surprisingly good fun.
The real star of the show is the hybrid though. It makes the Yaris into a great town car, with the smooth automatic transmission and quiet power delivery make the hybrid very relaxing, even in typically frustrating stop/start traffic. The official economy of almost 80mpg means running costs are extremely low too.
If you still want a smooth automatic transmission but don't require a hybrid then a CVT is avaialble paired to the 1.5-litre petrol. There's none of the usual high revs and screaming noise you associate with CVTs and it doesn't feel like it's sapping all the power from the engine. In fact, it's one of the best automatics, CVT or otherwise, you'll find in a small car.
The Yaris is obviously very easy to drive in town thanks to its small size, but take it out of town and it's impressive too. Motorway cruising is quite quiet, while the suspension balances comfort and agile handling very well. It's not the most fun little car around - the Ford Fiesta and SEAT Ibiza are better - but it's not bad at all and is perfectly at home on a B-road.
|1.0 VVT-i||59–66 mpg||15.3 s||99–111 g/km|
|1.33 VVT-i||51–63 mpg||11.7 s||114–127 g/km|
|1.33 VVT-i Multidrive||52–58 mpg||12.3–12.6 s||114–121 g/km|
|1.33 VVT-I Multidrive||55 mpg||-||119 g/km|
|1.33 VVT-i MultiMode||53–55 mpg||11.7–12.3 s||118–121 g/km|
|1.4 D-4D||72–81 mpg||10.8 s||99–104 g/km|
|1.5 VVT-i||54–59 mpg||11.0 s||109–118 g/km|
|1.5 VVT-i Automatic||57–60 mpg||11.2 s||105–113 g/km|
|1.5 VVT-i Hybrid||63–86 mpg||11.8 s||75–96 g/km|
|1.8 VVT-i||38 mpg||6.3 s||170 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Toyota Yaris (2011)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Toyota Yaris (2011)?
Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.
Do you follow the same storage advice for a hybrid car as you would for a petrol car?
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