Toyota Yaris Review 2023

Toyota Yaris At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Toyota Yaris has crystal clear appeal. Okay, so it’s not the cheapest small car around, but its smart looks and high-tech interior make it feel like a pint-sized Lexus, a notion that’s backed up by its quiet hybrid drivetrain and standard autonomous driving aids.

+Looks great on the outside and isn't too shabby on the inside either. Hybrid engine is cheap to run and relaxing. Autonomous aids make long drives painless.

-You get lots of kit, but it is quite pricey. Not as well rounded as a Volkswagen Polo.

New prices start from £20,820
Insurance Group 14
On average it achieves 0% of the official MPG figure

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 car. 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. Read on for our fuell review of the Toyota Yaris.

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 Toyota 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 supermini 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 Toyota Yaris is near enough a class-leader in every other respect and it goes about it in its own unique way, just as it has with previous generations of Toyota's supermini contender. 

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 Toyota 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 Toyota 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. And we can't ignore Toyota's enviable reputation for reliability

It's no longer just the safe choice, instead the Toyota Yaris is a desirable car that just so happens to also be very sensible. 

Ask Honest John

What's the best five door hybrid for up to £11,000?

"My daughter has just passed her test and is looking for an automatic, petrol, possibly self-charging petrol car. Her budget is £11,000. Could you please recommend a few cars for mainly town driving please? "
We'd recommend a Toyota Yaris Hybrid. It's a very efficient and reliable small hybrid car that's well suited to town driving. Alternatively, consider a little petrol city car like the Kia Picanto or Hyundai i10.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What reliable car do you recommend for two pensioners?

"We are looking to buy a car with a budget between of between £8k to £12k. We will be covering between 4000 to 5000 miles every year. We are pensioners and so are looking for a reliable car that's easily maintained and cheap to insure. We would like your opinion."
We'd recommend a Toyota Yaris Hybrid - it's likely to be exceptionally reliable and cheap to run. Also consider a petrol Hyundai i20 or a Honda Jazz.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the best small hatchback?

"I'm looking for a small hatchback style car, like a Hyundai i10 size. I would like a very comfortable drivers seat, rear parking camera and as a bonus it would be great to have a heated windscreen. If there is no rear camera as standard, how much would it cost on average to get one fitted please?"
Would you consider something a little bigger? A Fiesta-sized hatchback would be more comfortable and more likely to have the features you desire. We'd recommend a Volkswagen Polo or Toyota Yaris. Alternatively, if you do want a small city car, a Kia Picanto or Hyundai i10 would probably be your best option. You can pick up a reversing camera kit from Halfords for around £120 - they won't be as good as built-in systems, but they'd do the job.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the best small plug-in hybrid?

"I'm elderly and being blinded with science. I want a small plug in hybrid whose battery will not cost a fortune when it dies as my available cash is about £15,000 for a used car. Automatic and with cruise control but not difficult to get in. Any recommendations please?"
There aren't many small plug-in hybrids available. They have to be fairly big by design - a small car can't accommodate a petrol engine, an electric motor and the batteries for a PHEV. Have you considered a BMW i3 Range Extender? It's more of an EV than a PHEV - basically, it only has a very small petrol engine which is used as a generator when you run out of electricity. It's a great introduction to electric motoring, though, and an interesting little car to drive. It is quite complicated, so it's worth investing in a decent aftermarket warranty ( Alternatively, a conventional 'self-charging' hybrid might be a better option for you. A Toyota Yaris Hybrid is an exceptionally reliable little car that's also very efficient and easy to drive. Icon models and above get cruise control.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Toyota Yaris cost?