Toyota Yaris Review 2022

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 Groups are between 13–36

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. 

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

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

Looking for a second opinon? Why not read heycar's Toyota Yaris review.

Ask Honest John

What car should I buy for a £9,000 budget?
"I have up to £9,000 to spend on a car. I do around 5,000 to 6,000 miles per annum, mostly local but with the occasional long distance journey. I'd like a petrol engine (I don't think I'll get a hybrid for that price?), five doors, manual gearbox, less than 25,000 miles on the clock. I want a car that comfortably fits four adults. I had a Ford Fiesta Zetec EcoBoost for many years but was recently 'stung' by a broken cam belt after a new engine replacement so feel slightly cautious of Fiestas now (perhaps unfairly). The car needs to be suitable for 19-year-old and 23-year-old new/learner drivers. "
You might find a Toyota Yaris Hybrid within budget it probably wouldn't be the best example (and it won't be below your 25k mile limit, either). A petrol Honda Jazz could be a good option. It'll be cheap to run, reliable and spacious enough for four adults. It might be worth looking at higher-mileage examples – the engines can cope with the miles provided they've been serviced correctly. Also consider a Hyundai i20.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I buy a new Honda Jazz?
"I have had a Honda Jazz for seven years now and am thinking of swapping it for an automatic, possibly a hybrid. I do very few long journeys but use my car a lot for shortish local journeys. I would be looking for an approximately two year old car. Is the Jazz my best option or would you recommend a similar car as a better buy?"
If the latest Honda Jazz (launched in 2020) is within budget, it could be a very good choice. It's a versatile hybrid model with extremely low running costs that'd be well suited to short, local journeys. Also look at the latest Toyota Yaris – it's another cheap-to-run hybrid hatch with a slightly more stylish (but less spacious) interior than the Jazz.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I buy a Skoda Fabia?
"How good is a Skoda Fabia?"
The latest Skoda Fabia is one of the best small cars you can buy: Alternatives include the excellent Toyota Yaris and Volkswagen Polo. This guide might be useful:
Answered by Andrew Brady
Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris?
"I have narrowed my list of new cars down to two. I want something small, reliable and with automatic transmission. It's between a Honda Jazz and a Toyota Yaris, which will be the better alternative for the odd motorway journey?"
Both are great small cars that'll be cheap to run. If you don't need the space of the Jazz, we'd recommend the Toyota Yaris. It's a very efficient little car with an upmarket interior and lots of tech. We rate it as one of the best hybrids you can buy:
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Toyota Yaris cost?