Toyota Yaris (2011 – 2020) Review

Toyota Yaris (2011 – 2020) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Toyota Yaris feels a little dated these days, with a bland interior, inconsistent equipment levels, lacklustre performance and mediocre driving experience.

+Fairly big boot by class standards, tempting hybrid option, Toyota has an epic reliability record.

-Fairly uninspiring to drive, cabin doesn’t feel very posh, equipment levels are very mixed.

Insurance Groups are between 2–11
On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure

If you're looking for the newer model, you'll need our Toyota Yaris review.

Compared with newer small hatchback rivals, the Toyota Yaris feels past its best. However, it might still make sense for those who aren’t bothered about such things. If it’s far more important to you that your hatchback is easy to drive and incredibly reliable, then the Yaris will suit you down to the ground. And if you fancy a hybrid drivetrain in your small car, it has that covered, too.

Think back to 2011, if you can. That was a long time ago, and the world was a very different place. David Cameron hadn’t long been appointed Prime Minister, the charts were being monopolised by a newly-formed band named One Direction, and although most of the fighting had finished, the Iraq war was still yet to wrap up fully.

Another event that occurred in 2011 - albeit one of less historical or cultural significance - was the release of the third-generation Toyota Yaris.

By the standards of the day, it looked very appealing compared with rivals. Sharply styled, solidly built, impressively roomy and practical, and with a well-earned reputation for faultless reliability. Things looked bright.

Like we said, though, the world was a very different place back then, and things move on. Things including most of the Yaris’s rivals.

Gradually, over the years that followed, each one was replaced with a newer offering that added more driver appeal, more quality, more technology, more luxury equipment, and more of, well, everything. Meanwhile, the Yaris remained in service for a full nine years before eventually being replaced, and by the end of that considerable amount of time, it had been left way behind.

Judged by more modern standards, then, the Yaris is very mediocre in a vast number of areas. It’s neither particular fun nor particularly comfortable to drive, while its naturally aspirated engines don't feel particularly punchy compared with the turbocharged equivalents in rivals.

The cabin is no longer particularly roomy by class standards, and the interior feels rather dated and bland compared with newer, posher-feeling rivals.

Was it particularly cheap or particularly well equipped? Well, no, not particularly. Was it particularly refined or particularly impressive on safety?

Again, not particularly. Yes, it still had its impressive reputation for reliability to fall back on, a reputation that had since been justified by the Yaris’s impressive performance in this area, but in every other area, the Yaris had become particularly unremarkable.

For that reason, it’ll suit somebody looking for a dependable runabout that’ll get them from A to B without conking out. However, if you want your transport to have any degree of charm or polish, there are better choices out there.

Ask Honest John

What's the best small car for up to £9000?

"What is the best solution for my needs. I spend the summer in England and would like a smallish car for that period. Price range £8000 to £9000. I will only do about 1500 miles in that time. I realise it is not good to leave a car standing for a 6 month period my need is for convenience. Any thoughts? "
You say it's not a good idea to leave a car standing for six months but so long as you store it properly and disconnect the battery, or ideally connect a trickle charger, there should be no major problems. A good idea would be to get some axle stands and leave the wheels off the ground while you're away, though, to prevent flat spots on the tyres. When you return to it, check all the fluids carefully before restarting the engine and check the tyre pressures, then drive gently for the first few miles to clear any corrosion off the brake discs. We'd recommend a simple car with a good reliability record for this purpose - a Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto or Toyota Yaris would be a sensible choice.
Answered by Craig Cheetham

What is the best year and model of Toyota Yaris?

"I’m looking at purchasing an automatic Yaris or Yaris Hybrid. From research and asking around it seems like the 1.4/1.5 engine is the best to go for. However, my budget is £8k - £10k and getting this engine within this price doesn’t seem feasible. Which alternative years/engines could you recommend of the Yaris that would have the same or similar reliability, reduced rev humming, fuel efficiency etc."
We found several examples of the Toyota Yaris with the 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre hybrid engine for sale within your budget, so you should have no issues finding a car suitable for your needs. The rev humming that you mention is an unfortunate side effect of the CVT gearbox fitted to the hybrid model, so the only way you can avoid this is to go for the 1.3-litre non-hybrid version. Alternatives you could look at include the Honda Jazz, SEAT Ibiza or Mazda 2.
Answered by David Ross

Which automatic cars under £10k have the best mpg?

"I’m looking for an automatic under £10k that has good mpg figures. I’ve previously been recommended the Hyundai i20 and the Kia Picanto but the mpg ranges from 30 - 35 in some cases. Ideally I’d avoid SUV size. Could you recommend anything that meets my requirements?"
A Toyota Yaris Hybrid would be a very efficient small car - officially it's good for around 58.8mpg (WLTP) and our Real MPG data suggests you'll get close to that: Alternatively, you could look at diesel family hatchbacks like a Volkswagen Golf or Kia Cee'd. We'd only recommend a diesel if you cover a lot of motorway miles, though.
Answered by Andrew Brady

How many types of hybrid cars are there and what do they mean?

"I would like to buy a new or nearly new car (not older than 2019) but do not want a fully electric car as I do not have the facility to charge it at home. I don't understand what the different types of hybrid cars mean in practice? I thought I could have an electric car that can work on electric most of the time and I would not get stuck on the side of the road, without charge, because I also have a small petrol reserve. Are such cars more expensive because they have to have a combustion engine as well as the electric one? I currently have a petrol 2010 Yaris, bought in 2014, and would like a similar sized car with a slightly higher driving position that makes it easy to get in and out of. I don't want keyless entry and start as that makes it too easy for criminals to steal, as many of my neighbours with new/ish cars can testify. Which car models should I consider? What sort of price should I expect to pay? Which cars are the least desirable to criminals? "
In short, a hybrid car is one that has a petrol (or sometimes diesel) engine as well as an electric motor and a battery pack. The car can use the engine alone, the electric motor alone and a combination of both to provide power to the wheels. These kinds of hybrids require no charging, as they charge themselves by generating electrical energy from the engine or recuperating energy when braking and feeding it back to the battery. A plug-in hybrid has a similar make up to a hybrid, but gives you the additional facility to charge the battery by plugging it in at home or at a public charge point. Plug-in hybrids therefore can be driven on electrical energy more of the time. Given you have no facility to charge at home it would make sense for you to choose a conventional hybrid, and as you currently own a Yaris, the 2011-on generation Yaris is available as a hybrid so might make a good choice for you. If you want to avoid keyless entry then we would suggest going for the Icon or Y20 versions of the Yaris Hybrid as these came without this function, but it would be worth checking the specification of any car you are looking at. These versions of the Yaris start at around £7,000 on the used market. If you need something with a higher driving position you could look at the Kia Niro, which is also available as a hybrid, but this is a newer and slightly larger vehicle. It may also be difficult to find a version of this without keyless entry. All cars are at some risk of theft or damage from criminals, but a used Toyota Yaris is not a high-value vehicle so it would not be particularly desirable. Some Toyota vehicles are known to be at risk of catalytic converter theft, but parking your car in a garage or in a position which makes it difficult to access will mitigate this risk. We have a guide to hybrids, how they work and what the different types are which you can read here:
Answered by David Ross
More Questions

What does a Toyota Yaris (2011 – 2020) cost?