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

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 economical car?
"I am large disabled person who drives a Seat Ateca automatic. I want to buy a small economical petrol auto for two of my offsprings to share. It needs to be an auto because they love the ease of driving in the city. It will be mainly used for local driving, maybe motorway once in a blue moon. I might drive it sometimes or may be a passenger. I had my head set on a Kia Venga or Hyundai ix20 which I can get in and out easily but with a 1.6-litre petrol engine it might not be very economical. I also love and can fit into the previous generation 1.2 Suzuki Swift. Are there any small city cars/small family cars you can recommend as a first car that I can fit in easily? My budget is up to £10k but willing to go higher."
Have you considered a Toyota Yaris Hybrid? It's not the biggest small car, but it will be very cheap to run and is ideal for city driving. It's likely to be extremely reliable, too. Alternatively, we'd recommend a petrol Honda Jazz with the dependable CVT gearbox. It's a very spacious small car.
Answered by Andrew Brady
When did Toyota reintroduce the CVT to the Yaris?
"I have an old automatic Yaris 52 plate. I’m looking for another one now, slightly newer. I know the CVT stopped being used after 2005. Did Toyota bring the CVT gearbox back in later models? If so, which year, please? I’d love a new Yaris but I can’t afford it "
Yes, it's the 2006 - 2011 Yaris with the Multimode automated manual transmission you want to avoid. The 2011 Toyota Yaris went back to a CVT and it's a very reliable little car.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best first car for under £7000?
"I am looking for the first car for my daughter and can spend up to £7000. I will need to sell it on in 2.5 years so looking for something that may hold its value. She really needs cheap insurance and would like it to be a smaller car although not squishy. Safety, reliability and cheap to run top of our list - what do you suggest I buy?"
The old-shape Toyota Yaris has a strong reputation for reliability: I can't give you any guarantees in regards to the future values, but small cars are always desirable with young and new car buyers. Insurance for the Yaris is also affordable.
Answered by Dan Powell
Can you recommend a cheap, reliable runabout?
"We need to buy a secondhand car for my wife for local trips. She will probably do no more than 2000 miles per year. Can you please recommend something between £3000 and £5000, which hopefully would prove reliable? We can garage the car, too."
I would recommend a Suzuki Swift 1.2 petrol: or Toyota Yaris 1.3 petrol:
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

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