Toyota Yaris (2014-2020) Review

The Toyota Yaris is a spacious supermini with a choice of three or five doors, and powered by a range of economical engines

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Five-year warranty
  • Spacious interior and large boot
  • Choice of efficient petrol, diesel and hybrid-petrol engines
  • Not very exciting to drive
  • Some cheap-feeling cabin materials
  • Noisy and revvy automatic transmission
Toyota Yaris prices from £7,995.
Finance from £174.52 / month.

Used Toyota Yaris prices from £7,995

In the ultra-competitive category of small cars, people tend to demand so much more than just a cheeky personality from their run-around. In this respect, the previous-generation Toyota Yaris had a lot to offer. While it was on sale, it was the only car among its long list of rivals, which includes the Citroen C3, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20, Kia Picanto, Mini Hatchback and Volkswagen Polo, to offer a hybrid version.

The Yaris used to be one of the more shy looking small cars, but it came out of its shell in 2014, when Toyota’s designers gave it a pretty major makeover. With a distinct X-shaped grille borrowed from its smaller sibling the Toyota Aygo, the updated version of this previous-generation Yaris is much more striking to look at than earlier versions.

It’s easy to drive and park, but don’t expect to find yourself enjoying it in the same way you would a Fiesta or Mini; its steering and handling suggest that, beneath the makeover, the car’s still reserved and not interested in having a good time. It does suffer from quite high levels of road and wind noise but the suspension in the non-hybrid models is soft and comfortable.

Its engine range is powered by petrol, while there is the option of the hybrid setup. However, prospective buyers should do their sums before they commit to be sure the more efficient hybrid version justifies its inflated price compared to the cheaper, yet less efficient petrol engines.

Choosing which version to go for is made that bit easier by the fact that all are offered only in practical five-door form. The interior has always been a strong point of the Yaris, ever since the original version went on sale in 1999. This model is spacious with plenty of room for two tall adults in the front. Rear space is comparable to some larger cars, such as the Ford Focus.

The Yaris has a flat floor too, so a centre-seat passenger can get quite comfortable. Fortunately, all this space doesn’t come at the expense of boot capacity, which is reasonably large in comparison to rivals. All versions have split-fold rear seats that increase load space substantially.

The Yaris is a safe car with five stars from Euro NCAP to prove it. It’s reliable, too, as its 26th place finish in the 2015 Driver Power survey testifies, although a spate of recalls has blighted the model’s reputation.


Key facts

Warranty Five years/100,000 miles
Boot size 286 litres
Width 1,695mm
Length 3,945mm
Height 1,510mm
Tax (min to max) £105 to £165

Best Toyota Yaris for...

Best for Economy – Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-i Hybrid CVT Active

The Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-i Hybrid CVT Active 5dr returns a claimed 76.3mpg, making it the most economical Yaris, as well as the cheapest hybrid version. Icon and Icon Tech versions return the same figure but larger wheels mean Design, Design Bi-Tone and Excel return less.

Best for Families – Toyota Yaris 1.33 VVT-i Icon 5dr

As a five-door car, the Yaris is already reasonably family friendly but this version gets the nod for its good balance of power and economy (0-62mph in 11.0 seconds and 55.4mpg) and array of sensible safety and convenience features (front parking sensors and a sat nav on top of standard Icon’s reversing camera, air con and road sign assist feature).

Best for Performance – Toyota Yaris GRMN

You’ll search in vain for a high-performance version of the Yaris, as only 80 of these were brought to the UK, and they sold out quickly. However, they sometimes appear on the used market. It features retuned suspension, a lower ride height and wider tyres, as well as a powerful 210hp engine.

One to Avoid – Toyota Yaris 1.0 VVT-i Icon Tech

The 1.0 VVT-i engine is underpowered while Icon Tech trim loads the price, money that would be better spent on the only slightly more expensive 1.5 VVT-i Icon.


2014 Yaris launched in July with distinctive X-shaped grille and choice of engines: 1.0 VVT-i, 1.33 VVT-i, 1.5 VVT-i hybrid and 1.4 diesel
2014 Yaris Hybrids built April 2014 recalled for brake fluid check
2015 Models built September 2014-January 2015 recalled for wheel hub check; Toyota Safety Sense suite of safety features available as an option on all versions bar Active from August
2016 Yaris range refreshed with equipment enhancements at all levels including a temporary spare wheel on all versions, while top-spec Design replaces Sport trim. Excel becomes a Hybrid-only grade. Engines remain the same as before. Orange special edition launched with 1.8 VVT-i hybrid engine. Recall launched regarding possible rear seat belt failure and directional control failure.
2017 New 1.5 petrol engine arrives to replace 1.33 engine. Engine line-up is now 1.0 VVT-i, 1.5 VVT-i, and 1.5 VVT-i hybrid. Existing Active, Icon, Design and Excel trims joined by Icon Tech and Design Bi-Tone with contrasting roof and body colour scheme
2018 Yaris GRMN limited edition was released. Only 80 were brought to the UK
2018 Yaris GR Sport 1.5 VVT-i hybrid launched with sporty styling and suspension. Y20 special edition launched celebrating 20 years of Yaris.

Understanding Toyota Yaris names

Engine 1.5 VVT-h

There are three key engines in the Yaris line-up. Like our example here, typically the name of each begins with the engine capacity (in this case, 1.5 litres), followed by VVT-i, which stands for variable valve timing and injection (simply, it aids efficiency and economy). There is a hybrid version of the 1.5 VVT engine, too, called VVT-h.

Gearbox CVT

CVT stands for continuously variable transmission; in other words, it’s an automatic. There’s also a choice of five and six-speed manual gearboxes, but hybrid versions are available only with CVT.

Trim Active

There are seven core trim levels ranging from basic Active to range-topping Excel and sporty GR Sport, the latter available only with the hybrid engine.

Toyota Yaris Engines

1.0 VVT-i, 1.33 VVT-i, 1.4 D-4D, 1.5 VVT-i, 1.5 VVT-i hybrid, 1.8-litre supercharged

The 1.0 VVT-i is the smallest, least powerful and therefore most affordable engine. It does upto 61.4mpg but the trade off is it’s slow; 0-62mph requiring 15.3 seconds. You need to plan overtaking carefully, and it struggles to power a fully loaded Yaris comfortably.

On price, performance and running costs the next engine in the range, the 1.5 VVT-i, is the best. It’s lively around town and a relaxed cruiser on the motorway, all while returning good, real-world economy. The CVT automatic version is no slower or thirstier, but it’s also not as refined or pleasant. Both cost £165 to tax, in the first year. 

The 1.5 VVT-i hybrid is the most economical engine, at least on paper. It’s also the most expensive, and is only offered with the noisy 'CVT' automatic transmission, which can cause the engine to drone when accelerating hard. It has a low emissions figure of 82g/km CO2 thanks to its ability to run on electric power alone at low speeds. The rest of the time, it runs on a combination of both petrol and electricity.

The Yaris GRMN is the high-performance version. A very limited edition, it features uprated suspension and brakes, as well as a lairy paint job. It’s powered by an eager 210hp 1.8-litre supercharged engine. When it was new, this version cost upwards of £26,000. This, and the fact that only 80 ever came to the UK, means that this is very much a car for driving enthusiasts with the limited supply keeping used prices high.



Fuel economy



Top speed

1.0 VVT-i




0-62mph: 15.3s


1.5 VVT-i




0-62mph: 11.0-11.2s


1.5 VVT-i hybrid

Petrol and electric



0-62mph: 11.8s


1.8-litre supercharged




0-62mpg: 6.4s



Toyota Yaris Trims

Active, Icon, Icon Tech, Design, Design Bi-Tone, Excel, GR Sport

It may be the cheapest trim but Active is strong on safety features with pre-collision alert, lane departure warning and automatic high beam all standard. The door mirrors are heated and powered, and the front windows are electric. However, with its plastic wheel trims and plain black wing mirrors, it does a look a bit bargain basement.

Icon trim was more expensive and thanks to its foglights, smarter alloys, chrome detailing and body-coloured wing mirrors, looks it. Inside, there’s a rear-view camera, air-conditioning, cruise control and Toyota’s Touch 2 multimedia system with a digital radio. Icon is our choice for value but if you want front parking sensors and a sat nav, you’ll need to look out for Icon Tech models, which should prove popular as they weren’t much more expensive when new.

Design looks sportier with its honeycomb lower front grille, tinted windows and spoiler. These versions are slightly less economical due to their larger 16-inch alloy wheels, but the difference is often negligible. You can’t have this with a 1.0-litre engine, however the 1.5-litre hybrid model gets the addition of dual-zone automatic air-conditioning.

Excel represents particularly good value for money on the used car market, as you get large 16-inch alloy wheels, suede-like Alcantara trim, electric rear windows, chrome detailing and a height-adjustable passenger seat. Range-topping Design Bi-Tone models feature eye-catching contrasting colour schemes.



Toyota Yaris Reliability and warranty

The Toyota Yaris charted in 26th place for reliability out of 200 models in the 2015 Driver Power survey but in terms of overall owner satisfaction, it finished in 76th place in the same chart – a 29-place fall from its position in 2014. It could have been worse but for owners’ apparent satisfaction with their cars’ low running costs and in-car technology. However, later versions appear to have redeemed themselves with the result that by the 2018 survey, the Yaris had risen to number 58 in the best cars to own rankings. Reassuringly, the Yaris is one of the few small cars to have a five-year warranty.

Used Toyota Yaris

There are currently 322 Toyota Yaris' available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £7,995 to £25,491 for nearly-new models. Monthly finance payments start from £174.52 per month.

Thanks to their long five-year warranty, later models are still available with plenty of warranty cover remaining. Team that with impressive fuel economy, good build quality, and decent equipment levels, and the Yaris makes for a great used car.

New models lose value quickly, meaning used prices are attractive. The versions that were more expensive when new, such as Sport and Design trims, are the best value used models, as they come with more equipment without much of an increased cost.

Whichever engine you choose, look out for cars with the optional sat-nav, called Toyota Touch 2 Go, and Toyota Safety Sense which includes pre-collision assist (an emergency braking system useful in city traffic), and active cruise control which maintains a safe distance from the car in front.