Recently, I finally caved to over a decade of putting up with public transport and passed my driving test. Since I learned to drive in a Yaris, it seemed that for my first car getting the same was a sensible option. We managed to pick up one that was ten years old for not too much money, and although it had been on the road for ten years, the previous owner was a retired lady who didn't use it too much and it only had about 35k on the clock and hadn't been bashed about too much at all. So far, I've been really, really happy with it.
The Yaris is small. Very small. This is a double edged sword, as it means it's highly manoeuverable and can squeeze into tight parking spaces and take corners nicely. However, its limited space means that using it to move house or ferry 4 extra passengers is always going to be a squash. There isn't a great deal of leg room for anyone bundled onto the back seats.
Internally, it's a comfortable car to drive in spite of its diminutive build. I'm not the shortest nor tallest of guys, and it's very comfortable to sit in with a few inches of headroom left. The pedals are nicely spaced apart, the seats and seatbelts and everything else are adjustable and all the light controls and dashboard functions are in easy to reach, logical places. The only issue I have with it is the handbrake, which requires you to physically push it down once it's been clicked 'off', unlike the version I learned to drive in which would automatically go down. I've forgotten to do this a couple of times, and driven a fair few miles with the handbrake still partially on. The smell isn't pleasant.
The Yaris' best feature, and the one that really drew me to it was it its fuel economy. At maximum efficiency (flat road, c. 50mph) this can easily achieve about 60-70mpg. This means that a full tank can realistically take you about 500 miles or so, which is a massive bonus in our current days of silly fuel prices.
The boot is small, but can be expanded either by sliding the back seats forwards, or folding them down completely. There's more than enough room to get your shopping in there though.
The dashboard is an electronic display, which has all sorts of handy features that tells you when ABS is in use, or if your headlights are on, and will shout at you if you haven't done as Jimmy Savile told you to and put your seatbelt on. Clunk click...
The fan system is OK, combining both the air conditioner and heater, the latter giving a much needed boost of warmth in winter. I don't use it at the moment though; I prefer to put the window down, which is controlled electronically so there's no need for all that old-fashioned winding nonsense.
Under the bonnet, much of it is readily accessible making oil-changes and the like a user-friendly experience. As for accessing other bits for home-servicing, I'm not too sure yet, but a quick flick through the Haynes service guide suggests that it isn't too awkward. Hopefully its sturdy Japanese build quality ensures I'm not going to have to spend too many Sunday afternoons poking around its undercarriage. This was the second USP that the Yaris had; a bit of research showed just how reliable it is, with internet forums pouring glowing praise on its engineering quality. This will hopefully hold true for ours, thus saving money on parts and servicing.
Aesthetically, it's not an ugly car either by any means. It's petite and inoffensive, a bit like a guinea pig. Ours is red, which is good because they're safer (the human eye picks up the colour red before any other, so even the doziest of fellow drivers should spot you sooner)
With only a 1 litre engine, there are motorbikes that carry heftier engines than this thing. It isn't too much of a problem though, as it can shift on flat surfaces when it needs to. It does struggle with heavier loads though. My first trip in it was from Stoke to Worksop, with my girlfriend as a passenger and a boot full of books and other stuff I'd left in my parents' loft. Even with this minimal load going up hills was a painful, drawn out affair. If there's one major problem with the Yaris, this is it. Even in third or second the Yaris struggles with steeper hills, with the engine whining with the burden of it all. I've gathered a fairly long tail of 4x4s and estates a couple of times already. I shouldn't be thinking about my next car already, but I know it's going to be at least a 1.3 litre just to iron out this issue.
The power-assisted steering is also very sensitive. I've had to develop a rock-steady grip on it at higher speeds, as it really does jerk about at the slightest movement. Perhaps that's just my handling skills, but my dad, a driver with nearly 50 years experience under his belt, said the same thing. Still, I'm glad it's responsive rather than sluggish, as I've already had to nip out of the way of one daft bugger who pulled out on me without looking.
Ours has a manual gearbox. The gear ratios are a bit odd. First gear is horrid, and the car agrees, demanding second gear within seconds. Third can easily handle 10 mph without stuttering or stalling, which is handy if you forget to change down at an unexpected sharp corner -it will however struggle to pick up speed again if left in third. 30mph is nice in fourth, though this doesn't handle much either side and the engine will be crying out for third or fifth a few mph either side. And fifth is happy between 40 and 60; I haven't taken it on the motorway yet, so I don't know what it's like at 70.
The brakes are nice and responsive, and being anti-lock as standard skidding is unlikely unless you really try to do it. The accelerator is sensitive, so flooring it isn't wise unless you're on a free stretch of dual carriage-way. The clutch isn't overly precious either, which is good and I haven't yet stalled it, despite first gear being a bit of a pain.
It also has a radio and CD player, which is essential for those long drives as boredom = fatigue = danger. The speakers are powerful enough so you can always hear the annoying morning drivel spouted by Chris Moyles over the rumble of tarmac, should you want to. I really need to tune it in to pick up 6 Music.
Being only a 1 litre also helped to keep the insurance costs low, although even the lowest quote I could find was still painfully hefty, as being male and under 30 I am clearly an irresponsible boy racer with no regard for the sanctity of laws or life. Pah.
In all, this is a great first car. It was inexpensive to buy, and its fuel-efficient engine means it won't be too expensive to run. We currently use it to take my girlfriend to work (I've been landed the role of chauffeur until she passes her test), do the occasional bit of shopping and explore the bits of countryside in South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire that we could never get to by train or bus. We're not giving up public transport altogether, as even though our train system is a bit lame, it's still preferable to the roads in some instances - it's just nice to have the option not to share a train carriage with drunken Leeds United fans, and have the option to just go to places on our own timetable. The Yaris is great for what we need, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone with children over the age of ten or anyone wanting to drive a St. Bernard to the vet.
3 years ago my parents generously sought to buy me my first car. After much consideration and reading up they finally decided on the Toyota Yaris (thanks to the final reccomedations from the mechanics at the garage where my Mum and I work).
So, on valentines day they purchased the 1.0 litre, 5 door Toyota Yaris CDX and from there my love affair with the car began.
I am not a mechanic, nor am I exceedingly knowlegeable about cars but for a job a drive all sorts of cars everyday and I have still yet to find a car in the same class as the Yaris that I like as much.
The Yaris is small but not crampt inside and it offeres a very smooth ride for its size and weight. Though not a fast ride, it is a reliable one and the car copes very well on the motorway despite its small engine size.
The interior is well layed out with an electronic dash displayand duel glove compartments. The seats are comfortable and the heater is fantastic on those cold days and so is the air con on those hot ones.
It is hugely economic and as a run around can see you better in pocket than other cars of its size. Also, the Japanese reliability and sturdines of the car means that mechanical or electrical problems are minimal, personally never having failed an MOT or having any additional work required whilst I have owened it.
Overall, I have not gone into great detail about the cylinder capacities and mechanical oporating of the vehicle as I think sometimes it is important to hear what a car is like for its day to day useage. and for this purpose, the Toyota Yaris is one of the best run around cars out there and I would completely recomend it to any new driver or person needing a small run around that can handle the longer journeys in comfort also.
I have the Toyta Yaris 1.4 CDX 5 door.
This car is bloody brilliant. I absolutly love it.
i am a student and its my first ever car - whilst we are on the credit crunch, i must say if you drive this car with the respect it deserves then it does like 70 to the gallon (well at least mine does!) which is obviously very cheap considering the rising costs!
put your foot down... it goes well! VERY economic and tax is SO cheap (£35 for the year) down to the fact its so economic!
lovely to look at (however in black the little scratches are more noticable- like any car) , and the inside is lovely. Built in CD player and speakers etc and blooming good - as an 18 year old i thought i would have to change it but i am very impressed with it!
very spacious inside and i LOVE the speedo thing (LCD display i believe).
I have had a crash (not my fault - someone came out of a stop road without stopping... i can laugh because i didnt get hurt!!) Car was damaged .. but not as much as it would have been if i was in a different car.. i swear its made of concrete! VERY sturdy and its really safe i believe it was actually made safe car of the year a few years back.
i have a 52 plate - and they do hold their value which is another very good reason to buy one at the time we are living now!
only one disadvantage - if you did want to change the CD player - it would be difficult as it is built it - just makes the work a bit harder lol.
LOVELY CAR!!!! 10/10 - as my first car, its never let me down.
AS REQUESTED - reliability - perfect. Never had anything wrong with mine... get it serviced and all the other things and it runs perfect. Price i paid just under £5000 for mine - that was cheaper though I think due to the circumstances of the lady who owned it. Handles lovely - when i first got it, was racing around everythere (baring in mind i live in west wales) there are sharp corners and even when I took those quite fast she stuck to the road and there was minimal effort needed by me to keep her under control. Really smooth to drive and extremely quiet inside - unlike my friends old fiestas! The boot space is ample - and I even put the back seats down to get my St Bernard in to take him to the beach. Yes - a St Bernard in a Yaris!
This is one of them cars that you wont fully appreciate for maybe the whole time of ownership of the car until maybe you buy another car, this is especially true for first time car buyers. This is because when driving the yaris as a first car, your overall expectations of how useful and reliable a car may or should be, are raised. You will also think the petrol consumption on this thing is not anything special and it doesnt pick up in speed because your subconscience is yelling 999cc !!!! For someone to fully appreciate the beauty and originallity of this car they would have to be an experienced driver on maybe their 9 on 10th car. Thats when someone can make an all around judgement on the yaris because when it is compared to any other similar type of car in the same price range, no other car is better on fuel econemy, no other car will fool you into thinking this car has an engine of at least 1. ???? + (one point something and higher that is) and not many other cars will fool you into thinking the car is small when the car is quite spacious inside and is very comfortable.
When pushed to its limits in a race (meaning you dont change gear too early, but you wait until you achieve a higher RPM to activate all 16 Valves) the car can take on bigger engine sized cars up to around 35mph before it starts to fall behind slightly. But the important thing for any first car is that it should at least pick up quickly in the lower speed range for safety reasons? yeah safety reasons, because its fairly unsafe to enter say a dual carriage or moterway or round about at snails pace, with that being said, the yaris does not find this a challange if driven properly. The clever VVTI technology in this car is a sort of hybrid setup at a cheap price for a first time buyer which is great, let me explain. Altogether there are 16valves, yeah I know, 16 valves is a bit much for a 1 litre, but toyota are generous :). However the drawback would be that all those valves make a 1 litre not a sensible option because it will still drink petrol, but this is not the case with the yaris. Because of its clever implementation of the VVTI, the car locks the valves that are not really needed or in demand for a given situation. For example, when in traffic, the car will only need two valves (as the people at toyota know their stuff) so every other valve closes off to save a lot of petrol in traffic, when pushed for cruising, 8 valves are open, but when you pass around just above 3krpm all 16valves open because only a driver in race mode would be pushing the revs that far. You get this sort of super charger feel when this happens, although it would be nice for the average boy racer to have all 16 valves for the torque and response in power, any clever driver would just drop the gear to what ever ratio would be needed to instantly hit much higher revs for sudden pick up (thats what i do). This care is very light weight.
Secondly, the petrol, iv noticed that it does consume very little compared to other cars in the family, but in order to really save petrol you have to be clever. For example, when in a relaxed road where you can only achieve a maintained speed of say 30 - 35mph, staying in the highest gear at such low speeds wouldnt do any harm to the car as long as you dont push it and try to gain speed in fifth gear, just keep the pedal tapped at this speed if its consistently the same speed you are going to be cruising at, but should you need to suddenly pick up, i dont see the harm in even going down to 3 quickly for an energetic boost, and after you gain the speed the want, go right back up to fifth. Petrols very cheap on this car!!! The drawback of this is that everyone will want to borrow your car because it runs on air (joke) but its just annoying when I get home from college to find my baby in more demand for shopping etc, and i still have to pay for the petrol they use!!! but granted its not much.
Another nice thing about the car is the gear box, the range of movement required is little so theres less chance of miss gear change, it feels kind of sporty to me because i can quickly go from £rd to 2nd or 3rd to 4th with little finger movements. Some people might not like this, but as a driver with slight racing mentality, i love it.
The equipments on mine is pretty standard, the sound system isnt great, but can be useful because the on board computer can tell you statistics like avg mph avg mpg etc on the screen of the radio.
The Speedometer is nice on this car because it is an electronic read not analogue, and speed readings are spot on as mine has been tested. The screen is not directly in front of you but towards the centre angled towards your view. Some people might think that is is a hazard because eyes are not on the road, but this is not the case, its actually not that different, its sometimes better not to have a lump of dash in front of your steering wheel. It improves visibility of both the road and what speed you are doing. The car red lines at 6 and a half by the way, so no worries about blowing it up, its a very capable car.
The comfort on th front two seats are superb, almost hug you on corners, and are good for longer journeys, although i would say, stay off the moterway or atleast stay in the slow lanes because the soft high up suspension on sucha little light weight car are the perfect ingredients to take off on a moterway :). Back to comfort, i cannot say the same for the back seats, there is less room in the back and the seats are not big enough to comfort big people (im small though, so its all good)
The body work is not of the best quality, the pain can be chipped easily,the styling is ok for me, but isnt all that to be honest, but it does feel nice to role into college with such a highly equipted sensible car that will last longer than any other boy racers car in the car park. Apart from the styling (which is improved in newer models, i have the first ever model of yaris by the way, sorry i didnt mention this before, i was affraid you would skip the read) the car does carry that image i was saying just a moment ago, you will get respect for it.
There is the minor issue of some unusual cabin noise which i cannot get around to fixing because i dont know where small rattles come from when launching off from the lights and beating a ford escort full of chavs. The yaris is soo underestimated by other racers, try putting Vpower fuel into it for a good boost in power, for some reason this car loves it, it runs smoother annd you will for sure notice the difference. Also when used economically, the Vpower fuel gives you more miles per gallon, so even though its more expensive, it does pay for itself to bbe competitive with regular fuel, and it leaves behind medicinal properties in the engine to keep it running smoother for longer. Use Vpower in this car once a fortnight to once a month to reap its benefits.
This reviewer is the proud owner of the yaris 1.0 (999 cc or something) expecially because people underestimate the smart and good boy looking car that will even start in cold conditions where the average corsa or ford focus will strugle. Its started EVERY time i turn the key.
Word of advice, in cold conditions, give the car 20 seconds to settle down and let the revs fall to idle before pushing it to much, this can do damage to any car, especially smaller engines.
Also, you can lower the steering colum for much better handling of the wheel (ok sorry to state the obvious)
Its really up to you, what are your needs is what will determine whether this car is the one for you or not.
Thanks for reading, good luck!