Toyota’s Yaris supermini has been around for almost 20 years across three generations, and it’s the Mk3 – launched in 2011 – that we’re looking at here. Tasked with taking on the B-segment, the Yaris majors on its practicality, reliability and the hybrid offering, providing sensible transportation at a low cost for a wide variety of drivers.
Toyota has always sold the Yaris Mk3 with a variety of small petrol engines, all non-turbocharged – ranging from a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder unit shared with the smaller Aygo, and running through 1.2-, 1.33- and 1.5-litre, four-cylinder derivatives. Five- and six-speed manual transmissions have been offered throughout the Toyota’s life, as well as a four-speed automatic and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This is reserved (in the main) for the 1.5-litre petrol-electric Hybrid model, which has been on sale since 2012. A solitary diesel engine with 1.4 litres of capacity can be found, too, if you don’t fancy the Hybrid. Having been on sale for almost eight years, Toyota has actually facelifted the Yaris Mk3 twice during its lifetime, once in 2014 – bringing in a more distinctive, X-shaped arrangement to the front lights/grille/bumper arrangement (borrowed from the Mk2 Aygo launched in the same year) – and then again in 2017, subtly altering the front grille and lights to give the Yaris a smoother appearance; 2017-on models are more easily identified at the rear, as they have wider light clusters that bleed into the rear hatch itself, whereas earlier models keep their rear lights to the sides of the hatch. In general, for the whole Yaris family, it comes in three- and five-door body styles, while trim lines run Terra, Aura, Luna, Sol and then Luna Sport – albeit the Hybrid was never available as a Terra.
The Yaris’ USP is its part-electric drivetrain and so it makes total sense to go for a Hybrid model, circa 2014 for the best value. You’ll get up to 85.6mpg (3.3 litres/100km) from it and, with just 75g/km, it’ll be cheap to tax, too; just €170 per annum. The only slight downside is that the CVT gearbox can cause the car to be noisy under hard acceleration, but, driven more gently, it’s less offensive on the ears.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid Luna
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol plus electric motor
Maximum speed: 166km/h
0-100km/h: 11.8 seconds
Fuel consumption: 3.3 litres/100km
• Hybrid option
• Plenty of choice
• Not exciting to drive
• Rare GRMN is expensive
• Unrefined CVT on Hybrid
The Toyota Yaris Mk3 might not be very exciting – madcap GRMN model notwithstanding – but it gets the job done, providing straightforward motoring and unimpeachable reliability, both of which make it an excellent used buy. Furthermore, no other supermini offers a Hybrid model like the Toyota does, the part-electric Yaris taking full advantage of Ireland’s CO2-based road tax laws to make it even easier on the wallet as an ownership proposition.