A history lesson…
Winning the 2000 European Car of the Year award may have helped the Yaris establish itself as one of the best little superminis in the world, but we think it was due to being just fabulous and nothing to do with a competition that has lost most of its respect and credibility over the years.
The Yaris came in as an alternative to all the really small cars available back in the day, and because it was Japanese, we all knew it would be fantastically reliable. It happened to sell like lemonade on a summer’s day, and it’s been given a few facelifts since to keep the appeal feeling fresh.
It was never the quickest car – with a standard Yaris hitting 62mph in 10.6 seconds – but it never needed to be because it was just so cute, lovely to drive and, rather surprisingly, quite agile.
Bang for your buck
For the money you’d pay for a Yaris, you wouldn’t mind if you didn’t get any kit at all, but thankfully, you do. It’s all there: CD player, electric windows and air-con – if you want it. Ok, so the basic model can’t even do 100mph, but who cares? Because when you’re doing loads and loads to the gallon, parking with ease and paying hardly anything for insurance and tax, none of that speed stuff really matters.
SR, which is the sporty model in the Yaris range, was added to some applause, but they were never cars designed to take on Fiesta STs or Fiat 500 Abarths. If you want a fast motor, get another car.
What you’ll pay
2005 55-plate 1.0 T2s start at around £3,500, and with the insurance groups being so low you can be safe in the knowledge a Yaris won’t cost you an arm and a leg to run. They are a fantastic way to save money on-the-road.
What to check
Basically nothing. The Yaris is, like all Toyotas, very reliable. Just make sure it’s been regularly serviced and you should be laughing.
Thanks to there being plenty of Toyota dealers in the UK, parts are quite reasonable. Starter motors start from £100, headlamps is around £65, brake pads at £21 and a new radiator will be around £200,
How it drives
It’s agile, fun, light and very responsive, despite having the power of two-harnessed children. The Yaris is a bag of laughs on the road and will keep anyone from a 17-year-old learner to an 85-year-old pensioner happy. It’s just a brilliant little car that costs hardly anything to run but yet drives really well and never breaks down.
The boot is small but, let’s be honest, all supermini boots are laughable. And while there isn’t that much room inside, it makes up for it with cute looks and low running costs. If you’re after a small, city car that will hold its value well, keep you safe, warm and rich, then the Yaris is the car for you.