Toyota Yaris Design

1.33 VVT-i

Toyota Yaris Design, 2016, front
Toyota Yaris Design, 2016, side
Toyota Yaris Design, 2016, seats
Toyota Yaris Design, 2016, interior
Toyota Yaris Design, 2016, rear
Toyota Yaris Design, 2016, boot

THE latest instalment of the long-running Toyota Yaris saga is better by Design as the third generation of the Japanese company's best-selling model in Europe now includes this as the high grade specification.

Born in 1999, the first fruit from Toyota's European design centre, new versions of the Yaris rolled off the production line in 2005 and 2011 with the latest model launched two years ago.

The Design trim, introduced for 2016, features a good-looking exterior boasting a subtle rear spoiler, neat 16-inch alloy wheels plus snazzy LED daytime running and rear lights while there is also a the natty £795 ‘wrap round' roof design as an option - part of the new Bi Tone paint finish.

The name Yaris is derived from Charis, the Greek goddess of beauty and elegance, and while not quite in that league the latest version of the supermini is funky with the ‘X' face adopted from the Aygo city car.

It is stylish move that keeps the supermini looking fresh and modern - something also helped by clever thinking and innovative ideas including door mirrors that improve aerodynamics, adjustable follow-me-home headlights, plus anti-chip paint for the front half of the bonnet.

This Yaris isn't short of toys either as a seven-inch screen dominating the dashboard gives access to Toyota's Touch 2 multimedia system - with optional sat nav system and Google Local Search connectivity - plus a reversing camera, while cruise control and a DAB radio all make an appearance. Connection points for iPods and MP3 players are also included.

The supermini comes in three or five door body styles with four engines to choose from - a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, the 1.33-litre four-cylinder petrol under the bonnet of the car I drove, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol/electric hybrid and 1.4-litre four-cylinder diesel.

All come with a slick six-speed manual gearbox as standard except the Hybrid, which has a CVT automatic transmission.

I found the 1.33 petrol to be smooth and refined if lacking a little in get up and go from a standing start.

Nevertheless, once up to speed it was quite happy cruising along the motorway.

The Yaris also proves a nimble operator on country lanes with informative steering and good levels of grip.

Running costs are reasonable thanks to a combination of fuel being sipped with refreshing frugality, low carbon dioxide emissions, competitive insurance costs and an excellent five-year/100,000 mile warranty.

Practicality is assured by interior space that rivals some compact family motors so five adults can be catered for without the need for a gymnast's flexibility as there is plenty of leg, head and shoulder room.

A roomy boot easily accounts for a family's weekly visit to the supermarket or holiday at the seaside.

There are plenty of storage spaces and cubbyholes for odds and ends with my favourite being a handy covered tray in front of the cup holders between the driver and front seat passenger that is big enough to keep your valuables away from prying eyes.

Safety is handled by a plethora of airbags while an army of electronics help keep you out of trouble. Toyota's Safety Sense system was fitted to my test car which offers collision warning and a lane departure alert.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Yaris Design 1.33 VVT-i

Price:£15,395

Mechanical:98bhp, 1,329cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:109mph

0-62mph:11.7 seconds

Combined MPG:55.4

Insurance Group:8

C02 emissions:119g/km

Bik rating:18%

Warranty:5yrs/100,000 miles

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