THERE were times when a small Toyota was treated as a rather boring choice.
The company had a reputation for well-built and reliable cars, but the" wow!" Factor was not its forte.
Not so now because a drive in the latest Toyota Yaris supermini will prove that not only is the quality and reliability still there, but the model has been given a thorough going over with the style stick to keep pace with modern competitors such as the Ford Fiesta.
Yaris has been upgraded and improved with a £76 million European-led programme with some exciting new model options.
The diesel engine and three-door version have been consigned to the history books, as is the old 1.33-litre engine, replaced by a new 1.5-litre petrol unit, designed to meet Euro 6c emissions standards.
The supermini arena is tough, and customers are demanding more and more as time passes by.
What was the city runabout of years past has developed into a mini-limo and Toyota has taken due notice of this fact by treating the Yaris to a roomy five-door body.
The honours in this model have to be split and first up for star billing is the car's looks.
There's a new look front - including new headlights to give the car a younger image.
In addition, the tailgate has been redesigned as well as the light clusters and bumper.
And to add to the range's youthful personality there is a bi-tone Bi Tone option which uses two colours, black for the roof and mirrors and a wide choice of alternatives for the body.
And this dual colour treatment is carried over onto the inside too to give a bright new look.
The latest model is intended to reverse the trend and reoccupy the ground ceded to competitors, particularly among young buyers who have drifted towards Fiesta, VW Polo and Mazda2 in addition to the plethora of options from Peugeot and Citroen.
Then there is the new 1.5-litre petrol engine designed to meet more stringent emission levels, giving the new Yaris plenty of zip without compromising on economy.
This VVT-i engine is responsive and ensures brisk acceleration. In addition, the six-speed manual gearbox is slick in operation. A top speed figure of 109mph is given and this model can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 11 seconds.
The car's fuel consumption on the Combined cycle is 58.2mpg, and on regular mixed driving runs I was getting around 53mpg.