Yaris accomplished

but noisy

Toyota Yaris, front
Toyota Yaris, front quarter
Toyota Yaris, dynamic
Toyota Yaris, front
Toyota Yaris, side
Toyota Yaris, rear
Toyota Yaris, front
Toyota Yaris, interior
Toyota Yaris, boot

ARE 'invisible' cyclists the bane of your driving life as they are for me at this time of year?

Where are their brains? They ride around wearing black on black bikes without reflectors or lights and it's only the quick reactions of drivers that saves their bacon every time.

Yet, when we point out the error of their ways, we just get a mouthful of abuse.

If there were any police out there to catch them it might be worth reporting but, as it is, there is simply no point.

Driving Toyota's latest updated Yaris supermini I was within a whisker of killing one who rode straight out of a side road right in front of me and came close to damaging two others doing similarly stupid things - like riding the wrong way up one way streets.

Luckily, my reactions are pretty good and the Yaris brakes are excellent with their added emergency brake assist, which applies maximum stopping power whenever you stamp on the pedal.

This Yaris has been around for about six years, but revamps in 2014 and 2017 have kept it pretty up to date.

These changes restyled both the front and the rear and in 2017 the 1.4 diesel and three door options were dropped, leaving the 1.0-litre and 1.5 petrols and, of course, the 1.5 petrol/electric hybrid that's the only one in the class.

Having recently sampled the Hybrid, I opted for the 1.5 and found that it has decent performance without ever becoming startling.

With around 110bhp on tap I expected it to be better in such a small car, but it can't crack the ten second figure for the 0 to 62 miles an hour sprint.

The 1.5 engine replaced a 1.3 unit, giving better performance and improved economy into the bargain.

It drives the front wheels through a decently slick changing six-speed manual and a light clutch and although there is a CVT automatic available the manual is much more involving.

Electronics help towards economy of 54mpg, but while the engine is quiet and smooth at lower revs it gets raucous and thrashy when pushed up the rev range - and that's what you have to do to get the best out of it.

That unpleasant sound actually put me off revving it very hard after a couple of days.

I did enjoy taking it around one of my local country routes with plenty of bends and poor surfaces however.

The steering doesn't give a great deal of feedback, but there was enough for me, and body control through the twisting parts of the route, together with very good grip and road holding, was good enough for plenty of fun.

Comfort is also good, so that it took the poor country surfaces well at speed and yet also rode over speed humps with great aplomb.

The Yaris is one of the safest cars in the class thanks to plenty of airbags and a raft of electronic devices such as stability control.

Also standard is the Toyota Safety Sense system, which brings traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking.

There is good rear legroom, and so space for four adults, but lack of steering column reach adjustment limits comfort when it comes to finding the ideal driving position.

There's a good level of equipment in the BiTone model I drove and this includes alloy wheels, reversing camera and parking sensors, air conditioning and a DAB stereo with touchscreen, sat nav and Bluetooth.

FAST FACTS

Price:£17,900

Mechanical: 109bhp, 1,496cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:109mph

0-62mph:10.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 54

Insurance Group: 10

C02 emissions: 118g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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