Urban Cruiser (Toyota Yaris 2006-2011)

ENGINES – Toyota’s popular supermini can be had with a handful of small capacity petrol motors plus a more powerful unit for the warmed over performance variant. There’s also a token diesel option, which is unlikely to make sense unless you plan on racking up the miles in such a small car. Quiet and efficient, if not exactly that powerful, the petrol units offer respectable performance.

EXTERIOR – Easily recognisable as a Toyota thanks to the many styling cues shared with the likes of the Auris and Avensis, this Yaris boasts an upright stance and plenty of glass to ensure good visibility. Three-door cars offer easy access to the cabin, with five-door variants allowing the Yaris to be a little more family friendly.

INTERIOR – Solid and dependable is the best way of describing the car’s interior, which boasts a good level of occupant space and, just as importantly, uses plenty of durable materials to absorb the knocks of everyday life. German cars are more plush and French models more stylish but the Yaris won’t disappoint with its functional interior.

DRIVING – Toyota doesn’t promote its Yaris range as a driver’s car, and it’s clear after a while behind the wheel that it’s a safe and steady experience that’s sure to please its target audience. Light controls, good visibility and a comfortable driving position make the experience a positive one. There’s little to choose from in the engine department, with both low power petrol units offering adequate real world performance. If you want more speed there’s the 1.8 SR variant, while the diesel remains a niche choice for high mileage drivers.

OWNERSHIP – If ever there was a low maintenance, low cost car you could warm to it’s Toyota’s Yaris. With the backing of its maker’s considerable durability and reliability reputation, Yaris ownership is unlikely to be eventful for all the right reasons. Practical, refined and easy to drive, it’s easy to understand why this low cost car is a popular choice.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – With a car like the Yaris spending so much time in town, it’s important to be alert to issues like kerbed wheels, parking dents and very low mileage. The latter, a result of occasional shopping trips, can do more harm than good, as engines may never get warm enough and it will take longer to trigger service intervals. Suspension clunks, an inability to track straight, soggy brakes and cabin rattles could indicate a tired or neglected example, so don’t be afraid to walk away.

MODEL HISTORY

2006: Toyota launches its latest model Yaris, a more mature and less quirky car than previously. Available in three-and five-door form, standard kit levels are good across the range. 1.0 and 1.3-petrol motors joined by a warm 1.8 petrol performance option plus a 1.4-litre diesel. Default manual gearbox joined by an auto unit on selected models.

REASONS TO BUY – brand reputation, easy to drive, low running costs, practical

REASONS TO BEWARE – some rivals offer a more plush cabin environment, petrol performance is modest

PICK OF THE RANGE – Yaris 1.3 VVT-I T3 3dr

WHAT TO PAY

2006 06 3,795

2006 56 3,975

2007 07 4,320

2007 57 4,500

2008 08 4,935

2008 58 5,185

2009 09 5,665

Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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