Bad points? For a car that will be driven mostly in town, the A-pillars are too thick, while the unattractive touchscreen dominates your view ahead. The infotainment interface lacks polish, too, but at least Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard.
The driving experience is mixed. The battery notionally stores around four miles of range, but it deploys it tactically. The Yaris pulls away under quick and quiet electric power alone, and the stab of torque you get is useful when pulling onto roundabouts and the like. Ask for more than the motor can give and the engine fires up – coarsely but not unforgivably so – and the two power sources together provide reasonable mid-range acceleration. Overtakes still require some planning, mind. Back off and the engine then goes back to sleep without hesitation.
This isn’t an engaging powertrain – certainly not when compared against a turbo Fiesta with three pedals – but it is economical. On a varied route, it averaged 63mpg without us trying. As for steering feel, that isn’t really the main event for your common-or-garden Yaris, and the rack is at least light and nicely geared, but let’s hope the GR Yaris does better…
Refinement is good on the move and the CVT’s ‘elastic band’ effect seems less pronounced than before, although the ride quality becomes noticeably choppy on the motorway (16in wheels may help in this regard). But the best thing about the Yaris (apart from its design, economy or cabin) is its new chassis. It’s actually very neutral, and so this little car corners tidily and claws genuinely good grip out of its modest rubber.
I don’t suppose many owners will throw their Yaris at corners, but if they did, they would find it absolutely doesn’t come apart. That ability is wasted here, but it augurs well.
One last thing worth mentioning is that, on its 17in wheels, our test car rode in more prickly fashion that’d we like, and on a variety of roads. It turns out the suspension tune is intentionally firmer on the 17in wheels, so sizing down to 16in could make a genuinely meaningful improvement.