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The Yaris is a supermini marketed by Toyota since 1999 as a replacement to the old Starlet. First generation models were marketed between 1999 and 2005, offered in hatchback, coupe and sedan body styles, and sold internationally under both the “Yaris” and “Echo” names. 2011 brought the arrival of the current third generation Yaris, and while originally available only as a hatchback, a sedan body style was released in 2013. The supermini class contains strong rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio and Volkswagen Polo to name just a few; despite the fierce competition, the Yaris has efficiency as a distinct advantage, with few models managing to beat it on affordability.
Like most cars in the supermini class, the Yaris has a range of petrol and diesel engines on offer. In the UK the Yaris can be fitted with a choice of four engines: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, a 1.33-litre four-cylinder petrol, a 1.4-litre four-cylinder diesel and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid. This petrol/electric hybrid was introduced in 2012 and gives the Yaris a competitive edge; it remains one of the few superminis offering petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains. This allows the Yaris to travel short distances powered by electricity only, all while claiming CO2 emissions of only 75g/km and boasting fuel economy of 81mpg. The hybrid comes with a CVT automatic gearbox, while all other engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox.
The 2014 facelift of the third generation gave a fresher and more distinguishing appearance to the Yaris, while also boosting the interior technology. The Yaris is available as either a three- or five-door hatchback, and comes in four trims: the entry-level Active, through Icon, Design, up to the top-end Excel. Entry-level models come well-equipped as standard, including USB connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, six-speaker audio system and electric front windows, with the higher trim levels allow further customisation to suit tastes. The Toyota also beats its rivals when it comes to cabin space, with clever design optimising front and rear passenger space. On top of this, the 286-litre capacity boot boasts a 25% increase from its previous generation.
Efficiency and cabin space are definitely the trump cards of the Yaris, making it one of the most comfortable and affordable superminis on the market.
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