MR2 | Smart | Berkeley | Dawncraft | Motorhomes | Motorhome rallies | Sirion | Yaris

Toyota Yaris


I started looking for a replacement for the Sirion only due to its lack of central locking & air conditioning, certainly not to improve it's comfort or reliability. When I bought it, I really didn't think I needed these "luxuries" but as time went on, it felt so primitive by today's standards. What I have always needed was a small, reliable, economic set of wheels that a retired man can afford to live with. Looking at car reviews on the web, a few came to the top. I had to reject the delicious Mazda MX5 because the fuel consumption was good by sports car standards but hardly good against a Sirion, plus there was the insurance to take into consideration too, it is a group 11 for the 1.6 model. The Ford Fiesta was certainly feasible in its top spec, common as muck but reliable & inexpensive. A Honda Jazz was very good but the cost against the year was very high. The 5 year guarantee & specification of the Hyundai Getz put it in the ball park. (We have one in the family & it's outstanding).

A small local garage & car dealer, Michael Phillips of Longton near Preston, had a silver Yaris on offer with all the bits I needed, plus a few bonus points. One was it's very fair price (as understood reading Parkers guide) & two, Michael appreciated the Sirion's mileage & condition when it was part exchanged. Unfortunately, it's  silver colour was similar to the Sirion's gold. It looked very nice when it was cleaned, it looked nice when it was dirty & it was alright in-between. Hardly the colour to inspire the hard work of "auto detailing" (as our American cousins call car cleaning). It looks like this car, an 03 model, has just been washed with a car wax shampoo. It has virtually no scratches or marks apart from a few tiny stone chips on the front. The upholstery is charcoal grey & OK, but I think it may need a deep clean one day. No tears, no stains but maybe a small dog had been running around as there are small pulls in the seat covers. I have tried an upholstery foam cleaner on one seat but very little difference can be seen.

It is a three door model, that is spot on averages miles for the year, at 57000+. Everything works and the real difference between it & the Daihatsu is the build quality. Whether it's build quality is worth 3 times more than the Sirion is debatable & I'll let you know later! It has 2 previous owners & full service history, not all of it is documented but I'm trying to improve on that. It's last documented items were for its last MOT & new front brake pads in February. It has a silky smooth gear box like the Sirion, the doors close with a satisfying thud & it has very comfortable seats. Thank the Lord, I don't have anyone else driving my car. There are that many seat adjustments, I would think that changing drivers & regaining your own settings would lead to madness! Apart from the air con & central locking, this one has, in no particular order, a Scorpion alarm (made no difference to the insurance quote at all & went off, without obvious reason, twice), a trip computer, ABS, a sexy digital dash and an RDS radio cassette & an additional CD player. Like the Sirion, it lacks alloys. The boots space is very good if you sacrifice the rear seats by moving them forward. No problem for me, but as a family car, the Sirion would be a much better bet.

The costs are stacking up very well too. Same road tax & only 35 per year extra insurance. I've done no mileage yet, but an early indication, on just shopping,  school runs & one short journey to south Manchester with the air con switched on, is an overall mpg (after resetting the trip details) of 43+ & climbing. I am well impressed with that! The digital rev counter & fuel indicator are vague of course. They look great but it's just bars that move to hint what's happening. It has an overdrive on the auto box & it seems that I get about 60 mph at 2500 revs (vaguely). This is better than the Sirion but it is a larger engine (1300 against 1000 cc). I have reset it & I shall be checking the mpg closely on my next long trip .... as normal (how sad is that?).

I made the decision to clay the car but the hot sun is stopping me doing it immediately, so at least we'll have before & after photographs, even if you can't tell the difference.

I am now half a stone lighter & may pass out at any second. The car has been clayed & polished & only it's mother would know anything had happened! It is very shiny (it was before) & it's paintwork is VERY smooth. So if you have a silver car & wish to loose weight, be the only person who can tell the difference OR you need to hug your car ... it's a lot of hard work! By the way. I took photographs & only the number of the photo is different.

It's first long trip to Somerset has returned an average of 53 mpg with the aircon on all the time (it was up to 33c & it coped like a dream!) That's on two fill ups & very mixed driving. I am pleased with the result from a 1300cc engine & using the air conditioning virtually continuously.

Four further checks, by complete refills, Filling up as it started flashing on reserve & driving until it started to flashing on reserve again, got an average of 51.38 mpg. It has covered short trips, long trips, aircon on & off but I persisted with my usual nun driving. The pleasing thing is the accuracy of the trip computer. Each time  it was checked manually against the trip computer's calculation, it was within .5 mpg each time. That's accurate! Although I may do further checks, anyone would be happy with that level of precision.

Michael Phillips got me the service book back from Toyota & its all now stamped up. Not all the documents are there but at least it's mileage is provable. The Yaris is turning out to be very satisfactory. Utterly reliable, comfortable, economic & fully equipped. The only consideration a person needs to make, would be the two door version, if you need to use the back seats. There is plenty of room available, it is easy to adjust the rear seats but the actual access is very limited. If your a person carrying children or you have to use the back seats regularly, then you need the 5 door. For me ... its heaven with the gates shut!

As we go into 2010, the car is quite outstanding. Flying through its MOT, it remains a joy to drive. It has covered 68500 faultless miles. If I had one very small criticism, the indictors are poor at automatically self cancelling. Its a very minor point but vaguely irritating. Short mileage driving is producing a constant 46-47 mpg, by nun driving and I consider that very good from a 1300cc automatic. The CD player (an after fitment) is jumping a lot when cold but that's nothing to do with Toyota's reliability.

I have just serviced her in September 2011 at the reasonable cost of 110 as she approaches the 100k mark. The only thing to fail was the front windscreen washer motor.

This car is wonderfully reliable, well designed & highly recommended.


Links for information on this page:

Toyota's history

The UK Yaris Owners club

Michael Phillips Cars

Auto Windshields