Fastest Yaris but not the best; too noisy and too expensive

AND THE FASTEST Yaris in the line-up is… the 1.4 litre diesel. It has no trouble dismissing the 1.0 three- cylinder, and makes light work of the 1.3 petrol too, needing 10.7sec to reach 62mph in contrast to the petrol’s 13.1sec. And as you’d expect, it’s the most economical Yaris, too, turning in 62.8mpg to the 1.3’s 48.7mpg. But unless economy is everything, this is not the Yaris to buy.The reasons why are evident as soon as you fire up. Unlike most modern oil-burners, which calm down after they’ve warmed through, this motor plays endless variations on the rattle, clatter and thrum themes, only quietening when you back off the throttle. So it’s noisy. And the engine’s extra weight burdens the Yaris considerably. Not only does the steering weight up in unappealingly glutinous fashion, but the car feels decidedly less nimble than the 1.3.The ride deteriorates, too, turning pattery too easily. So even if you aren’t a keen driver, there’s a dynamic price to pay for choosing the oil-burner.Of course, the diesel Yaris isn’t all bad. Even though you must work the gearbox to get the best of the engine – the torque curve starts sinking away beyond 3000rpm, a long way before the 5000rpm cut-off – brisk progress is quite easy to achieve, and you do get used to the car’s friendly clatterings.And then there’s the rest of the Yaris, which is generally excellent – well packaged, easy to use, decent to look at and well assembled, if from low-grade plastics in places.But the killer blow is the Yaris diesel’s price, which is £1000 more than the 1.3 petrol. That’s too much when the premium for a diesel Renault Clio is £900, a 206 £750 and a Ford Fiesta £600. 

Join the debate

Add a comment…
dmhcaspian 15 February 2016

Another myth spreader??

I do wish journalist would learn a bit about engineering, and drop their obvious bias from reporting.
Diesel and petrol engines have fundamentally different characteristics.
This myth about changing gear more often in a diesel is drivel.
Diesel power comes in very low down the rev range, and lasts for a long time.
As with a petrol car, you change up somewhere around peak power output: Diesel 2000 - 3000 rpm (a 50% spread). Petrol 4000 - 5000 (25% spread). (In mine in 5th that's 60 - 90 mph)
Anyone who has lived with a modern turbo diesel will tell you that there's a lot LESS gear changing with a diesel car than a petrol one, as a result of the relative width and depth of the power band.
The two are different. Whether one is 'better' than the other, depends on what you're looking for in a car.
Sine I started driving turbo diesels, I don't want to go back to petrol: I don't drive a diesel car like I would a petrol and vice versa.
LP in Brighton 16 July 2009

Re: Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D

Something strange going on here. I know that the Yaris diesel engine is a lot more torquey than the petrol, but the latter's extra 10 horsepower allied with less weight surely should make it go faster? Could it be that Toyota has understated the petrol model's performance in order to secure more competitive insurance group ratings? Either way, with 100horsepower and sub 120g/km CO2 emissions, the new 1.33 petrol engine sounds pretty impressive against the competition...

mountainrover 14 July 2009

Re: Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D

I disagree with Richard Bremner's view of the diesel's noise. I tested the 1.3 petrol and the 1.4 diesel. As soon as I started the diesel on my first test drive I was surprised by the general mechanical refinement. On the dual carriageway, having driven the 1.3 petrol, I found the diesel much quieter at 60-70mph. Overall I thought it was surprisingly quiet for a small diesel at all times. Also there's no vibration in the gearknob or steering wheel that I'd encountered in an earlier diesel car. Needless to say I opted for the diesel. After more than two years and 24,000 miles I still think how refined it is, and it is so reliable.

The main drawback of the diesel for me is the very poor heater performance in the winter. Yes the ride is jiggly and the steering devoid of feel. But it is spacious inside, the seat incredibly supportive and there's loads of stowage space.

I seriously think you should change you Yaris summary to 'noisy petrol engines'.