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Toyota Yaris interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

Comfort in the front of the Toyota Yaris is perfectly acceptable. Tall adults will find enough head and legroom and all the controls fall easily to hand. Adjustable lumbar support isn’t available, however, so longer drives could become a bit of a chore if you can’t find a comfortable seating position.

The Yaris’s cute, rounded body shape helps it stand out among its many cookie-cutter rivals, but does mean it has thick pillars running behind the rear windows. As a result, over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t brilliant, which would make manoeuvres tricky if it weren’t for the fact the car has tiny dimensions and all models include a reversing camera as standard.

Standard equipment

Entry-level Icon trim comes well equipped. You get 16-inch alloy wheels, auto lights and wipers, a reversing camera, climate control, plus a suite of driver assist features including adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and automatic emergency braking. You also get a seven-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Design adds a different alloy wheel design, LED headlights, powered and tinted rear windows, a larger eight-inch touchscreen and funky 'binocular' style digital driver’s dials.

Dynamic brings larger 17-inch wheels, plus part-faux-leather upholstery, an upgraded JBL stereo, keyless entry and starting, and dual-zone climate control.

Range-topping Excel cars gain 17-inch wheels with a different design along with all-round parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert to stop you reversing into another car's path. You also get auto-folding door mirrors and extra metal-effect interior styling.

While we like the upholstery and upgraded stereo found in higher-end models, we think the best value options are either Icon or Design trim. These models include all the kit you need and ride slightly better thanks to their smaller alloy wheels.

Infotainment and audio

Toyota’s infotainment setup isn’t up there with the class best – small hatches from Hyundai, Mini and Audi all feel more up-to-date inside. It does, at least, include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in all models which, for most users, will be all they’ll need the screen to do.

Using Toyota’s baked-in software can get a bit annoying. Both the entry-level screen and the upgraded options are still pretty small compared to rivals, so on-screen buttons and graphics are small and hard to hit without deliberately aiming your fingertip. Plus, the graphics themselves are unattractive and make it hard to read information from the screen at a glance. We also found the small info screen between the driver’s dials on entry-level Icon cars hard to read, with too much information crammed onto the display. The ‘binocular’ dials on mid-range cars look more modern and attractive.

The Yaris’s standard stereo is perfectly fine but you can always upgrade to the JBL system found in Dynamic spec cars. This has quite a bit more bass, making it well suited to modern music.

Rear seat space

Space in the back of the Yaris is tight so, if you’re going to be using the rear seats often, you might want to consider the Volkswagen Polo, Hyundai i20 or Skoda Fabia instead. Even with average-height adults in front, similarly sized rear passengers will find their knees press against the front seat backs. Taller adults stuck in the rear will also find their heads brushing the ceiling, while the rounded roofline means the sloping rear windowline doesn’t let as much light into the back as more practical alternatives.

As a result, the Yaris doesn’t make a great case for itself as a family car. The small rear row and tight access may require some acrobatics to secure wriggling kids in their car seats. A compact crossover like the Toyota Yaris Cross will be quite a bit better in this respect.

Boot space

Another reason the Yaris won’t make the best family car is cargo room. There are 286 litres of boot space, which lags behind the best in class, and it misses out on clever features like an adjustable boot floor to make the most of what space there is. The opening is reasonably wide but the overall boot width is constrained by the rear-wheel arches that intrude into the space.

For individual or couple buyers, there’s more than enough room in the Yaris for everyday use – especially if you fold the rear seats to maximise cargo space. It’ll quickly run out of room, however, if you regularly need to carry a dog, a pushchair or other bulky items.

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