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One supermini that's spacious

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

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All those cute little citycars are all very well but they're not very practical are they? So what if you could get that kind of fashionable feel in a small runabout with a bit more space – something like Toyota's Yaris supermini? That's the thinking behind the Japanese brand's marketing of this model in 'Edition' and 'Trend' guises.

Though both the 'Edition' and the 'Trend' models look sporty, there are no changes beneath the bonnet to get excited about. The 'Edition' is powered by the range's entry-level 1.0-litre VTi petrol engine that's really designed for urban use.

Better for the open road is the 'Trend' version, as it's based on the sportier SR model in the standard line-up, powered by a 100bhp 1.33-litre petrol unit. This variant also gets slightly stiffened suspension for sharper cornering. As a result, the low speed ride is quite firm, but refinement is good enough to give the feeling of your being in something from the next class up. Rest to sixty in the 1.33 takes 11.7s on the way to a top speed of 109mph.

Beneath the visual frippery of these special edition models lurks a sensible supermini. Pronounced V-sculpting of the radiator grille and eased-out wheelarches give the latest Yaris a studier, more purposeful look, and the chrome strip running along the boot combines with the small tailgate spoiler to carry through the slightly sportier mein. The 100mm increase in length over the previous generation Yaris has made a big difference to cabin room that you can most easily feel in the back; six foot adults can be accommodated with ease. The 286-litre boot (within 9-litres of a Fiesta) expands to 347-litres if you load up to the roof. Push forward the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and a useful 768-litres of total space is freed up.

And at the wheel? Well, traditional instruments behind the steering wheel replace the binnacle in the centre of the dash of older Yaris models. And while it's certainly true that there are classier-feeling cabins in this sector with higher quality plastics, none is better screwed together. It certainly looks very smart. Apart from the redesigned multifunction steering wheel - and the clever Touch & Go multi-media system - the well laid out and ergonomically sound interior hasn't changed much. There's also plenty of interior storage space, and the decently-sized door bins can accommodate a decent sized drinks bottle with ease. The trend in small car marketing is to offer more for less, a fashion followed by these special edition Yaris models. There's nothing especially innovative at work with the thinking behind them - a lot more equipment for not a lot of extra money - but the concept should achieve its objective here of boosting Yaris sales.

That doesn't always happen with special editions, but in this case, the equipment enhancements are well chosen and the price additions for them modest. If you're after a supermini that stands out a little in the supermarket carpark, then one of these Yaris models may well appeal.

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