The first-generation Yaris set a new standard for Toyota in terms of desirability and likeability. It had long had a reputation for producing dependable but dull machinery which remains largely the case, but the Yaris set a new standard for superminis in terms of cabin practicality and cutesy charm.
The latest car continues right where the first left off, building on its good looks but developing them into something sharper and more modern. The newer Yaris is noticeably bigger than the car it has replaced, too.
The interior of the Yaris retains a visual link with the original car, with a pared-down look characterised by the nifty centrally-mounted instrument panel. There are still a whole load of cubbies and nooks, including a false boot floor, where you can store the junk that always accumulates in a busy supermini, meaning that the Yaris can retain an air of tidiness for as long as possible.
The space inside the Yaris is appreciably bigger too - not just because the car has grown, but because a sliding rear bench can be employed to maximise legroom and a flat floor at the back of the car allows three people to sit in comfort. The boot needn't suffer here either, with decent room for luggage.
The original Yaris was no dynamic driver's car, but the latest version manages to muster some enthusiasm when approaching a corner. It feels safe and reliable during manoeuvres; it's a car you can trust. The steering is quick enough for urban driving, and the suspension is well-balanced enough to make driving outside of the city reasonably fun.
Unlike some of its rivals, the Yaris doesn't waste everything it has on first impressions - the dashboard not only looks good, but it is made of quality materials too, and has Toyota's usual robust feel to it. It is up there with the class best in terms of tactility and practicality.
The entry-level 1.0-litre engine is worth steering clear of, because it quickly feels out of its depth in anything more than light city driving. Either of the peppy 1.3-litre petrol or powerful 1.4-litre diesel units will perform admirably depending on your personal preferences.
The Yaris isn't a showy car, but as usual for a Toyota it does everything dependably well and without grumbling. For many it should be right at the top of their supermini shopping list.