At Tyres on the Drive, you can get your new Toyota tyres fitted as early as the next day, and at a time and location that’s convenient for you.
Its legendary build quality and the reliability of its cars since the 1970s/80s has made it a key player in the European family car industry and it was to Toyota that the Euro-zone manufacturers turned to, to learn how to make cars so well. Toyota still regularly tops reliability and owner satisfaction surveys, a testament to their factory processes and understanding of what the market wants. Along with other Japanese makes such as Honda, it was a pioneer of the switch to hybrid cars and now stands to capture sales from drivers looking for a cleaner form of transport, while the European makes try to catch up lost ground.
Toyota’s Aygo city car is a strikingly styled and eye-catching version of a basic design shared also with the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108. Its dramatic ‘X’ shaped front is matched by a chic and ultra modern looking interior and Toyota provides a seemingly endless list of personalisation options, so you can specify the car exactly as you want it. There is only one engine, a three cylinder 1.0 litre, but with such a light car it is enough. The Aygo rides acceptably well, although most cars with short wheelbases and small wheels struggle a little with our roads.
For many years the Toyota Yaris was widely seen as a rather staid and uninspiring if competent small hatchback. That has all changed with this latest generation car, which is dramatically styled inside and out and has the option of a hybrid engine, although that does add extra weight and cost. The Yaris is a decent, if not class leading, all-rounder in terms of ride and performance, but where it does score is with the interior. Twin colour finishes lift the mood and lend the Yaris a fun factor lacking in others.
Five-door family hatchback with the option of a hybrid version which makes it something of a rarity in this sector of the market. Although the Auris is an average performer, the petrol/electric model has an attractive tax advantage over those with only conventional engines. It is reasonably roomy and comfortable but left behind by cars such as the VW Golf or Ford Focus in its ride/handling and refinement. As with all Toyotas, its five years/100,000 mile warranty underlines just how well built and reliable these cars are.
The finest coupe of this size. Just as the Mazda MX-5 is the standard setter in its class, so is the Toyota GT86 in its. Wonderfully balanced and very responsive, the GT86 is a fabulous car to drive close towards its limits and rewards the keen driver as few other cars can and certainly none in this price range. The Subaru BRZ is based on the GT86 but has a harder edge to it, the Toyota has a slightly softer suspension.
Challenging looks are one aspect of the CH-R, Toyota’s entry into the compact SUV market, but no one can deny that it doesn’t have presence on the road. Like the new Yaris, the CH-R has a colourful interior and offers a lovely driving environment, but children sitting in the back might find themselves feeling a bit claustrophobic thanks to the rear doors which curve up to the roof and reduce the window space. The CH-R has a hybrid version with a CVT transmission as an alternative to the turbocharged 1.2 litre version.
Now in its fourth generation, the trail-blazing Toyota hybrid can run in battery-only mode for more than 30 miles before the internal combustion engine kicks in, making it a good urban car and especially as more cities look to extend their low emission zones. It now drives better than its predecessors but won’t threaten the likes of the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra in this regard. However, as low emissions become ever more important, its CO2 emissions which start from just 28 g/km for the plug-in version will become ever more attractive.
As with every car in this sector, the Avensis saloon has been rather left behind by the switch to SUVs but it provides dependable, practical family transport and its relative lack of appeal in the modern market is reflected in some surprisingly keen prices. The Toyota is a good motorway car, with a supple ride but is a little wallowy on tighter roads. Saloons and hatchbacks of this size are a bit of a dying breed but there is still a decent demand for the estate version. One area in which the Avensis is very good is reliability with an excellent record on build quality and the car is backed by a five year/100,000 mile warranty, so even many second hand cars will still be under the manufacturer’s cover.
One of the pioneers of the small SUV sector, this latest generation RAV4 is slightly longer and bigger than before and sits almost exactly in the middle of this part of the market in size and price. The RAV4 (Recreational Activity Vehicle) is a good all-rounder and as with the company’s Yaris, now looks much sharper with more distinctive styling. There are sportier SUVs, better riding or more comfortable ones, but the RAV4 is a solid and safe performer and has an ace up its sleeve in the form of a petrol/electric hybrid option. SUVs are ideally suited for hybrid propulsion and not just because of the lower emissions but because the huge torque of the electric motor is perfect for helping these relatively heavy cars tackle hills or accelerate, especially when towing a caravan or other trailer.
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