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The Good, The bad and the Ugly. Toyota Yaris 1999 – 2005

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

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An irrelevant look at a certain car.

The Toyota Yaris 1999 – 2005

The Toyota Yaris, the Greek goddesses of charm and beauty. Well not quite. According to Wikipedia, “Yaris” is derived from “Charis”, the singular for Charites. And this thankfully is as complicated as Toyota’s little toaster on wheels gets.

Her beauty didn’t last long because you might have noticed that almost ALL Yaris’s have a dented panel below the rear bumper. You do wonder if they actually came from the factory like that.

OK, I’m being unfair and what I am about to write pretty much gives the game away. The Yaris isn’t a bad car. And despite its oddball looks, it’s not ugly either. Here is a car that was miles away from the dull forgettable Starlet that it replaced. You might want to Google “Starlet” because you would have forgotten what it looked like by now.


Walk around the Yaris and you’ll greet its cutesy looks with affection. Its rounded face and slabby sides were in keeping with the populous of the time in that we were all getting a bit portly. What we needed was to walk more. What you needed was a car that broke down.

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The Yaris didn’t break down. You just couldn’t stop the bloody things. So reliable were they, that they won customer satisfaction awards all over the place. Here was a city car that didn’t cost much to buy, cost even less to run and could be abused like no other car. If ever there was a car that made the manufacture absolutely no money in after sales, here it is.

Getting inside was a doodle too. Big wide doors on the 3 door, or slightly smaller doors on the 5 door, opened up the grey cabin. The driving position was high too. It gave good visuals and speaking of visuals, it also came with a far-out digital pod, slap-bang in the middle of the dashboard. This was a revelation. Digital displays were still alienating customers, others had tried and failed. Toyota gave a 2 finger salute and shoved it in there. It worked. It was crystal clear. You couldn’t wish for anything better.

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And the ride wasn’t that bad either for a shopping cart. It all worked well. So you would expect this to be a massive sales flop. A little Toyota with a high driving position that’s easy to get into, surely only the granny brigade bought these. Absolutely not. It was universally approved by all.  

There is no escaping it, the Yaris is a good car. 

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