Toyota’s new Yaris is much younger and fresher but great for motorists of any age

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I THINK age is starting to catch up on me.

My hairdresser trims my eyebrows without even asking.

My right knee is properly bu**ered after PE with Joe.

I can’t read food instructions in low light.

I’ve started playing dominoes.

But, most tellingly of all, I really like the Toyota Yaris.

Yep, I said Yaris.

The super-efficient, super-reliable bingo bus my old girl swears by.

But hear me out because I reckon this new one is a contender for any small car buyer, of any age. It looks fantastic, for starters, much more rally and much less orthopaedic than before.

Toyota boss Akio Toyoda promised us “No more boring cars” and he meant it.

As for running costs, we’re talking C H E A and P. North of 60mpg. With much town driving on electricity alone.

The self-charging hybrid system — which is now standard on all models — is so well integrated it switches from electric power to the petrol engine without so much as a mouse’s hiccup.

But what pleases me most — as someone still the fresh side of 50 — is the sparkling chassis and precise steering. Without being too nerdy, this fourth-gen Yaris is built on a new platform which brings many advantages including a stiffer body, lower centre of gravity and better weight balance. Which makes it more fun. And safer.

That chassis is easily capable of taking a hotter version but that won’t happen because the forthcoming GR Yaris ticks that box.

We might see a Yaris GR Sport next year but that’s just a PE kit.

And don’t forget there’s a small-but-tall Yaris Cross coming next summer too.

Now let’s get back to the car you see here.

The entry Yaris at £19,910 is generously equipped with 7in touch-screen, reversing camera, Apple CarPlay and all sorts of driver assistance aids. Finance from £159 a month.

Tip. If you want the softest, smoothest ride stick to 16in wheels. The bigger wheels look nice but are slightly less forgiving of our cheese-grater roads.

The top-of-the-range Launch Edition at £24k has Head-up Display. It keeps your eyes fixed to the road. I say all cars should have it.

Other positives. Nice driving position. More elbow room. Big digital speedo. B mode for maximum braking regeneration. Smartphone tray. Fully adjustable steering wheel so it’s easy to get comfy. I clocked up 500 miles and my dodgy back didn’t complain once.

Mistakes? The steering wheel buttons are a bit naff and flimsy. As are the touch-screen buttons. The Honda Jazz has better rear seats.

But all in all, the Yaris is miles better than before.

Younger, fresher, nicer to drive, full of kit, and decent value. Definitely worth a look.

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