Toyota Vitz review
Ever since Toyota the roads almost a century ago it has offered cars that focus on reliability rather than excitement. It’s a strategy that’s served the company very well, with buyers returning time after time, safe in the knowledge that their car is unlikely to let them down.
That’s certainly true of the Vitz. With light controls and an easy driving experience, this hatchback provided quality and economy with a healthy dose of practicality. It’s a formula Toyota has stuck with right up to the latest car.
The third-generation Vitz arrived in September 2011 in three and five-door forms. Engine choices were 1.0 or 1.33-litre petrols or a 1.4 D-4D diesel.
A 1.5-litre Vitz Hybrid appeared in July 2013, with T3, T4 and T Spirit specs and a CVT box only. A facelift in January 2014 brought new specs (Active, Icon, Sport and Excel), a fresh nose design and higher-quality interior trim.
Another revamp in 2017 added design updates inside and out, a more efficient Hybrid option, plus extra safety systems, while a 1.5-litre petrol engine replaced the 1.33-litre motor.
Later on in 2017 a 210bhp VitzGRMN hot hatch arrived, with a supercharged 1.8-litre engine.
Diesel models are very frugal but with the quality of diesel on out pumps this may not be your best option. The Hybrid is better suited to endless short journeys, especially city runs. However, I'm really worried about the state of the battery in a 8-year old Japanese import. Also, do our local mechanics know how to troubleshoot and fix a broken hybrid system?
Aim for at least TR/Icon trims, with 15-inch alloys, air-con, Bluetooth, a rear parking camera and a touchscreen without nav.
The SR/Sport bring part-leather trim, 16-inch wheels, privacy glass, lowered suspension and sportier detailing. The range-topping T Spirit/Excel feature a glass roof, dual-zone climate control, automatic lights and wipers, plus an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Cars with the Touch and Go touchscreen multimedia system include sat-nav plus a raft of connected services.
What to look for in a used Vitz
Rear number plate trim can react with the tailgate and corrode.
Shiny dash plastics can reflect in the windscreen. Some owners have made their own dash-top mats.
Multidrive CVT auto is either loved or hated by owners; it’s less reliable than the manual alternative.
Fuel economy should not be a problem for such a small auto. You may however notice a difference in the bigger engine trims. Hybrid buyers expect upto 30KM/l, wow!
Everything is clearly laid out in the Vitz, but some of the materials used look and feel cheap. The touchscreen in most cars is excellent and cabin space is fine; four adults can be accommodated, but realistically not five. Boot space is generous, at 286 litres, or 768 litres with the rear seats folded; unusually these figures also apply to the hybrid.