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TOYOTA is a firm that’s often been proud of its heritage, and it’s always made a song and dance about the milestones of its most popular models.

The Yaris, for example, has turned 20. Yes, that makes me feel a bit old, too, but to mark the double-decade they’ve launched a limited edition version of the popular small hatchback – and called it the Y20.

Looking back through its history the Yaris has had a few ups and downs. At its original launch it was one of the best in class. Everyone loved the cute looks, the sweet handling, the funky and fresh interior and even some of the quirky technology it introduced – there was even a version with clutchless manual transmission.

GB TEM yIts reputation hasn’t always been built on innovation and charm, however, and newer versions seemed to water down the original cutesy brief. It became, let’s not beat about the bush, a bit dull.

It’s still not exactly exciting but a recent facelift has worked wonders for its styling and other improvements have massively improved on its chassis and interior.

So, while the Yaris hasn’t exactly come full-circle – it’s still not the most charismatic car on the market – Toyota has a thoroughly decent current model on which to hang its party hat.

GB TEM yThe Y20 comes with a contrasting dark roof, 16in dark alloy wheels and a dark grille, plus dark door mirror casings and side mouldings.

There are also rear tinted windows and Y20 badging on the rear pillars. This grey colour-scheme can be applied to silver, black or white paintwork and carries over to the interior.

Inside there’s special steering wheel inserts and check-fabric upholstery along with a few nice chrome highlights around the air vents and speakers. You’ll find  bit more Y20 branding if you look closely enough, including on the seatbacks and instrument panel.

GB TEM yOK, so they’ve not exactly gone to town on their birthday boy, but Y20 buyers will get a few nice goodies in their party bags.

This being based on the flagship, you’ll get Toyota’s Touch 2 infotainment system with an eight inch touchscreen, which gives you smartphone integration and a smattering of online apps and features.

I know what you’re thinking, how much is this all going to cost. Well if you compare it to the next model down it’s a premium of roughly £1,000, depending on the engine you choose.

GB TEM yThe Icon Tech can, however, be had with the wheezy one-litre 72bhp petrol engine, which brings the price down to £15,570 – while Y20 buyers get to choose either the 111bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine or the excellent hybrid system.

Pick the latter and you’ll be knocking on the door of £20,000 before adding any extras. At least it fits the “20” theme, I guess.

Having said that, you can pay more in this sector for some of the premium brands and the current Yaris feels well made and drives very well.

Toyota is known for its solid reliability and, this being a special edition, residual values should be strong. Paying a premium for the hybrid will also deliver great fuel economy and help keep emissions low.

So if you’re after something a bit different or individual, or if you’re a long-term fan of the Yaris and you’re just as happy about its longevity, the Y20 might just be the car for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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