The Toyota Yaris subcompact hatchback was Toyota’s lowest-priced car sold in the U.S. It’s smaller than the Corolla compact and Camry mid-size sedans, both of which greatly outsell it. A couple of decades ago, a small engine, low price, and agile maneuverability were sufficient to satisfy budget-conscious commuters. Nowadays, the Yaris goes against strong competitors in the small-car segment, led by the Nissan Versa Note.
The Toyota Yaris comes in either three or five-door versions, though both have identical dimensions. Trim levels include the L, LE and four-door-only SE. The three-door L and SE can be had with manual or automatic transmissions, while other trims are only available with the automatic.
The Toyota Yaris seats five. Its front seats are comfortable and have good space for tall occupants. The driver’s high riding position provides a good road view. The Yaris’ back seats have plenty of legroom and a good amount of headroom. The outboard rear seats have complete LATCH systems for attaching car seats, and there’s a tether anchor for the middle seat. Ride comfort is good, and the Yaris is comparatively quiet on the highway, apart from engine noise. Tire and wind sounds are muted.
The Toyota Yaris is powered by mediocre powertrains at best. The 1.5-liter inline-4 issues a puny 106 horsepower, low for the class, and a 5-speed manual transmission provides performance that’s tepid, though it can be perky at city speeds if you work it hard. The 4-speed automatic option is far worse compared to most competitors which have continuously variable automatic transmissions or six-speed automatics—they make better use of the power available from their small-displacement engines. If you don’t mind dealing with the manual transmission, it’s the better bet on the Yaris from the standpoint of acceleration and fuel economy.
The Toyota Yaris has a spacious interior for the subcompact car class, but filling the cabin with people negates its acceleration. The interior mixes decent materials with plenty of cheaper plastics at eye level. Some notable features include; Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker Entune Audio sound system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface. The Yaris lacks a telescoping steering wheel and an armrest for the driver’s seat, which may make it difficult to find a comfortable driving position. Still, the Yaris is an OK choice for childless couples driving in the city or students.
If you don’t mind dealing with the manual transmission, it’s the better bet on the Yaris from the standpoint of acceleration and fuel economy. The manual transmission earns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway—with the available automatic transmission, the Yaris gets 30/35 mpg city/highway.
The car remains a driving appliance that sacrifices refinement, driving dynamics, and gadgets in the name of reliability, causing it to fall behind in the subcompact segment. If you can look past that, the Yaris is a good econo box car that get you from point A to Point B without too many problems. According to KBB you can expect to pay between $9,700 – $15,000 for a used 2018 Toyota Yaris in good condition and average mileage. Alternative vehicles to consider while doing your used car shopping include the Nissan Versa, Honda Civic and the Honda FIT.