Looking for an inexpensive, entry-level new car at a Toyota dealership? In years past, you would've likely walked right by the Yaris' oddly proportioned predecessor, the Echo, and opted to shop for one of its worthy subcompact competitors. Thankfully, the Toyota Yaris is a better vehicle in just about every way.
Still, the first-generation of the Yaris was passable at best in what has become an increasingly competitive subcompact segment, as rivals offered more refinement, greater utility and a more enjoyable drive. But the latest version of Toyota's entry-level car boasts improvements in those key areas that, although still not making it a class leader, at least put it in the hunt. Further bolstered by Toyota's solid reputation for low ownership costs and stellar long-term reliability, the latest Yaris should prove appealing to those looking for practical and economical transportation.
Current Toyota Yaris
Toyota offers the subcompact Yaris as either a two- or four-door hatchback. There is no sedan version. Base L and uplevel LE trims are offered in either body style, while a sporty SE trim is offered only on the four-door. Standard highlights on the L include power door locks, air-conditioning, four-way-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, a CD player, USB/iPod connectivity and satellite radio. The LE adds power windows, remote keyless entry, a six-way-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat and an upgraded sound system. The SE trim gets a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, a unique grille, foglamps, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and upgraded cloth upholstery.
For power, the Yaris comes with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine good for 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is optional. Fuel economy, while not class-leading, is still very frugal.
In reviews, we've found the new Yaris easy to like. Although its four-speed automatic would seem to be a major downside alongside some rivals' six-speed units, it manages not to feel archaic. With its timely gearchanges it makes the most of the available power while merging onto fast-moving freeways or dicing with city traffic. Handling is also respectable, with a reassuringly composed demeanor when tackling a twisty road. The SE provides a sporty feel with its quicker steering and additional grip. However, its ride quality isn't as good, and its turning circle is noticeably wider as well.
Read the most recent 2014 Toyota Yaris review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Toyota Yaris page.