2018 Toyota Yaris iA

2018 Toyota Yaris iA Review

This Toyota and Mazda partnership is a best-of-both-worlds scenario.
3.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by James Riswick
Edmunds Editor

Take a long look at the 2018 Toyota Yaris iA, especially at the back. Notice how it doesn't really look like other Toyotas? Now, peek into the cabin. Apart from the badge on the steering wheel, there's zero family resemblance. This is because the iA is designed and produced by Mazda. Mazda doesn't have an equivalent to the iA in its lineup, but take a look at its cars and you'll quickly see where the iA's DNA really comes from.

We point this out because Mazda is quite good at building small cars. If anything, this Toyota and Mazda partnership is a best-of-both-worlds scenario. The iA benefits from Mazda's design approach that results in a fun-to-drive nature, excellent fuel economy and stylish, high-quality interior design. Yet, since it's sold by Toyota, the iA comes standard with plenty of features (including advanced driver safety aids) and is available to more people because of Toyota's larger dealer network.

But there are some reasons to think twice about the iA. For starters, it doesn't have a lot of power — even for a segment known for being on the slow side. Interior space can also be an issue because backseat legroom and driver-seat adjustability are limited relative the competition. Some may also lament that there's no hatchback body style or a cheaper, lesser-equipped base model available.

In total, though, we think the 2018 Yaris iA is a must-drive for anyone seeking an affordable subcompact sedan — no matter which company makes it. 



what's new

The Yaris iA carries over unchanged for 2018.

we recommend

There's only one loaded trim level, and the only factory option is an automatic transmission. Like automatics? Great. Get that! Otherwise, there's not much else to decide upon. Maybe choose the Sapphire blue paint color. It's nice.




trim levels & features

The 2018 Toyota Yaris iA subcompact sedan comes in just one trim level. Power is supplied by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine (106 horsepower, 103 pound-feet of torque). A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional.

Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories (locks, windows and mirrors), keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, a low-speed forward collision warning and automatic braking system, cruise control, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, the Mazda Connect tech interface in all but name (7-inch display, knob-and-button controller, touchscreen operation when parked), two USB ports, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, media player interface and HD radio. There are no factory options beyond paint color and transmission.



trim tested

The ratings in this review are based on our full test of a 2016 Scion iA (1.5L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current iA has been renamed the Toyota Yaris iA, but is fundamentally the same car with no significant changes. Our findings remain applicable to this year's Yaris iA.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.5 / 5.0

Driving

3.0 / 5.0

Acceleration3.0 / 5.0
Braking3.0 / 5.0
Handling3.0 / 5.0
Drivability3.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality4.0 / 5.0

Driving

edmunds rating
Like most subcompacts, there's little emphasis on performance in the Yaris iA. Its Mazda roots offer decent performance, though the Yaris' acceleration is a touch slower than the best in the segment.

Acceleration

edmunds rating
Keep your expectations realistic and plan ahead since there's never a lot of thrust available. Sport mode livens up responses. In our testing, the iA accelerated to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds with the manual transmission. The automatic-transmission version is slower still.

Braking

edmunds rating
The brakes are predictable and easily modulated around town. Emergency braking performance is average.

Handling

edmunds rating
You can have some fun behind the wheel despite the relatively low grip limits of the tires.

Drivability

edmunds rating
Other than being fairly slow (which requires planning), the Yaris iA exhibits few flaws. It follows rain grooves, sometimes aggressively, on the freeway and isn't as stable as some competitors.

Comfort

edmunds rating
Ride comfort is average. The front seats are very supportive and comfortable, even on long-distance drives.

Seat comfort

edmunds rating
The firm but supportive seats with good adjustability provide all you need on multi-hour trips.

Ride comfort

edmunds rating
The Yaris iA's ride is taut. You'll feel sharp bumps, but the car is controlled overall.

Noise & vibration

edmunds rating
One of our two test cars exhibited a wind whistle in the driver's window area, even at low speed. Levels of road and tire noise are no worse than in most subcompacts, however.

Interior

edmunds rating
Overall, the iA's interior is a win. The stitched leather-look material on the dash and the doors is a clear step up from the segment standard. The basic but effective climate controls are easy to reach. The seat material is excellent. But some trim pieces still look and feel cheap.

Ease of use

edmunds rating
Though its main controller and volume knob aren't as well placed as they could be, the infotainment system is easy to use. Steering wheel controls allow easy access to high-priority switches.

Getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The center roof pillar can interfere with the driver's seat if the seat is positioned rearward for a tall driver. The front doors are large and open quite wide, though. The rear door openings are small, and the doors don't open wide enough for large passengers.

Roominess

edmunds rating
Front seat space is ample. There's good headroom and elbow room, though there's no center armrest. The rear seats lack legroom and feel confining for tall occupants. A low roofline impedes headroom.

Visibility

edmunds rating
The view forward is OK despite heavily sloped front roof pillars. The rear pillars are large and inhibit views over your shoulder. The tall rear decklid limits rear visibility as well.

Quality

edmunds rating
A mix of better than segment-standard materials and hard, cheap plastics make up the Yaris iA's interior. Very good seat material and solid secondary controls give the iA a quality feel.

Utility

edmunds rating
The 13.5-cubic-foot trunk is average for the segment. The folding split rear seats improve cargo space, but they don't fold flat, which hurts utility. No center console. Marginal small-item storage.

Technology

The iA features Mazda's tech interface — a dash-top screen (touch-sensitive when the car is stopped) and a center console button-and-knob controller. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available, but every iA comes with standard forward collision warning and automatic braking.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.