2017 Toyota Yaris

2017 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Review

The 2017 Toyota Yaris is a fine subcompact, but a few deficiencies keep it from being best in class.
3 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Buying a 2017 Toyota Yaris could be a smart move if you're looking for a vehicle with easy-to-park dimensions and a very affordable price. This is Toyota's entry-level car, and it will certainly meet your needs if size and price are all you're after. But the Yaris doesn't offer much more than that, making it difficult to recommend in light of rivals with more of an upscale presence.

We do like the Yaris' standard features, which include a touchscreen with a user-friendly tech interface, lane departure warning, and a system that can detect if a forward crash is imminent and automatically apply the brakes if the driver doesn't take suitable action. Those last two features are new additions for the 2017 model. But the Yaris is not as practical or up-to-date as its rivals. Its 106-horsepower engine isn't as powerful as the engines of most competitors, and its four-speed automatic transmission is an automotive relic. (Most subcompacts have a six-speed transmission for better fuel economy.) Cabin materials also look a little low-rent in contrast to the high-quality trim in the Honda Fit. The Yaris is a decent subcompact, but you'll find better choices in the class if you want something more than basic transportation.



what's new

Standard on all 2017 Yaris models is Toyota's new Safety Sense suite of safety features. It includes automatic high-beam control, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.

we recommend

As enticing as the base Yaris L's price tag is, it's worth spending a little more for the better-equipped LE. If it were our money, we'd order the SE. It's not much pricier than the LE and adds enhanced safety equipment (bigger tires and better brakes and headlights) in addition to nicer upholstery and the leather-trimmed shifter and steering wheel. Plus, the larger wheels give the Yaris an air of sportiness that the standard version lacks.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Toyota Yaris is a subcompact two- or four-door hatchback that slots below the Corolla as Toyota's smallest, least expensive car. The Yaris L and LE are offered with two or four doors, while the SE trim is offered only as a four-door. The two-door L and four-door SE are offered with a five-speed manual transmission, while a totally antiquated four-speed automatic is optional on those trims and standard on everything else. A 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine (106 horsepower, 103 pound-feet of torque) is standard across all trims and body styles.

Standard features on the L includes 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights and high-beam control, power door locks and windows, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio and a USB port. Lane departure warning and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking are also standard.

The LE adds or substitutes 15-inch alloy wheels, power side mirrors, remote locking and unlocking, cruise control, enhanced interior trim and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.

For a more premium Yaris, go with the SE trim. You'll get 16-inch alloy wheels, projector-beam headlights, LED running lights, foglights, special exterior styling elements, four-wheel disc brakes, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and upgraded cloth upholstery.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Toyota Yaris SE Four-Door Hatchback (1.5L 4-cyl.; 5-speed manual).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.0 / 5.0

Driving

3.5 / 5.0

Acceleration2.5 / 5.0
Braking3.5 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling4.0 / 5.0
Drivability4.0 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort2.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0
Quality2.5 / 5.0

Utility

2.0 / 5.0

Cargo space2.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
Although the Toyota Yaris may not deliver class-leading driving engagement, it doesn't disappoint, either, and is indeed competent. Note that this rating applies to the five-speed manual. The four-speed automatic hampers acceleration and drivability, and we don't recommend it.

acceleration

edmunds rating
The 1.5-liter inline-four's 106 hp is quite low for the segment, yet its 0-60 mph time of 9.5 seconds (with the manual transmission) is close to average. That said, the engine's lack of guts makes it feel slower than rivals out on the road.

braking

edmunds rating
The Yaris needed 123 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is average for subcompact cars. However, its stopping distances were more consistent than those of most rivals, showing a resistance to fade that is rare for the segment.

steering

edmunds rating
The steering is responsive, direct and precise. It's still not as good as the spot-on feedback and effort provided by the Ford Fiesta, but it has elevated itself above mere appliance expectations.

handling

edmunds rating
Above and beyond the Yaris' inherent nimbleness of its diminutive dimensions and light weight, its excellent steering and reasonable grip make it a confident and adept handler.

drivability

edmunds rating
The five-speed manual transmission features a light effort with easy-to-find gears and an intuitive clutch takeup. This is a much better choice than the outdated, optional four-speed automatic that is ill-suited to the modestly powered engine.

comfort

edmunds rating
As an urban runabout, the Toyota Yaris is acceptable. But if frequent highway travel is in the cards, the uncomfortable seats and ride quality become liabilities.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Several Edmunds drivers found it difficult to get comfortable in the Yaris' driver seat, particularly on long drives. The non-telescoping steering wheel causes tall drivers to hunch over. The Yaris also lacks a center armrest.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The Yaris lacks the suppleness provided by the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit, and that's why it is a less agreeable choice for highway driving.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
The Yaris is a subcompact, so there is considerable wind, road and engine noise. But the amount of noise is about what's typical for the segment.

interior

edmunds rating
The Yaris' interior build quality and generally unappealing interior design are its primary detriments. We don't expect Lexus-like materials in this price class, but the Yaris is particularly melancholy. Passenger space and interior controls are acceptable, and the cabin is reasonably roomy.

ease of use

edmunds rating
The Entune touchscreen interface works reasonably well, though some of its icons are difficult to press. The climate controls couldn't be simpler.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
Big front doors, a tallish roof and a relatively high hip point make getting into the Yaris easy. Rear doors are decently sized as well, and relatively generous legroom means you shouldn't have to squeeze yourself in.

roominess

edmunds rating
Backseat headroom is restricted by the sloping headliner that meets the hatchback, but rear legroom is above average. Two adults should fit quite comfortably. The driver seat adjusts sufficiently even for tall drivers.

visibility

edmunds rating
There's excellent forward visibility thanks to the expansive windshield and tall front side windows. Big rear head restraints and chunky rear quarter pillars impede rearward vision. Unlike in most competitors, there's no rearview camera available.

quality

edmunds rating
The Yaris' cabin is a rather dreary place with plastic bits seemingly everywhere. Most competitors provide a more premium look and feel for similar money.

utility

edmunds rating
Cargo space isn't exactly abundant in the subcompact hatch class, but even the Yaris stumbles. Most competitors offer more cubic feet, and even the Ford Fiesta (which has less space on paper) is more useful because the tall rear seatbacks are more effective at concealing luggage.

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.