Toyota Yaris: a Big Review for a Small Car

Toyota Yaris: a Big Review for a Small Car

You may have heard the expression “big things come in small packages,” meaning the size of a person, place, or object doesn’t always determine its value. That’s exactly how to describe the Toyota Yaris best. 

While it may be a compact car, at heart, the Yaris strives to be so much more, and it delivers. It’s a car that’s full of surprises, in an excellent way, from its speediness to its cargo capacity.

In this article, we’ll go into detail about this loveable auto to help you decide if the Yaris is the vehicle for you, highlighting availability, performance, capacity, interior features, safety, and price. One thing is for sure: With this small yet powerful car, you can expect the unexpected.

Can I still buy a Toyota Yaris?

Unfortunately, Toyota discontinued the Yaris in the US after the 2020 model year brought significant updates to the subcompact. However, you can still get your hands on a used model. When shopping for a used Yaris, it’s important to note that Toyota used the Yaris nameplate on two different vehicles. One of those is the Yaris Liftback, which Toyota manufactured from 2007 to 2019. You may be able to find an older model of the Liftback under the name Echo as well.

The other Yaris is a sedan that went through multiple name changes, starting as the Scion iA in 2016, then the Yaris iA in 2017 and 2018, and finally the Yaris in 2019. In 2020 Toyota reintroduced the Yaris as a hatchback, but it’s unrelated to Yaris Liftback. To add to the naming confusion, Toyota used rebadged Mazda2s for these models. While the Mazda2 isn’t sold in the US currently, you can still find them used.

Both are quality vehicles, but it may feel as though the Mazda-built Yaris is a gradual step up. The difference is comparable to entering a higher trim level of the same vehicle. Unless you’ve driven both, you may not notice.

How does the Toyota Yaris perform?

The Yaris offers the renowned reliability of a Toyota in combination with an entertaining driving experience. While you won’t be winning any drag races due to its slower acceleration, the Yaris is quick once it’s up to speed. Its excellent handling and smaller size make the Yaris easy to maneuver, and its bulldog-like stance is quite fitting, given the little car’s tenacity and strength.

Under the hood of the Yaris is a lean 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. While it was standard for the Yaris to come with a manual transmission, Yarises with automatic transmissions are also available. If you go with a manual, you can expect the Yaris to deliver fuel efficiency of 30 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. If going with an automatic, you’ll receive a slightly increased fuel efficiency of 32 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. Additionally, the Yaris only comes in front-wheel drive, so you likely won’t do any off-roading in it, but it’s a beauty for city driving and comfortable for longer drives.

How much capacity does the Toyota Yaris offer?

With seating for up to five, the Yaris is surprisingly spacious for both people and cargo. It offers 38.2 inches of headroom in the front with 41.9 inches of legroom as a driver. Your tall friends may need to ride shotgun as the Yaris provides a lesser 36.8 inches of headroom in the back with 34.4 inches of legroom.

The Yaris sedan fits 13.5 cubic feet of space in its trunk, while the hatchback offers 15.8 cubic feet for cargo. The back seats also fold forward, which makes fitting oversized packages in the vehicle a cinch.

2012 Toyota Yaris (from $8,950)

2012 Toyota Yaris (from $8,950)
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2012 Toyota Yaris (from $8,950)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Yaris

How is the Toyota Yaris’s interior?

Since Mazda manufactured the latest Yaris models, the subcompact is essentially a Toyota-Mazda hybrid. You’ll notice design elements of both brands blended into one both inside and out. The stylish interior of the Yaris is clean and minimal, much like the ones you’d find in a Mazda. Cloth seats came standard in the Yaris, but you can find models with synthetic leather upholstery. In the second trim level, XLE, you can also find a leather-wrapped steering wheel and automatic climate control.

The Yaris comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a six-speaker speaker sound system, and two USB ports. The system integrates with Apple and Android smartphones, enabling music streaming, calling and messaging, and navigation capabilities. Additionally, you can find some models that offer a keyless driving experience with a smart key lock and push-button starter. Of course, you will need to have your key fob on you, but it can stay in your pocket. 

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What is the Toyota Yaris safety rating?

Both the 2020 hatchback and sedan models of the Yaris received five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. Neither car was a top safety pick for the Insurance Institute Highway Safety, but both organizations rated the car “good” for all criteria in crashworthiness. Because of the variety of Yarises out there, it’s best to do some safety research on specific models when shopping around.

The Yaris comes standard with basic safety and driver-assistive tech, including a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and automatic braking. Designed to keep your eyes on the road, the touchscreen is placed conveniently high on the dash for easier sight and reach.

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What is the price of a Toyota Yaris?

Used Yarises go for as little as $9,500. But if it's compact size and affordable pricing you're after, also worth considering are competitors like the Honda Fit, the Kia Rio, the Nissan Versa, the Versa Note, and the Mazda2. The Honda Fit, also discontinued, has a notably versatile interior that offers drivers a whopping 52.7 cubic feet in cargo space. The Rio offers a surprising amount of sophistication for a car in its price range. Comfort and safety are also the focus of the Nissan Versa, while its sibling, the Versa Note, which Nissan also ultimately discontinued, excels in passenger and cargo space.

2014 Toyota Yaris SE (from $13,250)

2014 Toyota Yaris SE (from $13,250)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Yaris
2014 Toyota Yaris SE (from $13,250)
30-Day warranty
Free 7-day return
Free 7-day trial return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Yaris

The choice is Yaris to make

This article alone mentions three discontinued subcompact cars (not including the Mazda2 and Echo). However, Americans have recently seen the Chevy Sonic and Ford Fiesta pulled from production. Their decline in popularity is a side effect of the growing popularity of crossover SUVs and doesn’t speak to the quality of these vehicles. A variety of subcompact cars are still in production, such as the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Hyundai Accent.

If you’re in the market for a subcompact car, the Yaris is worth checking out. If it’s Toyota you love, you can also read about the Toyota RAV4 or Toyota 4Runner.

No matter what make and model you decide to call yours, Shift offers best-in-class service contracts at a fair price without having to step foot into a dealership. You get the price and value of a used car with the bumper-to-bumper protection of a new car. 

Take one out for a test drive today by booking a test drive at home or your nearest shift location. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team