Toyota Yaris: A Good Thing in a Small Package

It’s a great ride in town, but not much fun for long drives

Toyota Yaris

Model years: 2017–2019

Vehicle layout: Subcompact 4-door sedan, 1.5- liter inline 4 (106 hp), 6-speed automatic, FWD 

MSRP: $16,370 (base), $20,000 (well equipped)  

MPG, city/hwy/combined: 32/40/35 

Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall. IIHS: good (all ratings except headlights) 

Basic warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles 

Spare tire: Temporary spare 

Final assembly: Mexico 

The 2018 Yaris iA gets a name change for 2019: the Yaris sedan, which distinguishes it from the Yaris hatchback, a different vehicle altogether. Previously, it was available only in one trim level, but that now expands to three: the L, LE, and XLE. But its drivetrain carries over essentially unchanged.

The Yaris sedan isn’t made by Toyota at all—it’s a Mazda2 (which isn’t sold in the U.S.) with different badging and sheet metal. And its Mazda DNA is a
 good thing for a couple of reasons, the first of which is the interior. Its clean, classy lines and (relatively) upscale materials bump it to the top of the subcompact class (squint and you might think you’re in a mini Mazda3). The Yaris’ exterior, though, is pretty nondescript. 

The second genetic benefit is the Yaris’ superb handling. Steering is quick and precise, with decent feedback. The ride, though on the firm side, is relatively comfortable for short stretches, and body lean through corners is subdued. 

The Yaris sedan also gets terrific fuel economy (up to 35 mpg combined), has a tight turning circle, is easy to park, and has a standard low-speed automatic emergency braking system. The engine and transmission are smooth, but road noise is intrusive above 45 mph. The trunk is decently sized for a small car; adults will be happy in the backseat only for short trips, however. 

The Yaris sedan’s biggest drawback, unfortunately, can’t be ameliorated: It’s a subcompact car, which means that although it’s a great ride in town, it’s not much fun for long drives. It lacks the gravitas and solid feel of even a compact car. But if that’s not a problem, the Yaris sedan is definitely worth a look. 

Photos courtesy of Toyota

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