On the heels of just finishing a week in the Prius c hybrid, the Yaris arrived to give us a taste of what driving is like without the addition of electric motors and upgraded electronics.
At the bottom of Toyota’s price chain, the Yaris is not a bare-bones car by any means.
The outside is cute and full of character. If you love animals (and who doesn’t), we think you’ll have an affinity for the Yaris’ design. The hatchback design is functional and allowed us to squeeze in all of our belongings in a cinch.
Inside, the gray and black interior could use some color and additional materials options. The SE trim level offers contrasting stitching and more excitement.
The 6.1-inch touch-screen display worked well and allowed us to stream audio over Bluetooth seamlessly. Bluetooth calling worked well too, albeit highway road noise generated too much background noise for the caller on the other end.
The ride was smooth over the many miles of highway-covered driving back from Manhattan, doing a fine job of soaking up potholes and expansion joints.
Front seats were not as comfortable as the ones in the Prius c, requiring frequent stops to get out and stretch. The rear seat is usable with plenty of headroom, and the cargo area is well-shaped with a large opening. The rear seat backs are split 60/40 and fold flat.
The 1.5L engine is teamed up to a 4-speed automatic transmission to produce 106 horsepower. It brought back childhood memories of fewer geared transmissions, a good thing; its hard to find too much fault with it. It works in the Yaris, and other than improving fuel economy, we can’t see any reason for Toyota to upgrade the reliable and smooth transmission.
Hitting the streets of Manhattan, the Yaris had plenty of pep and moved us around and along streets and highways with ease. Highway passing power was plentiful with two people on-board, but downshifting from fourth to second gear creates quite the ruckus.
We averaged an impressive 36.5 MPG overall.
In a class where price dominates, the Yaris is competitive. It falls right in line with the Ford Fiesta, Nissan Versa Note and Chevy Sonic Hatchback, and averages about $4,000 less than the comparably-sized Prius c hybrid. The Toyota Yaris is the perfect car for those with a mild commute, seeking excellent reliability.