By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.1
The 2014 Yaris is Toyota's least-expensive car. That in itself may be a strong enough proposition for buyers simply seeking cheap, basic, reliable transportation. And in those respects the Yaris continues to succeed. But newer, more exciting and better-equipped subcompact hatchback competitors abound. Rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic, Nissan Versa Note, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio offer powertrains that are more powerful and/or more fuel-efficient, in addition to creature comforts such as heated seats and navigation that are not available on the Yaris. The Yaris is adequate for those who just want a basic, no-hassle car with Toyota's reputation for quality and good resale value. But even in this price-sensitive segment, more appealing cars are fighting for your consideration.
If you're looking for a small and fuel-efficient car, the Toyota Yaris hatchback definitely meets those criteria. And in addition to its budget-friendly starting price of around $15,000, the Yaris holds its value well over the years.
The Yaris isn't exactly a looker, nor is it known for smile-inducing driving manners. The Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Chevy Sonic are more expressive, while the Honda Fit and Mazda2 feel more agile for drivers who like to take corners with gusto to enliven a commute.
Daytime running lights are now standard on all Yaris models. Other than that, Toyota's small hatchback, available with three doors or five, remains the same for 2014.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Yaris offers few surprises behind the wheel. With 106 horsepower, its small 4-cylinder engine is acceptably strong under moderate acceleration around town but feels strained when more is...asked of it or when the cabin is full of passengers. The automatic transmission is a dated 4-speed, but it's eager to downshift when more power is required. The 5-speed manual transmission feels rubbery and isn't very pleasing to operate, unlike the crisp-shifting manual in the Honda Fit and Chevy Sonic. Top-line SE models offer slightly better dynamics thanks to a sport-tuned transmission and electric power steering. At up to 37 mpg for manual transmission models, fuel economy is a strong point but can't match the 40 mpg of the Versa Note with a continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT). Competitors such as the Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent use more powerful and sophisticated direct-injection engines and 6-speed automatic transmissions for a similar price.
Now standard on every Yaris, this system makes it far safer to drive and talk on the phone, lessening the risk of distracted driving.
The Yaris' bevy of airbags complements Toyota's Star Safety system, which includes stability and traction control, antilock brakes, and Smart Stop Technology, which cuts engine power should the brake and accelerator pedals be pressed simultaneously.
We give the 2014 Yaris points for the cabin's clean layout and easy-to-operate controls, but that's about where the praise ends. Materials are muted in color, hard to the touch and low-budget in general. On base models the fabric driver's seat doesn't have a height adjustment, and none of the models come with a steering wheel that telescopes, making it harder for drivers to find a perfect fit. The 5-passenger hatchback is roomy up front, though legroom is expectedly tight in back. The cargo hold behind the folding rear seat boasts over 15 cubic feet of storage space.Exterior
The Yaris is available as a 3-door or 5-door hatchback, but any illusion to the 3-door variant being shorter is purely optical. Both come in at just 153.5 inches in length, making the Yaris a nugget of a car that can easily be parked anywhere. This compact hauler features a forward-leaning, squat stance that reminds us of a bulldog. Short front and rear overhangs and a small hood also aid overall maneuverability, and the Yaris' expansive greenhouse offers excellent visibility. Top-line SE models have integrated fog lights and fancier 16-inch alloy wheels in place of the 15-inch steel wheels with plastic covers used on lower trims.
Just five variants of the Yaris exist between the its two body styles, with 3-door models available as L (the base model) or LE, and 5-door versions offered in those two trims along with the sportier SE. At the least-expensive end on the L models, you'll be cranking your own windows, but can at least enjoy air conditioning and the 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/Satellite audio unit with HD Radio, auxiliary inputs and Bluetooth streaming. LE models add driver seat-height adjustment, cruise control, and remote keyless entry. In addition to enhanced suspension, SE models have 4-wheel disc brakes and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift lever. Every new Yaris comes with ToyotaCare complimentary scheduled maintenance and roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles.
With some cars, you can spend thousands on options. The Yaris isn't one of them. In fact, extras on Toyota's least-expensive new car are relegated to accessories such as a rear spoiler, side moldings, mudguards and an interior cargo net.
The 2014 Yaris uses a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) that sends up to 106 horsepower to the front wheels. Again, this power is fine for city streets, but it can feel marginal when you're trying to pass on a 2-lane highway. Transmission choices are a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic, which are functional enough but not very cutting-edge alongside the 6-speed and CVT automatics offered by others in the class. The Yaris' fuel economy remains commendable, though, and its small engine only requires regular-grade gasoline.
106 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
103 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/37 mpg (manual), 30/36 mpg (automatic)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a base 2014 Toyota Yaris 3-door L hatchback with a manual transmission starts just over $15,000, while a 5-door SE reaches just over $17,000. The Yaris' starting price is low, but it's not the lowest out there. Base versions of the Nissan Versa Note and Kia Rio 5-door undercut the Yaris by several hundred dollars, while hatchback versions of the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic come in slightly higher. The Honda Fit, meanwhile, starts just north of $16,000. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Yaris. Down the road, Toyota's hatchback is expected to hold its value well, but not quite as well as the Honda Fit.
By se owner (IL) on Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliable,sporty,comfortable interior,fun to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought a used 2007 for fuel economy.. never had owned a hatchback or a compact for that matter ..my wife and I loved it so much we decided to give our daughter the 2007 and we bought a 2014 SE for everyday commute.. Great gas mileage and very comfortable and reliable ..did I mention the 2007 has 120000 miles and literally drives like New.. if you want horsepower it is not the car for you.. I have a 2013 dodge challenger rt with a HEMI v8 for horsepower.. but if I was to choose i would keep the yaris..At 40mpg it's a no brainer! and there is no new car that is inexpensive every new car is expensive!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By bob (FL) on Wednesday, October 02, 2013
I don't own this caroverall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Fuel economy and handling is good. Acceleration is sometimes sluggish. Road noise is unbearable, especially on freeway. Visibility is limited due to headrests. Prior to renting, I had entertained the purchase of a Yaris, but would will not as result of rental experience. I have a 2006 Corolla and 1996 Camry (235,000+). Both put the Yaris to shame and road noise is at least 75% less."
By Chaela (VA) on Wednesday, October 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,400overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, Great gas mileage, fun to drive"
Cons: "No middle arm rests, does not accelerate well."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Great vehicle for a young person. I was 17 years old when i decided I wanted my Toyota Yaris. Not thinking it through, I got the basic model without power windows or locks (Stupid decision on my part, I know). However, after having the car for a year.. I have found that there is GREAT gas mileage, for a full tank where I am it is only $30 to fill the tank and lasts me a good two weeks. The car literally drives - and rides like a go cart. Which is great and fun, but now that I am older, and driving longer distances I have found that the car is VERY uncomfortable for long drives. Like I said, this is a wonderful, affordable car for teenagers and younger people, but if you are looking for a luxury vehicle this is not it. I am looking at trading in the vehicle now for an upgrade.. I have issues with large trucks and 18 wheelers coming over into my lane on top of me -whether that be bad luck or not, it hasn't happened as often as it does when I drive the Yaris. Also, when I am trying to accelerate onto the nterstate it is VERY hard to get the car up to speed in a short acceleration lane. BEWARE and be ready to have to break and/or swerve when you can't accelerate and people won't let you over. BUT It has been a great, very reliable, cheap little car."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Alex (NC) on Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Too many to list"
Cons: "No armrest, easily fixed with leather pillow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I rented many vehicles from Enterprise and Hertz to "live with" all the models I was considering (and to see how they had held-up with all the different crazy drivers they see), and the Yaris' were always "tight and right" regardless of how many rental-car thrashing miles were on them...except one particular Yaris (I rented 3 different Yaris' once I narrowed my search down) that had been wrecked and had a very worn tire that roared on the highway. But it still drove pretty good considering what it had been through and they were still renting it out. This is not a high volume seller for Toyota because of the Corolla and Prius C being priced slightly higher than the Yaris. That is a shame, for it might possibly be one of their best built cars. I love the fact that it has the bullet-proof 1.5L engine and old-tech transmission that have been around for "many" years with used one's out there in the 300+ thousand- mile range with very little (if any) problems. Plenty of space for larger people, great legroom in back. Trunk space kinda small with rear seats up, but fold them down?....and you get a "lot" of room back there (enough for two people to go to the beach for a week or camping for a week). Rides great, gas mileage is great, it is pretty quiet on the road (never understood how the Car Magazines said it is noisy....try a Rio5 when it is cold...sounds like a blender grating ice. That worried me when the Rio5 salesman said "That is Gas Direct Injection Technology, it quiets down once it warms up" I did not like that at all. And many small cars are going to that Gas Direct Injection...except the Yaris..."yay"). The old-tech transmission on the Yaris is a smooth, very simple automatic transmission that does not need 5th or 6th gearing. It is a road cruiser! It keeps up with and passes traffic plenty-fine...quite peppy once broken-in correctly! The simplicity of the car is what attracted me compared to Rio5, Accent, Fiesta, Fiat, Versa and Fit. Did not try the Mazda2 due to past experience with that company. The Yaris' just felt better built than those others and too many features eventually break after time and are not cheap to fix. The only thing I do not like is that the dash and door panels can mark-up easily (have to keep a microfiber towel around) and the bluetooth has cut-out on me once in a while...probably the fault of my flip phone and no tachometer except on the SE Model. But I do enjoy this car. Sure, I could have bought something more exciting, but the Yaris is fun, simple, comfortable and the "VERY Simple Maintenance" requirements make it a great value as well. It does not pretend to be something it is not. I got it for a very fair price...some dealers are willing to deal. It has the features you truly only need (power everything, remote, tilt, a/c, cruise, great stereo, bluetooth)and nothing more. It is worth a look."
14 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By HappyYarisOwner on Saturday, May 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fuel Efficient...Fun to Drive!"
Cons: "None to Speak Of. Love This Car!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car really satisfies! Toyota is known for its Reliability and the Yaris is no exception. This car is going to be there every single time you need it. Another plus for the Yaris is the Simplicity. It's interior is designed to provide everything you need but no extra clutter and frills. Excellent stereo, built in Bluetooth for streaming Pandora or what have you, adequate cup holders etc. Everything you need and nothing you don't. What is most lovebale? The Yaris' Fuel Efficiency. This car "sips" gas. I average at least 41 MPG. I LOVE IT...I am absolutely in love with this car."
14 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Jay Peterson (NC) on Monday, May 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 900overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome MPG's - Roomy - Comfortable - FUN"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Never in my life have I been so excited about a new car purchase as I have been with this car. I have driven MANY cars in the past 30-35 years, but this one is just fantastic. Maybe it's my age (52) and the idea of simplifying transportation from Point A to Point B...Regardless, this 2013 Yaris L is a keeper. This is my first Toyota, should have bought one years ago. Even being the base model, it has more than enough goodies for me. Air Conditioning, Power Locks, Tilt Wheel, 6 Speaker Stereo System with a CD player & iPod capability, awesome sound. Gas mileage is excellent, the MPG ratings on the Yaris are VERY conservative. I can drive a month on a 10.5 gallon tank of gas, now THAT is fun. Controls are easy to use, you sit high in the seats and they are extremely comfortable and supportive. Engine compartment is very roomy & this car will be easy to work on (oil changes, belts, etc.) in the years to come. Back seat area is huge if you ask me, the whole interior is a perfect personal space. It is a blast to drive, very responsive throttle and the 4 speed auto shifts flawlessly. Loads of storage & safety features, too. Air blows COLD, the switches work with precision (lights, locks, fan speed) brakes are tight and do not fade, it is a pleasure to drive. Love the dashboard and the interior trim is sturdy and pleasing. If you are tired of $300.00 plus monthly gas charges - Test drive the Yaris - It's a 2,300 pound go-kart with air conditioning that will make you feel like a kid again!"
12 people out of 14 found this review helpful