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 revlvr on Sunday, January 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,650overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "TPS, nine airbags, stability control, gas mileage"
Cons: "manual windows, spaciousness, body style/design"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I give the 2012 Toyota Yaris 5dr Liftback Auto LE model an overall 6/10 rating. I have yet to have any major mechanical issues with this model or my previous 2007 Toyota Yaris Base 4dr Sedan model, which had 130,000 miles on it before I traded it in for this 2012 model. My main reason for staying with the Toyota Yaris was due to the excellent gas mileage, low maintenance costs, and superb maneuverability and drivability benefits. Unfortunately, when it comes down to comfort and overall value of what you're getting, there is much to be desired in comparison to the 2007 Toyota Yaris. This 2012 model has had a complete body style transformation. Personally, I'm not a fan of the missing arm rest, bizarre hatchback body style (which basically has the visual appeal of a miniaturized mini-van), the still prevalent manual windows, the exact same laggy engine, and the small viewing window reversal which now sits in the front window area instead of the rear. With the small viewing window being positioned up front now, it makes it easier for potential thieves to bust out that window and have direct access to the interior automatic door locks. In the 2007 Yaris, the viewing window being in the back was genius because the sideways styled locks could not be accessed easily by a thief. On the other hand, the bonuses of the 2012 model versus the 2007 model are the TPS (tire pressure sensor) detection, cruise control, automatic door locks (only from the inside of the vehicle), nine airbags (yes, you read that right), stability control, actual gas gauge meter (goodbye silly battery style gas meter that the 2007 model bore), and mostly black interior which used to be only for the sportier SE models. Overall, this model is just as gas efficient and easy to drive as its fore sisters, is safer (as far as airbags are concerned), and has some useful additional features that its predecessor didn't offer. It may not be the prettiest or sportiest or most spacious compact sedan out there, but at the end of the day, "it's a car!""
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Eevee on Tuesday, January 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Affordable, Fun to drive, Gas Mileage, Comforatble"
Cons: "No center console"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"When I bought this car I was an inexperienced driver, but when I drove it home I was incredulous at the ease of driving the car. It handles like a dream but it not overly sensitive nor dull. It is comfortable to drive and extremely agile. Most importantly it was affordable, but came with all the features I want. I recommend this car to young drivers who are still getting comfortable driving and to people who want an affordable, agile, and comfortable ride."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Falconrocks on Sunday, December 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "trunk, gas mileage, turn radius, responsive"
Cons: "no armrest"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"No lie, when I first got it, I was like, what have I done?! After a few days with it, I don't think I'm ever getting rid of it. I love the spacious cabin; it's huge. Bluetooth comes standard, fun to drive, and it looks pretty good too. I had it for a week and people were giving me compliments. I love that it's small but still drives like a predator. Parking is a breeze, particularly parallel parking and even tight spots are no problem. Trunk plus drop down seats, there isn't anything my car can't haul. My car can get around anything and everything. K-Turns? This car doesn't know what that is. The turn radius is ridiculous! Usually, it's a two-point turn even on a tiny street! During Hurricane Sandy, there were cars lined up behind downed trees and small spaces. I had no problem getting through and, not to mention, gas on this guy, I'll go three to four weeks without filling up and when I do, it's no more than $40. Negatives, no armrest, but I easily purchased a universal one and you'd never be able to tell it didn't come with it. I could go on forever on the topic to why I love this car. I'm having fun customizing it and really making it my own. Even when I do get a new car, I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep Trooper around."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By se owner 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!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By bob 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 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."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful