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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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 the Yaris
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.
BLUETOOTH Now standard on every Yaris, this system makes it far safer to drive and talk on the phone, lessening the risk of distracted driving.
NINE AIRBAGS 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.
2014 Toyota Yaris Details
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.
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.
Under the Hood
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.
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.
Pros: "great price, zero maintenance, great mileage"
Cons: "not comfortable for very long drives"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"A true value for money. The sedan is a gem, no more being manufactured (possibly due to its great value!). Very drive-able even in snow conditions of CT and IL. Good mileage and zero maintenance. Do not expect the comfort and style of a premium car though."
"In 2012, I purchased my 2007 Yaris 2-door hatchback as a daily commuter. It had 89K miles on it; now it has 130K miles. The car makes on average (mostly highway miles) 30mpg. I am an aggressive driver; this little things gets to 80 mpg amazingly fast for its HP and curve weight! Its interior is ordinary, but comfortable for long trips. The car gets regular oil changes and I've changed the set of tires once in the two and a half years that I've owned it. I am planning on keeping it till it falls apart."
Pros: "Great gas mileage, sits up high for shorter driver"
Cons: "works hard to high speed"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I traded in a Honda Civic for a used 2012 Toyota Yaris. The reason I traded the Honda was after driving it, I thought I needed rehab on my hips! Not a comfortable car at.all. In comparison, my little Yaris is awesome in the comfort category. I'm 5'1 and I sit very high up in the Yaris - probably the #1 reason I bought it as this is hard to find in an affordable car. Next, the gas mileage is AWESOME! Its interior is ordinary but fine. Plenty of room - I had a 6'4" friend in the passenger seat and he said it was comfortable. The only thing I wish is that it had more pickup to get onto the highway - it works hard to get to 60 mph...but once there, it keeps up with the best of them. Cute, safe, and maintenance free. It's a keeper!"