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 bkw on Monday, October 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this 2012 L 5 dr hatch used when a woman running a light "customized" our minivan. Had 6,800 miles; was not a rental so it had Toyota's full warranty. PROS: Small yet large inside, can carry an amazing cargo inside with the rear seat folded, interior has light grey accents which kills the omnipresent funereal black of most cars, turns on a 31-foot dime, corners like a roller skate, is so homely it's cute, (makes my wife want to knit a sweater for it). Have averaged 37.4 mpg over 16,100 miles over 17 months ownership. CONS: Minor, really. Wish it had cruise and pw, but did add aftermarket centre armrest and heated seats (installed by a local shop) RECOMMEND? I make no recommendations to anyone on any product. I just let them look and decide if it meets their needs. I thought about upgrading to a 2015 with cruise and pw, but the front end of the '15 appears to have the bucket of a Melroe Bobcat welded onto it. Too much sake, Toyota stylists?"
12 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By ahmie on Tuesday, September 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "no built-in litter holder"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"i like this car. My only complaint is that I wish Toyota made a lighter color interior. Am only able to get it in black and it absorbs too much heat during warm months."
18 people out of 33 found this review helpful
By Phyllis on Saturday, August 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,150overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Cons: "None, really"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I'm 88 years old and I can't really drive safely anymore. It's been my cute little sports car. My last hurrah. $17,000 new The car is perky and looking at it makes me smile It's never been in an accident It's never broken down It's been living in a garage for most of it's life and it's spent most of it's life in Monroe Township. It hasn't been driven much in the past year, when it's been 'living' in Woodland Park."
11 people out of 18 found this review helpful