By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.2
In the subcompact category, Toyota's Yaris had fallen behind newer, edgier competitors such as the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta and Mazda Mazda2, so Toyota completely revamped the car last year. The 2013 Toyota Yaris hatchback pursues younger buyers with its suite of high-tech audio and communications features, attractive styling and the well-established Toyota reputation for reliability and resale value. But the Yaris' mission isn't an easy one. Though roomier and more stylish than its predecessor, the Yaris' looks and performance don't make a huge splash in this competitive category. Newcomers such as the sleek Kia Rio, sassy Hyundai Accent and bold Chevrolet Sonic make the Toyota Yaris look pretty conservative – maybe not the best thing for this audience.
If you're looking for a small, economical car that is fun to drive, affordable on just about any budget, and is backed by one of the most respected car manufacturers in the world, the 2013 Toyota Yaris hatchback may be it.
If you need your car to be expressive both inside and out, the 2013 Toyota Yaris' black and gray interior schemes don't match the colorful cabins found in the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Chevy Sonic.
Last year, Toyota gave the Yaris hatchback a complete makeover. The only changes for 2013 involve equipment packaging: The good audio system (AM/FM/CD, six speakers, USB port, Bluetooth) is now standard on all trims including the base L, and cruise control, formerly an LE option, is now standard there.
Driving Impressions Driving the 2013 Toyota Yaris hatchback offers few surprises. The 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is rated at 106 horsepower. It feels smooth and acceptably strong under moderate acceleration around town, but...can seem strained if more is asked of it. The automatic transmission is only a 4-speed. Steering is light and suspension action nicely compliant. The top, slightly sportier SE trim has firmer suspension and sharper steering response but the same engine output. Fuel economy is in the mid-to-high 30s, which is certainly competitive in its class. But there is no denying the Yaris is built down to a price and this shows in its powertrain. For about the same money, a Hyundai Accent offers a more advanced direct-injection 1.6 that makes a whopping (relatively) 138 horsepower and still tops the Yaris in EPA city/highway fuel economy, 30/40 mpg versus the Yaris' 30/35 (automatics).
Now standard on all Yaris trims, this system makes it far safer to drive and talk on the phone simultaneously and should be standard on every car.
Always a concern when driving a subcompact, the safety issue is addressed by standard airbags protecting the front and rear passengers. Even the driver's knees are covered.
The 2013 Toyota Yaris' interior design is clean and modern but the materials seem rather low-budget, with lots of muted gray and black plastic bits and generic seat fabric. On the plus side, the Yaris' interior is pretty roomy for such a small car, with good headroom front and rear. The hatchback design allows for easy loading of cargo. There is a respectable 15.6 cubic feet of load space behind the rear seats. The 2013 Toyota Yaris includes a nice, thick-grip 3-spoke adjustable steering wheel with a flat bottom to aid entry and exit.Exterior
The Toyota Yaris subcompact grew in every dimension except height in its redesign last year, and has a nice, bulldog stance: leaning forward, ready to pick a fight. The short front and rear overhangs and short hood help make maneuvering through tight spots a breeze, as does the expansive greenhouse that provides excellent 360-degree views. The Yaris is the first Toyota vehicle to employ a single-windshield-wiper design, a feature often found on high-end European cars. Base model L and LE cars ride on 15-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, while the sporty SE gets 16-inch alloys.
The 2013 Toyota Yaris surely carries the most simplified list of options: there aren't any. Equipment and features are packaged statically across the models and trims. The 3-door body is available in base L trim with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic, or in LE trim with the automatic only. The 5-doors come in L or LE trim with the automatic only, or in the top, sportier SE trim with either transmission. All configurations include electric power steering, air conditioning, power door locks, intermittent wipers, halogen headlights, HD Radio with six speakers and Bluetooth phone connectivity and streaming audio.
Last year, the one and only Yaris factory option was cruise control, available on the LE trim. Now even that option is gone, as the 2013 Yaris LE includes cruise control as standard equipment. Also bundled in the LE package are power windows and mirrors, remote keyless entry and a 60/40-split folding rear seat. The sporty SE is available only as a 5-door model and adds a sport suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes and higher-bolstered front seats. Dealer-installed accessories include a rear spoiler, mudguards, body-side molding and rear cargo net.
The 2013 Toyota Yaris 3- and 5-door hatchbacks share the same 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), producing 106 horsepower. This is enough power to tool around town, but it might feel marginal when passing on a 2-way highway. Transmission choices are a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic, which are functional enough but not very cutting-edge alongside the 6-speed units offered by others in the class. The Hyundai Accent makes a tough comparison: lots more power (138) as well as better EPA fuel economy (30/40) from a direct-injection engine and 6-speed transmission, all for about the same money.
106 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
103 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/38 mpg (manual), 30/35 mpg (automatic)
By JP on Sunday, February 01, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Cons: "It meets my expectations all the way"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"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."
31 people out of 56 found this review helpful
By Jelly on Wednesday, December 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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!"
16 people out of 34 found this review helpful
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?"
23 people out of 36 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."
20 people out of 37 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."
19 people out of 30 found this review helpful
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!""
30 people out of 47 found this review helpful