2012 Toyota Yaris vs. Its Competition

2012 Toyota Yaris 5dr LB Auto LE (Natl) Angular Front Exterior View
Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Senior Editor

Toyota has a rock-solid reputation for reliability and low running costs in this segment, but with a bottom-line price of $17,160, our Yaris SE is by no means in the same category as a base ($11,750) Nissan Versa.

The Versa remains the lowest-priced U.S.

vehicle, though hatchback versions cost a bit more.

The Versa's hard plastics and lack of refinement make it a step behind much of the rest of this class, though, so what you get is what you pay for.

Competing against the Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, and Honda Fit—all of which are either more engaging to drive or simply offer more features and performance for less money—it's hard to get very excited about the Yaris from a value standpoint.

The Accent has a much stronger, direct-injection engine that's perhaps more fuel-efficient.

The Ford Fiesta is also a little coarse and noisy, but it's a lot of fun to drive.

And among this group, the Mazda2 is the most enjoyable from behind the wheel, with a nimble, tossable feel.

Those who want the most refined car in this class should go for the Sonic; with the 1.4T engine it's strong, sure, and relatively quiet and, maneuverability and parking ease aside, it feels positively like a larger car.

2012 Toyota Yaris 5dr LB Auto LE (Natl) Angular Front Exterior View2012 Toyota Yaris
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2012 Chevrolet Sonic2012 Chevrolet Sonic
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2011 Ford Fiesta 4-door HB SES Angular Front Exterior View2012 Ford Fiesta
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2012 Hyundai Accent2012 Hyundai Accent
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2011 Mazda MAZDA2 4-door HB Auto Sport Angular Front Exterior View2012 Mazda MAZDA2
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2012 Nissan Versa 4-door Sedan CVT 1.6 SV Angular Front Exterior View2012 Nissan Versa
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Quick Specs
The 2012 Toyota Yaris is fuel-efficient in the city without hybrid hardware, and it has an nicely appointed interior that feels cheerful but not cheapskate; but its weak performance and highway refinement aren't up to current class standards.
The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is neither subsonic nor supersonic—but it's a good, sound choice and a world better than the Aveo it replaces.
You could do better if you most value space and comfort, but the 2012 Ford Fiesta packs in a lot of style and substance.
Do Americans want small cars with more room and great gas mileage? The 2012 Hyundai Accent is betting they do--and so are we.
With a zippy driving feel and good real-world gas mileage, the 2012 Mazda2 really stands out among entry-level vehicles.
The 2012 Nissan Versa is a reasonably comfortable, well-equipped new car for used-car money—but if you're a stickler for the details it can feel as cheap as it is.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
30 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy25 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy24 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4
EPA Class     
SubcompactCompact CarsSubcompactCompact Cars- TBD -Compact
Style Name     
3-Door Liftback Manual L (GS)4-Door Sedan LS 1LS4-Door Sedan S4-Door Sedan Manual GLS4-Door HB Manual Sport4-Door Sedan Manual 1.6 S
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront-wheel driveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
3 Door Hatchback4 Door SedanSedan4 Door Sedan4 Door HB4 Door Sedan
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Toyota Yaris vs. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic2012 Toyota Yaris vs. 2012 Ford Fiesta2012 Toyota Yaris vs. 2012 Hyundai Accent2012 Toyota Yaris vs. 2012 Mazda MAZDA22012 Toyota Yaris vs. 2012 Nissan Versa