2019 Toyota Yaris

Consumer Reviews
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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
February 15, 2019

Buying tip

The 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan was designed by Mazda and its Miata-lite driving dynamics make it a worthwhile mini-sports sedan.

The fun 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan has thankfully outlived its hatchback cousin.

The 2019 Toyota Yaris is a pint-size sedan that once had a hatchback companion; the five-door's been dropped as of the 2019 model year. The Yaris sedan that continues offers a low price, zippy handling, an unusual amount of standard active safety gear, and easy-to-park dimensions.

We rate it at 5.0 out of 10. Pint-size cars have their drawbacks, but none is as charming as the Yaris sedan. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year, the 2019 Yaris sedan—which was previously known as the Scion iA and then the Toyota Yaris iA—looks better and is available in three trim levels: L, LE, and XLE. 

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Peel back its Toyota badge and the Yaris is really a Mazda 2 sedan, a model sold in some markets outside the U.S. That's good news for drivers, but not for its challenging infotainment software. Last year's Toyota-designed hatchback was marginally more practical, but dour to drive. We don't miss it. 

The Yaris uses a 4-cylinder engine rated at 106 horsepower. The sedan’s Mazda-supplied engine is smooth and nets upward of 35 mpg combined. It also offers a choice between a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions. The Yaris sedan’s transmissions are especially sweet gearboxes.

The Yaris' Mazda heritage shows through in its driving dynamics. Every time we drive one, we’re pleasantly surprised with its weighty, direct steering and firm but compliant suspension. 

Inside, the Yaris interior is more spacious than its footprint might suggest. It has an imaginative design. Rear-seat space is tight compared to larger cars, but it's adequate for small families.

The Yaris lacks Apple CarPlay or Android Auto capability, although Bluetooth connectivity and USB ports are standard. The Yaris sedan’s Mazda-supplied infotainment can be a chore to navigate.

The 2019 Yaris boasts automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, a rarity among competitive subcompact cars. Crash-test results have been average.

At around $17,400 in LE trim, the 2019 Yaris sedan makes a compelling budget four-door case for itself.

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2019 Toyota Yaris

Styling

Even with this year’s nip-and-tuck, the 2019 Toyota Yaris is not a looker.

This year, the 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan gained toned-down styling that helps it blend into the crowd better. It's fine, but it's a 4 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The interior is fine, but looks like budget cars from the outside. Base Yaris L trims ride on chintzy hubcaps prone to scrapes, cracks, or even theft, while LE and XLE trims add alloy wheels that dress them up a little.

The Yaris sedan looks narrow, even though its nearly 67-inch width is typical for a subcompact car. 

Inside, the 2019 Yaris sedan’s 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment sits high on its dash, but its controller is buried in the center console. Round climate control vents give it some flair.

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2019 Toyota Yaris

Performance

The 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan can entertain, given the right road.

The 2019 Yaris sedan is a reminder that big power isn’t what makes a car fun, it’s polished handling and a composed ride. 

We rate the Yaris sedan at 5 out of 10, with a point above average for its steering and handling, but one dialed back for its modest acceleration. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Yaris has a 106-horsepower inline-4 engine, which comes from Mazda and boasts direct injection that helps save fuel and provides linear response. It also has a slick 6-speed manual or a smooth 6-speed automatic transmission.

The thick-rimmed steering wheel in the Yaris sedan hints at its performance aspirations before the first corner. Its steering heft is just right, with more road feel than many cars with three times the underhood muscle. The sedan’s suspension is firm but not punishing and it reacts well to bumpy roads.

Highway stability is good, but not great—it’s hard to overcome the inherent disadvantage of a small footprint on a windy day.

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2019 Toyota Yaris

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Toyota Yaris is spacious for a small car, but it’s best for two passengers.

We rate the Yaris at 3 out of 10, with points dialed back from average for its mediocre front seats and its tight second row. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Yaris sedan’s front seats are comfortable. Yaris sedans have a height-adjustable driver’s seat as standard. Rear-seat space is tight, although average adults can sit behind one another for short stints. Don’t try squeezing three adults into the rear seat, even though there are three seat belts.

Grippy cloth comes standard, while synthetic leather is a new option this year.

The Yaris sedan’s trunk has a decent opening but just 13.5 cubic feet of space, another byproduct of its pint-size dimensions.

No Yaris is dressy inside, although the four-door has consistent and price-appropriate materials and finishes.

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2019 Toyota Yaris

Safety

For a small cars, the 2019 Toyota Yaris lineup boasts good safety scores.

The 2019 Toyota Yaris is unusual among subcompact cars in that every version comes standard with collision-avoidance tech.

We rate it at 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2019 Yaris comes with a low-speed automatic emergency braking system that can bring the vehicle to a halt in urban environments.  

The IIHS says the Yaris has performed well in crash testing, although subpar headlights holds it back from a Top Safety Pick award. The NHTSA rated the sedan at five stars overall—a top score among subcompact cars.

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2019 Toyota Yaris

Features

The 2019 Toyota Yaris has a small price tag matched by limited features.

A general reshuffling of the 2019 Toyota Yaris lineup should make this subcompact easier to shop than last year.

We rate it at 4 out of 10, peeling a point back for the so-so infotainment system that lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Yaris starts in L trim, but Yaris LE trims will be more popular on dealer lots.

The Yaris L sedan has a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, radio controls on the steering wheel, a split-folding rear seat, cruise control, and power features for about $17,400. It’s only available with an automatic.

For about the same price, the Yaris LE swaps in a manual transmission, alloy wheels, keyless ignition, and a few other items. An automatic costs about $1,100 more.

The range-topping Yaris XLE sedan adds synthetic leather upholstery, automatic climate control, LED headlights, and a few other items.

The Yaris sedan uses Mazda infotainment tech with a control knob to supplement the touchscreen while on the go. Mazda’s infotainment software is cumbersome to sort through compared to what Toyota uses in its other models.

The Yaris is not available with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, unfortunately.

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2019 Toyota Yaris

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Toyota Yaris hatchback’s fuel economy isn’t impressive, but the sedan is miserly.

The Mazda-designed engine in the 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan provides it with impressive fuel economy. 

We give it a 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

With its direct injection and 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions, the 2019 Yaris sedan scores 32/40/35 mpg with the automatic and 30/39/34 mpg with the manual.

All versions of the Yaris run on regular unleaded gasoline.

Most competitors hover in the 35-mpg combined range.

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$15,600
MSRP based on L Manual (GS)
 
5.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 4
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 3
Safety 7
Features 4
Fuel Economy 7
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