The newest Toyota Yaris may look slightly uncommon should you’re aware of how most Toyotas look lately. Merely put, it doesn’t look very like different Toyotas, and there’s a superb motive for that: It’s not a Toyota.
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The Yaris’ historical past is a bit convoluted. The automobile it’s right this moment started life as a Mazda2, which was bought within the U.S. from 2011 to 2014. However not this particular model — Mazda bought solely a hatchback model within the U.S., not a sedan. Toyota’s now defunct “youth model” Scion bought the sedan model because the Scion iA for one mannequin yr, 2016, earlier than the Scion model was canned. The Toyota model took on the automobile subsequent, relabeling it the Yaris iA, earlier than giving up on the suffix and calling it merely the Yaris when its personal Toyota-designed Yaris hatchback was canceled for North America in 2020. Obtained all that?
TL, DR: The newest Yaris sedan and hatchback are reskinned variations of the worldwide Mazda2 sedan and hatchback, constructed by Mazda for Toyota to promote in North America. And we’re very, very joyful for that, as a result of given the healthy dose of Mazda DNA right here, the brand new Yaris shouldn’t be solely tremendous frugal, it’s additionally remarkably enjoyable to drive, with a zippy engine, tight dealing with, responsive steering and a trendy inside.
No Denying its Mazda DNA
Regardless of the way it appears to be like (which is able to strike you as both swoopy and cute or fish-faced and bizarre), the brand new Yaris sedan works fairly properly. It has a mix of frugality and enjoyable that’s stunning and interesting.
The Yaris drives properly as long as you don’t demand an excessive amount of out of the powertrain. The engine is a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder that includes Mazda’s SkyActiv-G engine design and a higher-than-usual compression ratio of 12 to 1. It makes solely 106 horsepower and 103 pounds-feet of torque, and it’s mated to both a normal six-speed guide transmission or an optionally available six-speed computerized, which my automobile featured. Regardless of the modest energy output, the Yaris is fairly peppy at decrease speeds, however you’re going to wish to plan your freeway on-ramp accelerations upfront, and passing on a two-lane highway shouldn’t be advisable.
The place the Mazda DNA actually shines by way of is in how the Yaris handles. It has tight, responsive steering that makes the automobile really feel energetic and tossable, with wonderful suggestions and progressive understeer that makes it predictable and enjoyable. The experience is surprisingly properly managed, although there may be some pronounced physique roll if you begin critically chucking it by way of turns. The thin tires additionally don’t do a lot for grip, however you may really feel that the bones of the factor are strong. Robust winds are inclined to toss it round on the freeway, but it’s fairly steady and stress-free at freeway speeds.
Quiet, nevertheless, it’s not. Wind and highway noise are pronounced; one other staffer who drove the automobile believed the backseat and trunk have been a major supply of that noise. Sound insulation, after all, would add weight, and weight is the enemy of gas financial system — and on the finish of the day, gas financial system and, extra broadly, frugality are actually the entire level of the Yaris.
The Effectivity Is Actual
The 2020 Toyota Yaris’ super-efficient engine, low weight and slippery aerodynamics assist the automated model earn a 32/40/35 mpg metropolis/freeway/mixed score from the EPA, however anecdotal proof suggests it’s able to rather more. The automobile’s raison d’etre is to be a reasonable commuter automobile, a value-packed freeway cruiser able to simple city parking with out counting on electrification or hybrid parts. I’ve had private expertise with a good friend’s 2016 Scion-branded mannequin that routinely will get north of 50 mpg on a 60-mile day by day freeway commute from the suburbs to downtown Detroit, so I used to be curious to see how a virtually an identical 2020 mannequin stacked up.
My testing confirmed the Yaris consumed 4.77 gallons of gasoline over a 203-mile blended highway-and-urban check loop round Southeast Michigan, giving it an as-tested consumption of 42.6 mpg. That was barely lower than the onboard journey pc’s calculation of 43.6 mpg, however shut sufficient to be inside an inexpensive margin of error. It’s not fairly the 50 mpg I’ve seen different Yaris/Scion iA automobiles get, however windy climate in the course of the check simply explains the discrepancy. Even at 42.6 mpg, it nonetheless handily beats the official EPA score of 35 mpg mixed — and does so with surprisingly pleasurable efficiency.
As compared, different entry-level subcompact fashions from Nissan, Hyundai and Honda have roughly comparable EPA scores. The Nissan Versa, with its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and repeatedly variable computerized transmission, matches the Yaris precisely with a 32/40/35 mpg score, whereas the Hyundai Accent and its personal 1.6-liter engine and CVT is rated slightly higher, at 33/41/36 mpg. Honda’s cavernous Match is accessible solely as a hatchback within the U.S., that includes a smaller 1.5-liter engine and CVT, and it’s rated 33/40/36 mpg in its base LX trim. The factor to notice right here is that all the Yaris’ opponents outgun it within the engine division by not less than 14 hp and 10 pounds-feet of torque, however they’re all additionally greater, heavier vehicles.
Dimensions: Appears Small, Feels Small, Is Small
The Yaris is a decent little automobile, however for 2 folks up entrance, it’s completely accommodating, with a surprisingly sizable trunk. Outward visibility is great, all the things inside is inside simple attain and Toyota spiffed up the inside of the highest trim with satisfactory faux leather-based and distinction stitching. It’s not a giant automobile by any stretch of the creativeness, nevertheless, and also you’ll really feel that within the narrowness of the entrance seats and the dearth of legroom in again. If entrance occupants aren’t stingy about giving up a few of their legroom, everybody within the automobile will likely be equally uncomfortable, but it surely’s not an insupportable quantity of room. Headroom in again is respectable because of comparatively upright home windows. In contrast with the Versa, Accent and Match, the Yaris is smaller, with solely 86 cubic ft of passenger room on the within, in contrast with 89 cubic ft for the Versa, 90 for the Accent and 96 for the spacious Match.
The Yaris options an appropriate stage of onboard know-how for a automobile on this worth class. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now make an look on the touchscreen, however, infuriatingly, the touchscreen doesn’t work if the automobile is transferring, forcing you to make use of a Mazda-sourced rotary controller down between the seats on the middle console, inexplicably including a distracting step to what would in any other case have been a simple-to-use system. There’s a gas financial system display screen for monitoring precisely the way you’re performing in your day by day commute — enjoyable for the information nerds amongst us who get their kicks logging and monitoring that type of factor.
There’s an honest quantity of cargo house within the trunk, with the Yaris sedan bringing 13.5 cubic ft of trunk house. That’s similar to the Accent’s 13.7 cubic ft, however each fall in need of the Versa’s 15.zero cubic ft. The Match has 16.6 cubic ft, expandable to a a lot bigger space given it’s a hatchback, however its quantity spec doesn’t evaluate straight with a trunk measurement, as we’ve reported. The Yaris’ fold-down seats assist develop its cargo space for bigger gadgets, and it looks like a superbly usable trunk for a big suitcase or perhaps a respectable haul from Costco.
Security Rankings Are Good, Tools Isn’t as Aggressive
Whereas this isn’t an costly automobile, there are two options specifically that used to set the Yaris aside from its opponents: customary low-speed collision alert with autonomous braking, and rain-sensing windshield wipers that come customary on the XLE trim. However the Nissan Versa has caught up and surpassed it, providing customary autonomous braking entrance and rear, customary lane departure warning and computerized excessive beams, and accessible blind spot warning. The Honda Match can go even past that with its accessible Honda Sensing suite of applied sciences that provides lane hold help.
Ought to the techniques all fail and also you truly do crash your Yaris, you’ll truly be properly protected, based on the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security, which gave the Yaris a “good” score throughout the board in all its crash exams, although it didn’t care a lot for the Yaris’ headlight efficiency, score it “poor.” The Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration concurred, awarding the Yaris sedan a five-star total security score for collisions. Solely the entrance passenger and rollover exams scored barely decrease four-star scores.
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Value Gained’t Break the Financial institution
Whilst you gained’t precisely get hybrid-level effectivity with a 2020 Yaris, you additionally gained’t pay hybrid-level costs. With a base worth of simply $16,605 (all costs embody vacation spot charges), it’s one of many least costly new vehicles in the marketplace. The loaded Yaris XLE I drove, nevertheless, rang in at $20,479, which is a bit more durable to swallow for a automobile this small given it begins to encroach upon alternate options like a 2-year-old, off-lease Honda Civic.
Rivals are all equally priced, with the Nissan Versa beginning $1,000 decrease than the Yaris, at $15,655. The Hyundai Accent begins solely barely much less, at $16,270, and the Match is available in a bit pricier, at $17,145. All of those fashions additionally prime out at roughly the identical worth — within the $20,000-$21,000 vary — except for the Honda Match. If you happen to’re fairly free with the equipment choices, that automobile might be had with some performance-look add-ons that push its worth into the $25,000 vary.
The advantages of selecting an affordable new automobile over a barely used older, bigger and initially costlier one typically need to do with guarantee advantages and the overall enjoyment of getting one thing new that no person’s put their grubby mitts on earlier than. If strong effectivity and a new-car guarantee are huge priorities for you, the brand new 2020 Yaris Sedan is a great alternative.
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