The 2020 Toyota Yaris goes far on thrift and short on just about everything else.
The subcompact sedan starts at just $16,605 (including $955 destination) in base L trim. The sedan and hatchback are offered in LE and XLE trim, which tops out at $19,705.
Despite that low starting price, the Yaris is undercut by the Chevy Spark, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Nissan Versa. The Yaris comes with standard power features, two USB ports, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and automatic emergency braking that can avoid crashes at 12 mph or slower. The Versa offers more active safety features, but is more expensive. The 2020 Yaris earns a TCC Rating of 5.3 out of 10.
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The jump in the Yaris L from a 6-speed manual to a 6-speed automatic is $1,100. The hatchback only comes with the automatic. Both transmissions are moved by a 106-horsepower 1.5-liter inline-4 that powers the front wheels. The Yaris doesn’t go anywhere in a hurry, but a sport mode in the 6-speed automatic revs the engine enough to fill the cabin with noise.
The Yaris sedan is thrifty on the road, too, thanks to its low 2,400-pound weight. The sedan is nearly a foot longer and a bit heavier, but gets 40 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. The hatchback is expected to be the same.
Under the skin, the Yazda uses a MacPherson front strut and a torsion-beam rear axle. The base L has 15-inch wheels, while the others have 16-inch wheels. The road is ever-present, the cabin can be loud, yet the Yaris has firm footing and good outward vision to help you avoid all those road imperfections. Even though it’s slow, the subcompact is comparatively quick to react, and the thick three-spoke steering wheel has good heft—like the MX-5 Miata—compared to the bargain-bin competitors.
The 2020 Yaris sedan earned top marks from federal and independent crash-testing agencies, which is impressive for a subcompact. As an added bonus, the Yaris hatchback includes two years/25,000 miles of scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance.