Toyota built its reputation on small cars. Even today, in 2019, most consumers in their 40s and older still associate the Japanese giant with the Corolla, Tercel and all other small, efficient and reliable things on four wheels.
Despite a showroom full of pickups, SUVs and larger vehicles, the Corolla and Yaris remain pillars of the brand’s identity. While the Corolla may be the best-selling car in the history of the automobile, the Yaris is a key player in Toyota’s success the world over.
The 2019 Toyota Yaris is available as both a sedan and a versatile hatchback.
Things the 2019 Toyota Yaris does well
The Yaris will never let you down. Both the sedan and hatchback are powered by a sufficiently-peppy 106-horsepower 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine which is also extremely frugal. With fuel consumption averages that can hover in the low 6L/100km, only a hybrid vehicle will best it.
The sedan, which is in fact a rebadged Mazda2, features a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. The hatchback’s transmission are far less exotic (5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic) but all are economical.
If you enjoy driving, the Yaris is surprisingly good fun to toss about. Its low curb-weight and compact outer dimensions provide the cars with agility and nimbleness that can become addictive. They are ideal urban vehicles.
Cabins for both cars are spacious enough for gear and people. The hatchback’s 6.1-inch display (7-inch in the sedan) features with USB audio inputs, Bluetooth connectivity, and steering wheel-mounted controls. The hatchback includes heated front seats as a standard.
As a gateway car into the Toyota brand, both are extremely affordable. The 3-door manual CE hatchback starts at $15,630 and tops out at $19,605 for the cool-looking 5-door SE with automatic.
The sedan is now offered in a $19,205 XLE trim which includes all of today’s required technology and physical attributes such as 16-inch gunmetal wheels and LED head- and fog lamps. The base 6-speed manual sedan can be yours from $16,595.
Things the 2019 Toyota Yaris doesn’t do so well
Strangely, what makes the Yaris hatchback such a safe bet are also some of its greatest weaknesses. The 1.5-litre engine can be loud when pushed and the 4-speed automatic transmission, although reliable, dates back many many years. It’s not most refined of its kind either. Also, it can get a little noisy in the car at highway speeds.
That’s about it…
What we tell our friends
You can’t go wrong with a Yaris. It’s not the best-looking in the category, nor is it the most modern, roomiest or best equipped but it will always be by your side like a good friend.
Its reliability sustains a strong resale value that the Korean and other Japanese brands cannot match. While we recommend the Yaris, we’d offer up the Honda Fit and Kia Rio as alternatives but would not push the issue.
The Yaris continues Toyota’s proud small car heritage.