2020 Toyota Yaris Sedan
Remember when they called this a Scion?
This collaboration between Toyota and Mazda has turned out to be an entry level sedan for younger consumers and those who live in communities where space is a premium. The result is now called the Yaris sedan and it continues into 2020 as Toyota’s subcompact offering.
Because of the combined heritage of this small car, is it now the best subcompact car you can get for the money?
The Yaris is wrapped in a design that has been around for four years now. One describes this as a mix of Mazda and Toyota - mostly Mazda, since it is based off of the global Mazda2 subcompact. That is actually a good thing, as the shape is handsome and distinctive.
That is where Toyota takes over on the exterior. The front end was originally slated for the Scion iA - the former name of the Yaris sedan for the 2016 model year. That front clip still remains with a Toyota badge since the 2017 model year, even with a new lower grill insert sporting a honeycomb design. Depending on your point of view, it is either nice or, well, different.
The doors open up as wide as possible, though the rear doors were a bit on the small side. Front occupants enjoy a wide opening entry that matches up well with its competition. Trunk opens down to the bumper and offers a sizeable 13.5 cubic feet of cargo space.
Step inside into a very good cabin design. A single dial is flanked by two digital screens for a tachometer and other vehicle information. Switchgear is quite good, including the manually operated climate control. The center stack shows a short throw gear lever for the automatic transmission, a toggle for Sport mode and a handbrake.
The leatherette front seats of our Yaris XLE tester are actually just fine, providing ample comfort and good cushion support. Rear seat room is fine for children and smaller adults, though one could find leg room just fine. Headroom will be a challenge for taller rear passengers.
Under the hood is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque on hand. It is a solid motor that has no qualms tasking on highway speeds with ease. Our XLE tester came with a six-speed automatic transmission that rows through the gears effortlessly. Power is sent down to the front wheels for solid traction. As for fuel economy, we averaged 37.2 MPG.
The ride quality is solid and does a very good job absorbing indifferent road conditions. Handling is very good and shows minimal roll through the turns. The Yaris sedan is a very confident car that does not mind the hustle and bustle of traffic. We found it a fun-to-drive car everywhere we took it.
Steering is good with great response from the wheel and a sharp turning radius for tight maneuvers. It is a bit soft on center, as we found that the Yaris liked to drift a little bit within the lane. Its 2,482-pound curb weight may also play into stability when strong winds are present on the highway.
Brakes are very good, with good bite at the wheels. Keep in mind, this is a front disc/rear drum setup with an anti-lock system and electronic brake force distribution as standard. Normal and panic stops show great power and good stopping distances.
The Toyota Yaris sedan is offered in three trim levels. The base L model starts at $15,650. Our top-of-the-line XLE tester came with a sticker price of $19,705. The Yaris is also available in a new hatchback body style complimenting the sedan.
The subcompact car class is shrinking, which means that the Toyota Yaris only competes with a few stalwart models in the marketplace. The Yaris sedan matches up well with the Chevrolet Sonic and Spark, Nissan Versa, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Honda Fit, Mitsubishi Mirage and G4.
If you are looking for a fun-to-drive subcompact car that you can commute with confidence, the Toyota Yaris is a smart choice to make.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors