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2020 Toyota Yaris Review

The 2020 Toyota Yaris ranks near the top of the subcompact car class. It offers agile handling, a handsome interior, user-friendly features, and a good predicted reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Stylish and feature-packed interior
  • Nimble handling
  • Great fuel economy
  • Good predicted reliability rating
  • Sluggish acceleration

New for 2020

  • Available hatchback body style
  • Support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Rankings & Awards

The 2020 Toyota Yaris's #4 ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact Cars category. It was a finalist for our 2020 Best Subcompact Car for the Money award. Currently the Toyota Yaris has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 55 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.9

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 6.5
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Toyota Yaris?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Toyota Yaris a Good Car?   

Yes, the Toyota Yaris is a good subcompact car. It is available in sedan and hatchback body styles. It boasts a stylish cabin, decent seating space, and lots of standard features, including a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and forward collision warning. With its quick steering and taut suspension, the Yaris is fun to drive. It also rates well for predicted reliability.

The Yaris gives you almost everything you could ask for in a small car, except quick acceleration. The Yaris’ four-cylinder engine sacrifices get-up-and-go for great fuel economy. For most value seekers, that’s a worthwhile trade-off. We named the Yaris as a finalist for our 2020 Best Subcompact Car for the Money award because of its combination of quality and value.

Should I Buy the Toyota Yaris?

The Yaris is a great choice if you want a practical and fun-to-drive car but don’t want to spend a lot. Prices start at just $15,650. The Yaris isn’t the only compelling pick in this segment, though. The Honda Fit stands out for its class-leading cargo space and long list of safety features, like adaptive cruise control. The Kia Rio is a great all-around car with a handsome interior that belies its bargain pricing. Test-drive all three models to see which one you prefer.

Compare the Yaris, Fit, and Rio »

Should I Buy a New or Used Toyota Yaris?

Toyota has used the Yaris nameplate on two different vehicles in recent years, so shopping for a used model can be a little tricky. Toyota sold the Yaris liftback from 2007 to 2019. This hatchback has a stellar reputation for reliability, but its engine performance, handling, and cabin materials leave a lot to be desired.

The current Yaris got its start in 2016. It debuted as the Scion iA sedan and was renamed Yaris iA for 2017. The car also gained forward collision warning for 2017, so you’ll want to start there if that’s a must-have feature. There weren’t any major updates for 2018, but the sedan was renamed to Yaris in 2019.

The 2020 model year brings the biggest updates yet. The Yaris sedan is now joined by a hatchback variant (unrelated to the previous Yaris liftback), and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard. If these updates are important to you, opt for the 2020 Yaris. Otherwise, consider saving money by shopping for a similar 2016 to 2019 Yaris sedan.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Yaris iA, 2018 Yaris, and 2019 Yaris reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Yaris »

We Did the Research for You: 54 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 54 Toyota Yaris reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability ratings and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

This 2020 Yaris review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2016.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Toyota Yaris Cost?

Pricing for the 2020 Yaris sedan starts at $15,650, and the Yaris hatchback starts at $17,750. That’s about average for the subcompact car class. The least expensive models in this segment are the Chevrolet Spark and Mitsubishi Mirage, which start at $13,220 and $13,995, respectively.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

Toyota Yaris Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Toyota Yaris or Toyota Corolla?

The Toyota Corolla, a compact car, is a perennial favorite for budget-minded car shoppers. Both vehicles have solid predicted reliability ratings, great fuel economy, and sedan and hatchback body styles. These Toyotas also have intuitive tech features and cleanly styled interiors. If you’re on a tight budget, stick with the Yaris. Its starting price is about $4,000 less than the Corolla’s. On the other hand, go with the Corolla if adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights are must-have standard features. Ultimately, both are good options.

Which Is Better: Toyota Yaris or Nissan Versa?

The Nissan Versa is fully redesigned for 2020, and its updates make it a competitive choice within the subcompact car class. The Versa has an upscale cabin, great fuel economy, and – much like the Yaris ­– a strong predicted reliability rating. The Nissan tops the Toyota with its optional safety features, though, including adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. Go with the Versa if those features are important to you. Otherwise, the Yaris is the better choice because it’s more fun to drive and it has a more responsive touch screen than the Versa. Also, the Toyota is available as a sedan or hatchback, whereas the Nissan is available only as a sedan.

Compare the Yaris, Corolla, and Versa »

Yaris Interior

How Many People Does the Yaris Seat?

The Toyota Yaris seats five in both sedan and hatchback body styles. The front seats are spacious enough for taller occupants, and they provide good lateral support but not much lower-back support. Outward visibility is good in all directions. The rear seats are roomy enough for two adults, but taller passengers may complain that there's not enough headroom.

Cloth upholstery and manually adjustable front seats are standard. Synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a center armrest are available.

Yaris and Child Car Seats

The Yaris has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats, as well as a tether-only connection for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use. The tether anchors are easy to find, but the lower anchors are set too deep in the seats.

Yaris Interior Quality

The Yaris has a handsome and uncluttered cabin that is reminiscent of Mazda vehicles, like the Mazda CX-3. (The Yaris is built in partnership with Mazda.) The styling could even pass for an entry-level luxury car, though with a mix of hard and soft plastics, the materials quality doesn't quite hit that mark. The interior gets a bit noisy at higher speeds, which is typical of cars in this segment.

Yaris Cargo Space

The Yaris sedan has 13.5 cubic feet of cargo space, which is pretty good for a subcompact car. The Yaris hatchback has 15.8 cubic feet of space with its rear seats upright. That may not seem like much more room, but this model’s rear liftgate makes it a lot easier to fit bulky items.

Yaris Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Yaris comes equipped with a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a six-speaker stereo, HD Radio, and satellite radio. A navigation system and automatic climate control are available.

The touch screen is perched high on the dashboard, making it easy to see and access. Its menus and controls are straightforward. You can tap and swipe on the screen to make adjustments, or use a knob and buttons on the center console. The climate controls are simple as well - just three knobs on the dashboard.

It’s worth noting that all models are equipped with the hardware to run the available navigation system, so you can always purchase it later if you decide you want it. The dealership installs it using an SD card.

Read more about interior »

Yaris Performance

Yaris Engine: Slow Ride

The Toyota Yaris has a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 106 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard. A six-speed automatic transmission is available.

This engine is adequate for zipping around town, but it struggles to get the Yaris up to highway speed and doesn’t supply much passing power. On the plus side, both of its transmission choices are excellent. The six-speed manual gearbox is snappy and fun to shift. It makes the most out of the engine’s limited muscle. The six-speed automatic delivers quick yet smooth gear changes.

Yaris Gas Mileage: Infrequent Fill-Ups

The Yaris gets an EPA-rated 30 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway with its manual transmission. Opting for the automatic improves this rating to 32 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. These fuel economy estimates are among the best in the subcompact car class.

Yaris Ride and Handling: Zoom Zoom

The Yaris has some of the sportiest driving dynamics in its segment. It feels composed and stable around turns. The steering is quick and communicative, helping the Yaris feel even smaller and lighter than it is. It’s also a cinch to park and maneuver in tight areas. However, the Yaris’ suspension does tend to jiggle over rough pavement. That said, it’s pretty comfortable overall, though you do feel more bumps and dips than you would in a larger car, like the Toyota Corolla.

Read more about performance »

Yaris Reliability

Is the Toyota Yaris Reliable?

The 2020 Yaris has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Toyota Yaris Warranty

Toyota covers the Yaris with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Toyota Yaris?

The cost of insuring a Toyota Yaris will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Yaris Safety

Yaris Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Toyota Yaris an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The Yaris earned five stars in the frontal and side crash tests, as well as four stars for rollover safety.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Yaris a top rating of Good in five crash tests. However, headlights in the Yaris L and LE trims received the lowest rating of Poor for how well they illuminate the road ahead.

The IIHS has a different scale for grading active safety features. The Yaris earned the second-highest rating of Advanced for the effectiveness of its front crash prevention system.

Yaris Safety Features

The Yaris comes standard with a rearview camera and a low-speed pre-collision system that combines forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. This system operates at driving speeds of 18 mph or below, and it can alert the driver if a front-end collision is imminent. If the driver doesn’t step on the brakes, the system can automatically apply them.

Read more about safety »

Yaris Dimensions and Weight

The Toyota Yaris hatchback is 13.5 feet long, and the Yaris sedan is 14.3 feet long. The Yaris’ curb weight ranges from 2,385 to 2,482 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Toyota Yaris Built?

The 2020 Yaris is built in Mexico under a partnership between Toyota and Mazda.

Which Toyota Yaris Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Toyota Yaris is available in sedan and hatchback body styles, and it comes in three trim levels: L, LE, and XLE. If you’re on a tight budget, the base model Yaris L sedan is the best pick. It’s very well-equipped for the price, and it’s available with an automatic or a manual transmission, the latter of which is becoming increasingly uncommon.

If you can afford to spend a bit more, we suggest upgrading to the more practical Yaris LE hatchback. On paper, the hatchback’s cargo space may not seem bigger, but thanks to its shape, it can fit much larger and bulkier items.

Toyota Yaris L

The entry-level Yaris L sedan has a starting price of $15,650 and comes equipped with a 106-horsepower engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and front-wheel drive.

The standard infotainment system features a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six speakers, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. Standard safety features include a rearview camera and low-speed forward collision warning with brake assist.

The Yaris L also comes with remote keyless entry, push-button start, power windows, air conditioning, cruise control, cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, and 15-inch steel wheels.

A six-speed automatic transmission is available for $1,100. The only other options are a center armrest ($195) and a navigation system ($399).

Toyota Yaris LE

The Yaris LE sedan has a starting MSRP of $16,650 with the manual transmission and $17,750 with the automatic transmission. This trim gains heated side mirrors, fog lights, and 16-inch alloy wheels. All options carry over from the L trim.

Toyota Yaris LE Hatchback

The Yaris LE hatchback starts at $17,750. This trim shares the LE sedan’s features, but it comes standard with the automatic transmission.

Toyota Yaris XLE

The Yaris XLE sedan costs $18,750, and the automatic transmission is standard. The XLE gains synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, LED headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Toyota Yaris XLE Hatchback

The Yaris XLE hatchback costs $18,750, and it comes with the same features as the XLE sedan.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Toyota dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Toyota deals page.

See 2020 Toyota Yaris specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Toyota Yaris is not a speedy car, but if you can look beyond that, there is a lot to love. The Yaris has a sleek interior, user-friendly features, great fuel economy, and an above-average predicted reliability rating. It’s also agile and enjoyable to drive. The Yaris is the least-expensive model in the Toyota lineup, yet it’s loaded with standard features, making it a good value in the subcompact car class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2020 Yaris subcompact sedan is Toyota’s least expensive vehicle, starting at less than $16,000. At that price, it’s about $2,000 below its sibling, the Yaris Hatchback. The Yaris is an appealing vehicle for city dwellers, individuals on a tight budget, or youthful buyers." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Yaris is one of the smallest and least expensive vehicles in Toyota's lineup, but it doesn't look or feel like anything else in the automaker's stable. That's mostly because it's based on a Mazda design rather than Toyota's, taking on the engine, tech, and most of the interior and exterior design from the Mazda 2, a car that's no longer sold in America. It might sound like an identity crisis, but the final product is a polished and fun (if slightly underpowered) compact that offers a lot for relatively little." -- Edmunds
  • "Everything about the Toyota … is small, from the tiny exterior dimensions to the low-displacement engine. The result is a true compact that’s genuinely affordable and an absolute blast to drive. Turns out there’s wisdom in Master Yoda’s words after all." -- Automobile Magazine (2018)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: October 23, 2020

Abysmal Sales: The Yaris is currently the second-slowest selling subcompact car, ahead of only the Mini Cooper Clubman, and Toyota dealerships have moved a whopping 70.5 percent fewer Yaris models so far this year compared to the same period in 2019. The sales leading Nissan Versa has outsold the Yaris by more than 5 to 1 so far in 2020.

Research more buying advice »
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