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2015 Toyota Yaris Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Toyota Yaris was new.


Performance: 4.9

The 2015 Toyota Yaris is suitable for driving around town, but isn’t a very well-rounded performer, auto journalists say. They add that the Yaris has capable handling, but doesn’t offer a very smooth ride and has a harsh-sounding engine. Still, the Yaris gets good fuel economy for the class.

  • "It's a nimble and agreeable companion around town, and its competent suspension helps the car cruise around turns with impressive stability. Overall, this is a pleasant and easy car to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "Cruising around the Big Island in the updated Yaris was pleasant, with none of the roads presenting anything in the way of a challenge to the five-passenger car." -- Autoblog
  • "We have to hand it to Toyota for providing so much for so little, but if it had a powertrain that responds to the note of a well-blown conch shell, the Yaris would be a cheaper keeper." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The raucous engine is a bit of a killjoy. ..." -- Autotrader (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Toyota Yaris comes with a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 106 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is available. The base 2015 Toyota Yaris gets up to an EPA-estimated 30/37 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class.

Reviewers think the 2015 Toyota Yaris’ engine has decent power, but is hampered by its available transmissions. They say the five-speed manual’s clutch has a high engagement point and stalls easily at idle when under heavy load. Some critics feel the four-speed automatic is more refined and the better overall choice, but that rivals such as the Honda Fit and Kia Rio, which have continuously variable or six-speed transmissions, are more modern and deliver better performance.

  • "The DOHC 1.5-liter four-cylinder is happy to rev smoothly on the way to 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque, but its limited ambition is thwarted by either of two curmudgeonly transmissions. The slack clutch (said to be improved) with a late engagement point hampers the five-speed manual gearbox. And the four-speed automatic is simply primitive." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The engines and transmission not only carry over from 2014 to 2015, but they date back to the original Toyota Yaris introduced back in 2007. Now, age doesn't necessarily equate to inferiority, but the four-speed automatic trails well behind its competitors in terms of performance and efficiency. Most competitors in this class have six-speed or continuously variable (CVT) transmissions that do a better job of maximizing performance and fuel economy." -- Edmunds
  • "The four-speed automatic-equipped Yaris seemed to be the belle of the ball in this subcompact car test fest. It performed in a much more refined manner, and seemingly in the background, not calling attention to anything untoward happening to it underhood. Still, when considering the Yaris' competition like the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent, we think it suffers a bit. It will cruise just fine once you get there, but just hope you don't have to do so in a hurry. Sometimes a downhill grade could be your best friend." -- Left Lane News
  • "I was unimpressed with the standard five-speed manual gearbox, which feels like a throwback to the mid-90s. Its clutch is light and its engagement point is awkward, sitting at the very top of the clutch pedal's travel, just before it is fully released. An excessive amount of engine rpm is thus required to launch from a standstill, as the engine doesn't have enough torque, power or mass (or all three) to keep itself from stalling under load at idle." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Although the 2015 Yaris now has an updated suspension system, reviewers say it doesn’t have as smooth a ride as rivals such as the Nissan Versa, nor is it as fun to drive as the Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Sonic. The SE trim has a sport-tuned suspension, but auto writers note that it doesn’t turn the Yaris into an athletic handler. Still, some critics think the Yaris feels secure and composed in turns.

  • "Pushing the Yaris around some of the island's bends demonstrated its competence, but not supremacy. The independent front MacPherson strut and torsion-beam rear suspension do everything they are designed to do, and the subcompact feels stable, easy to control and surprisingly well balanced." -- Autoblog
  • "The SE has suspension components tuned for sport, a solid front stabilizer bar, and four-wheel disc brakes with larger front rotors, yet we never had the impression the car wanted to go rallying." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Numerous body-strengthening measures result in a weight loss of 44 pounds. There are also numerous suspension improvements including reduced spring rates front and rear, a revised torsion beam in the rear for greater body roll reduction and a solid front stabilizer bar (versus a hollow one). These changes promise improvements to both ride and handling, but during our test-drive the Yaris still didn't seem to match the playful nature of the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic or the plush ride of the Nissan Versa." -- Edmunds

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