$10,904 - $13,166

2017 Toyota Yaris Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Toyota Yaris was new.


Performance: 6.5

For city drivers, the Toyota Yaris' power should be sufficient. For frequent highway drivers, however, acceleration is lackluster. Moreover, both the standard manual and optional automatic transmissions hinder performance. While critics say the Yaris isn't as athletic or smooth-riding as rivals, they think it feels fairly composed through turns. The Yaris' fuel economy is great for the class.

  • "While a stiffer body and better suspension came with the Yaris' revamp two years ago, the overall driving feel of this small Toyota hatchback is still rather mundane." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • 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 (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Toyota Yaris and Yaris iA have a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 106 horsepower. The Yaris has two transmissions available: a five-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is standard in the Yaris iA and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional.

According to the EPA, the base Yaris earns 30 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, which is on par with most cars in the class. With the automatic transmission, the Yaris earns slightly better estimates of 30 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway. The Yaris iA with the automatic transmission earns the most impressive fuel economy estimates in the lineup – 32/40 mpg city/highway, which is excellent for the class. With the manual transmission, the Yaris iA gets up to 30/39 mpg city/highway.

The Yaris engine has just enough power to run your daily errands and commute, but it won't do so quickly. The engine feels particularly underpowered on the highway. The five-speed manual transmission's clutch is unrefined and difficult to shift, and the dated four-speed automatic isn't much better.

  • "With modest power coming from the small four-cylinder engine, the 2017 Yaris iA will require a lot of time and a heavy foot on the gas pedal to get up to highway speeds." -- Edmunds
  • "With only 106 horsepower, the Yaris' engine isn't very powerful. Acceleration is acceptable for everyday duties, but don't expect much in reserve for passing or merging, especially when others are along for the ride." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2015)

Handling and Braking

Both the Yaris and Yaris iA garner praise for their agility and responsive steering. Both models feels secure around corners and offer a smooth ride. Still, the Yaris isn't quite as fun to drive as some rivals.

  • "Thanks to its Mazda-based underpinnings, the Yaris iA feels relatively sharp and athletic on winding roads, with immediate yet predictable reactions to steering inputs. It should also deliver a smooth and compliant ride without intrusive wind or road noise." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2015)
  • 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 (2015)

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