Toyota Yaris Review: Safe, Compact, and Affordable

The Yaris Boasts Toyota'S Safety And Quality In A Comfortable, Compact, Affordable Vehicle.
The Yaris boasts Toyota's safety and quality in a comfortable, compact, affordable vehicle. Photo: Shannon Entin

The Toyota Yaris is Perfect for a Party of One.

Looking for the perfect car for a teen, single adult, city-dweller, or older adult? The Toyota Yaris is a compact, budget-conscious option for those who don’t need a ton of space. It’s also a terrific little car to take on a solo road trip.

I drove the Toyota Yaris 5-DR LE from New Jersey to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and while I’m a lover of big cars and SUVs, I found it to be surprisingly comfortable and fun to drive. Not to mention pretty great on gas mileage.

The Toyota Yaris Got 38 Mpg On My Recent Road Trip.

That’s nearly 38 MPG – NICE! Photo: Shannon Entin

Who this car is for:

  • Parents who want an inexpensive, but safe, option for their teen driver
  • Older adults who don’t need a lot of cargo space
  • City-dwellers looking for an easy-to-park car
  • People on a budget

Feels Bigger Than it Looks

When you’re driving the Yaris, it feels bigger than it looks due to the elongated windshield design that lets in tons of light. It reminded me of being in a room with a mirrored wall – it seemed as if there was so much space spreading out in front of me. The interior is minimalist and functional, which is perfect for a new driver or older adult that really doesn’t want a lot of bells and whistles to mess with or learn about. The European-inspired exterior design is smart and stylish. The Yaris doesn’t look awkward or clownish like some other compact cars.

The Windshield Design Lets In So Much Light - The Yaris Feels Bigger Than It Looks.

The windshield design lets in so much light – the Yaris feels bigger than it looks. Photo: Shannon Entin

The Yaris is a smooth ride and I was surprised at its power. It accelerated and merged into highway traffic just fine, only struggling a bit on some of the back-road hills in the mountains.

Make no mistake, this car is small. Backseat leg room is tight. The hatchback trunk space is limited, but adequate – you can fit two carry-on size suitcases in there and maybe a couple small bags on top of that. And the cupholders are unnecessarily small. But you could fit four people comfortably in the car. And if you need more cargo space, just fold down the 60/40 split rear seats. Those cupholders though? I’m no car designer, but I can’t see why Toyota couldn’t have given them just a couple more centimeters!

Cupholders Are Just A Bit Too Small For Two Regular-Sized Drinks.

Why Toyota? Why? Photo: Shannon Entin


Trunk Space Is Limited, But Adequate, And The Rear Seats Fold Down.

Trunk space is limited, but adequate, and the rear seats fold down. Photo: Shannon Entin

Toyota Safety… It Makes “Sense”

The Toyota Safety Sense™ C (for compact vehicles) safety package comes standard with all 2017 Yaris models. Featuring three proprietary safety technologies, it combines a camera and laser for outstanding performance and reliability. The package includes a pre-collision detection system, lane departure alert, and automatic high beams. The Yaris also has nine airbags. It’s solid on safety.

All in all, the Yaris is a fantastic value. You get Toyota’s safety and quality in a comfortable, compact, affordable vehicle.

Toyota Yaris Review: Perfect For A Teen Driver, Single Person Or Older Adult.

Toyota Yaris: Perfect for a Party of One. Photo: Shannon Entin

What we loved:

  • Easy to park
  • Smooth ride and handled better than I expected
  • Large windshield and windows let in lots of light
  • Great gas mileage – I got nearly 38 miles per gallon

What you need to know:

  • Good choice for a single person, teen or older adult driver.
  • European-inspired design looks elegant, not clownish like some other compacts
  • TSS-C safety features standard on all new 2017 models
  • Starting MSRP is $15,200. The model I drove was $17,765.
Toyota Yaris Monroney Window Sticker

Toyota Yaris Monroney Window Sticker

Disclosure: Toyota provided the Yaris for my review. All opinions are my own.

Feeling most at home when on the road, Shannon Entin grew up under the impression that the highest form... More about Shannon Entin