2018 Toyota Yaris Review: Anime Eyes and MPGs

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Scionlife.com 2018 Toyota Yaris SE Hatchback Review Test

The best Toyota Yaris on sale now isn’t really a Yaris, or a even Toyota.

Compact and sub-compact cars are one of my favorite segments of automobile. These lightweight, inexpensive runabouts offer chuck-able handling, excellent fuel economy, and low running costs. So, it would seem that the Toyota Yaris, which starts at a respectable $15,635, would be high on my list of respectable daily drivers. Sadly, that just isn’t the case, let me explain why.

What is it?

The Yaris is Toyota’s smallest, least expensive vehicle on sale currently. It comes in a variety of configurations and trim levels, with three-door and five-door hatchback models, and a sedan variant. More on that last one later, as this particular Yaris is a five-door SE hatchback.

Fully-loaded is an odd way to describe the Yaris SE considering there is just one real option to choose from: the transmission. This test car has the optional automatic transmission, an $800 surcharge. A 5-speed manual transmission is offered as standard equipment. That transmission is paired to a 106 horsepower, 1.5-liter inline-four cylinder engine. This top trim Yaris SE rings in at $20,253, a 30% jump over the base price. That SE trim affords the Yaris a lot of small interior upgrades, some sweet headlights and nice 16-inch alloy wheels. All Yaris models come with nine airbags as standard. This littlest of Toyotas also has Toyota Safety Sense, a suite of active and passive safety technologies, like collision avoidance.

At first glance

Aesthetics are very subjective, but I find the Yaris to be a cute little thing. It’s straight out of a Japanese anime, big bright eyes and all. Likewise, the Blue Eclipse Metallic paintwork is vibrant and attractive. The looks were polarizing to everyone I asked, but the color has universal approval.

While some people found the exterior enjoyable, the interior got less love. Initially, the Yaris’ interior seems a bit plain. Beyond the driver’s controls, and the Toyota Entune infotainment system, there isn’t much to play with inside the Yaris. That said, the pleat-like front seats are attractive, and multiple passengers mentioned them as a positive during my time with the Yaris.

Everything in the Yaris is exactly where you would expect it to be. This is a very straight-forward car to get in and go. So, let’s hit the road and see what it’s all about.


Jake Stumph is a lifelong car enthusiast and racer, who has operated as the content editor for Internet Brands Automotive since 2015. He runs Corvette Forum, 6SpeedOnline, Honda-tech, and LS1tech, among other Internet Brands Automotive websites. His work has been featured by several other prominent automotive outlets, including Jalopnik and Autobytel.

He obtained a bachelor's degree in Political Science at the Ohio State University in 2013, then pivoted from covering politics and policy to writing about his automotive adventures, something that, he says, is a lot more fun. Since that time, he has established connections with most of the world's major automakers, as well as other key brands in the automotive industry.

He enjoys track days, drifting, and autocross, at least, when his cars are running right, which is uncommon. You can check out what he's up to on his YouTube channel, as well as his Jake Stumph Racing Instagram account. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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