2016 Toyota Yaris Overview
Pros & Cons
- Well-made interior
- Roomy seats
- Good number of standard tech features
- Outdated transmission choices
- No armrest or telescoping steering wheel
- Poor cargo space
Notable for 2016
- No major changes
Toyota Yaris Rankings and Research
The 2016 Toyota Yaris ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact Cars category. Currently the Toyota Yaris has a score of 7.1 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 40 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
2016 Toyota Yaris Pictures
2016 Toyota Yaris Review
At first glance, the 2016 Toyota Yaris demonstrates a practical cabin layout, high-grade interior materials, room for carting around passengers, and standard equipment you might not find on other subcompact rivals.
Dig a little deeper, however, and you'll see small details on the car that could result in greater annoyances down the road. A lack of a telescoping wheel, or even an armrest between the front seats, diminishes driver comfort. The manual and automatic transmission choices are both outdated. What’s more, cargo capacity is among the worst in the class.
With so many other great options in the subcompact segment, it’s difficult to recommend the Toyota Yaris. It may accomplish some of its goals, but you could find other vehicles that bring much more to the table.
A Mediocre Engine
A 106-horsepower four-cylinder engine powers the 2016 Toyota Yaris. While acceleration is sufficient in the city, highway passing power is meek. Load a few passengers into the car, and the Yaris is bogged down even more. The engine is also quite rowdy under full throttle. For better acceleration, the Kia Rio is worth a look.
The Yaris gets 30 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. This is about average for the subcompact class. If gas mileage is a top concern of yours, consider the Chevy Spark or, if you can swing paying a bit more money, the Toyota Prius c.
The standard five-speed manual transmission’s shifter has a certain elasticity to it, and it’s imprecise. Also, the point at which the clutch engages and disengages is very shallow, meaning you barely have to push down with your foot. For some, this will be frustrating, since you’ll have less time to rev the engine compared to most other cars.
While you can upgrade to the automatic transmission, it is outmoded compared to those in almost every rival of the Yaris. With only four gears, it misses out on the better fuel efficiency offered by transmissions with more gears, and by continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), which can be found in rivals like the Honda Fit.
Handling: Nothing to Write Home About
Handling is sufficient, but not especially impressive. Improvements made in 2015 to body rigidity and the suspension result in only modest gains, like a little less body roll around corners. Even the "sportier" SE model is no hot hatch. If you’re looking for a subcompact that you can throw around corners, check out the Ford Fiesta or Chevrolet Sonic. The ride in the Yaris isn't especially sporty or smooth. Most pavement won’t give you much of a problem, but the Yaris has trouble with craggy and uneven pavement. During your test drive, be sure to try it out on different road surfaces.
The interior of the 2016 Toyota Yaris is its ace in the hole. Materials are great for the class. Many of the surfaces in the Yaris feel soft compared to the hard plastics you’d expect in a subcompact. Interior visual enhancements on the LE-and-above models add a nice touch to the appearance.
Although the steering wheel tilts, it doesn’t telescope. While the driver’s seat adjusts six different ways, some drivers may find it challenging to find the right position. The Yaris has a higher seating position, which provides great visibility of the road. There’s no armrest available between the front seats, which might bother you. Nonetheless, the front seats are comfortable and spacious. Rear seating is too, with good headroom and legroom for the two outboard seats.
Cargo Areas: Not So Spacious
Cargo capacity is a sore subject for the Yaris, which is unusual, because cargo space isn’t typically a problem for a hatchback. While the 3-Door has 15.3 cubic feet of space, the 5-Door only gets a bump up to 15.6. Other hatchbacks, like the Nissan Versa and, especially, the Hyundai Accent, beat out the Yaris, not only in terms of cargo capacity, but also in terms of passenger space.
Respectable Standard Tech
Standard tech features in the Yaris, like a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, HD Radio, and voice recognition, are not often standard on other cars in the class. Speaking of the touch-screen display, many will find it and the dashboard are laid out well and easy to operate. The multimedia interface is uncomplicated, and you can stream audio from your phone through your speakers.
The Yaris’ USB and auxiliary ports are in the glovebox, which is an odd placement. Most other cars on the market have their ports located toward the bottom of the center stack or tucked away in the center console between the seats.
Yaris Pricing, Options, and Trims
The 2016 Toyota Yaris is a front-wheel-drive hatchback that seats five. It’s available in either a 3-Door or a 5-Door body style. Both are available in L and LE trims, and the 5-Door Yaris showcases an SE trim as well. A 106-horsepower four-cylinder engine powers all models.
The Yaris L starts at $14,895 for the 3-Door variant. It comes standard with a six-speaker stereo, a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, HD Radio, auxiliary and USB ports, Bluetooth, and voice recognition. The L 3-door is equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, and you can get an automatic transmission for an extra $725. The L 5-Door only comes with the four-speed automatic, and it's priced at $15,995.
Next in line is the LE. The 3-Door models go for $16,555, and the 5-Door is $375 more. This trim line is only available with an automatic transmission. The LE tacks on alloy wheels, cruise control, audio controls on the steering wheel, remote keyless entry, and interior appearance enhancements.
The SE model only comes in the 5-Door body style, and it starts at $16,870 with a manual transmission. To upgrade to the automatic, it’s $800 more. This model adds exterior features like LED headlights with fog lights, a rear spoiler, and larger wheels. Inside, Toyota delivers the sportiest Yaris money can buy, spiffing up the seats and gauges by adding sport stitching and racier trim. The seats are more supportive, and you’ll get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.
Yaris Safety and Reliability
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Toyota Yaris the highest score of Good for four out of its five test categories. For the small overlap front test, it scored Marginal, which is the second-lowest rating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Yaris an overall rating of four out of five stars. It earns five stars for the side crash test, but only four stars for the frontal and rollover tests. The Honda Fit and Chevy Sonic scored better on their crash tests.
Regardless of trim level, the Toyota Yaris has no advanced safety features. These features are starting to trickle down to the subcompact car class, so the absence of any such options is somewhat rare. However, it is equipped with Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH), including lower anchors on both outboard rear seats and tether anchors on all rear seats.
Predicted reliability is above-average. The Yaris earns 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power and Associates. The Hyundai Accent and Honda CR-Z score better. The 2016 Toyota Yaris comes with a three-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. You’ll also get a two-year/25,000-mile free factory-schedule maintenance plan with roadside assistance.
Other Cars to Consider
The Chevy Sonic provides a much more engaging driving experience. With its balance of impressive handling and a compliant ride, it remedies many of the issues that plague the Yaris. The Sonic’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine is modern and provides lively acceleration. While they both have spacious cabins, the Sonic boasts greater cargo capacity than the Yaris. The former’s back seat feels plenty roomy. It also scored better in crash testing.
If space is of great concern to you, considering the Honda Fit is a must. The smallest member of the Honda family is a standout when it comes to hatchback cargo versatility. In the Fit, you can configure the rear seats to handle just about any shape of cargo: tall, long, or wide. Also, the Fit's transmission choices are more modern than the Yaris'. While Toyota lets you choose from two less-than-impressive transmissions, the Fit has more up-to-date choices, including a six-speed manual and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Like in the Yaris, the Fit's interior materials are quite impressive for a subcompact car. However, a rearview camera is standard in the Fit and not in the Yaris.
Details: 2016 Toyota Yaris
The 2016 Toyota Yaris seats five, has front-wheel drive, and is available as a three-door or five-door hatchback. The 3-Door models are available in L and LE trims, and 5-Door models are available in L, LE, and SE trims. All models are powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic transmission is available. The Yaris received a significant refresh in 2015 but hasn’t been fully redesigned since 2012. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2012 through 2016 model years.
Standard features in the 2016 Toyota Yaris include a six-speaker stereo, a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, a USB port, Bluetooth, and voice recognition.
Navigation, cruise control, remote keyless entry, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls are available. A navigation system is available as a dealer-installed option.
- "Unfortunately, while most cars its size are usually fun to drive, the Yaris doesn't inspire much more than daily commutes and weekend road trips. And, despite its three trim levels, even a fully loaded Yaris won't offer features like heated front seats, a power sunroof or even a telescopic steering wheel. On the flip side, if you're looking for basic, reliable and affordable transportation, the Yaris holds strong appeal." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Toyota Yaris is what you'd expect from the Toyota of subcompact cars: economical and well-built. But with so many impressive models competing in this segment, Toyota's entry gets lost in the crowd." -- Edmunds (2015)
- "Indeed, the Yaris may not be a superstar, but it's a solid competitor with the added bonuses of Toyota's traditionally strong resale value and reliability. Last year's redesign continues to stand the Yaris in good stead." -- AutoTrader (2014)
Research Prices: 2016 Toyota Yaris
Over 75,000 car shoppers have purchased a car through the U.S. News Best Price Program. Our pricing beats the national average 86% of the time with shoppers receiving average savings of $3,279 off MSRP across vehicles. See what others paid for the Toyota Yaris and get upfront pricing to make sure you don't overpay. Learn More »
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