2020 Toyota Yaris: 6 Things We Like (and 4 Not So Much)

Posted on: September 8, 2020, by :
Blue 2020 Toyota Yaris rear angle view
2020 Toyota Yaris sedanCars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

If you’re thinking the 2020 Toyota Yaris sedan looks a little fish-faced or long-nosed for a Toyota, you’d be right. Thankfully, there’s a pretty good reason for that. (Hint: It’s not really a Toyota.)

The 2020 Yaris doesn’t look much like its stablemates. That would be because both the sedan and hatchback iterations are built by Mazda and are Toyota-branded versions of the Mazda2, which isn’t available in the U.S. anymore. Known as one of the cheapest new cars you can buy, the Yaris definitely benefits from this injection of Mazda; turns out, what’s easy on the wallet also can be fun to drive.

Looking for the details on just how much fun is in this small package? Check out Cars.com’s Aaron Bragman and his full review via the related link above. For the short list, look no further. Here are six things we like (and four we don’t) about the 2020 Toyota Yaris sedan:

Things We Like

1. Zippy Despite Its Modest Engine

Under the hood is a normally aspirated 1.5-liter four-cylinder with Mazda’s Skyactiv-G engine design. The system puts out only 106 horsepower and 103 pounds-feet of torque, but it’s actually pretty lively at low speeds.

2020 Toyota Yaris steering wheel and dashboard
2020 Toyota Yaris sedanCars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

2. Impressive Handling

This is where you can really tell Mazda got its hands on this car. Steering is responsive and tight enough to make it seem almost fun. Steering feedback is also great. The ride itself feels controlled and stable, even at highway speeds.

3. What You Came For: Gas Mileage

As you’d expect of a small commuter car like this, the Yaris is quite fuel-efficient. The automatic version gets an EPA-rated 32/40/35 mpg city/highway/combined, but Bragman said it’s easy to eke out a few more mpg. (On his 200-mile, mixed city and highway test drive, he managed to get about 42 mpg.)

4. Multimedia System

For a car in this class, the Yaris has a pretty good suite of tech, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the touchscreen. If you’re into tracking your fuel economy, there’s a screen for monitoring how your Yaris is performing.

2020 Toyota Yaris center stack display touchscreen with fuel economy monitor
2020 Toyota Yaris sedanCars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

5. Decent Cargo Space for a Small Car

The Yaris has 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space, pretty good for a small sedan and plenty of room for your average grocery haul. For larger items, the backseats fold down to make more space.

6. Low Starting Price

The 2020 Yaris sedan starts at $16,605 (including destination fee), making it one of the least expensive new cars on the market. Opting for a cheaper new car over a similarly priced, but bigger, used car has its benefits: The new-car warranty is a great incentive, and it’s nice to know you’re the only person who’s ever been behind the wheel.

Things We Don’t

1. Noisy Cabin

Wind and road noise permeate the cabin of this light little car, and it’s loud. But adding insulation that would reduce the sound would also add weight, which would chip away at the Yaris’ fuel economy.

2020 Toyota Yaris trunk
2020 Toyota Yaris sedanCars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

2. Feels Small

The Yaris is not a big car — though, to its credit, it’s not pretending to be. The front seats feel narrow. And once you negotiate how to split the minimal legroom between the front and rear passengers, you’ll find that everyone in the car is a little bit uncomfortable.

3. Touchscreen Doesn’t Work While in Motion

The multimedia touchscreen turns into more of a multimedia display when you’re driving, which is quite frustrating. If you want to use the system, you have to do so through the rotary controller between the seats on the center console, which doesn’t seem any less distracting than just clicking around on the touchscreen.

4. Surpassed in Safety Tech

The Yaris isn’t necessarily lacking in terms of safety; in fact, a low-speed collision alert system with autonomous braking comes standard. But competitors like the Nissan Versa and Honda Fit, which once lagged behind in the way of onboard safety tech, are now giving the Yaris a run for its money in this area.