Fuel Economy
Exterior Styling

The Yaris’s ride is pretty good – bumps and dips are absorbed pretty well and it is firm enough so the car doesn’t feel sloppy. I found that you hear things like expansion joints as the tires thump over them, though it’s not intrusive. The handling is also fine. Although there’s plenty of body roll thrown in for your amusement park pleasure, the car grips competently in corners and remains predictable. The weak point, as is the case with many Toyotas, is the numb steering. It’s floppy on centre and requires more adjustments and input than I expected.

I thought that the Yaris can be surprisingly quiet for an entry-level vehicle. Engine noise becomes noticeable when you hit higher rpm, but it’s never loud or thrashy. You do get some vibration coming through the pedal and floorboards under throttle. I think the road noise can be partially blamed on the tires more than anything, as it was quite variable depending on the road surface. Once I hit higher speeds, the road noise was constant but never overwhelming. Wind noise showed up at highway speeds, especially at the base of the A-pillars.

2014 Toyota Yaris
2014 Toyota Yaris. Click image to enlarge

The brakes are powerful enough but they’re a bit grabby at lower speeds. Visibility out of the front and sides is great, but shoulder checking is hampered by the fat rear pillars, and the rear view is constricted by the back headrests, which don’t fold down.

It’s hard to get excited about a vehicle like the Yaris. But that’s not why Toyota designed or built this car. The point here is offer basic transportation at a reasonable price. The Yaris can also boast “epic reliability” and that is something that matters.

WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was pretty low. She did not go for the exterior styling, although she noted the interior was fine for a beginner car. She was choked when she saw the tiny trunk, as it wouldn’t nearly accommodate her daily shopping habit, but the final straw was the lack of lit vanity mirrors.

The Yaris competes with a number of vehicles out there, all of which provide reasonable amounts of space, entry-level cabin tech, acceptable levels of performance, good fuel economy, highly subjective styling and variable reliability records. Whether it’s the one for you depends on which of those factors are most important to you.

2014 Toyota Yaris
2014 Toyota Yaris. Click image to enlarge

Second Opinion, Jacob Black

The Toyota Yaris can be summed up by the phrase, “path of least resistance”. Its assault on the market relies on simplicity, ease of use and lack of offense rather than flash and awe. The seating position is extremely high, because consumers have demonstrated that a high seating position is desirable with their love of crossovers.

The gear shifter on the automatic gearbox is light and easy to use, as is the radio, the manually adjustable seats and the tilting steering wheel.

The $1,100 Convenience package supplies some basic luxuries, namely air conditioning, power windows and central locking. There are some things even the tightest of misers won’t do in 2013, and rolling up one’s own windows is chief among them.

The engine isn’t spectacular, and isn’t designed for city traffic cut-and-thrust. For an enjoyable drive in the Yaris, relax, be calm, and go with the flow. The Yaris doesn’t enjoy hustle or impatience; it is a no-fuss commuter car.

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Test Drive: 2014 Toyota Yaris

It is this simple mission and the surprisingly airy interior that make the Yaris such a charmer. People who drive it daily will come to love its simplicity and its honesty. Come 2150, the Amish might be driving a Yaris. Parents too might enjoy it for its hassle-free reputation, ease-of-use and lack of capability curbing urges for silly behaviour. If she were of that age, I’d buy one for my daughter.

Pricing: 2014 Toyota Yaris
Base price (LE trim):
Options: $1,000 4-speed automatic transmission; $1,100 Convenience Package (A/C, power windows, cruise control, keyless entry)
Freight: $1,495
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $18,590

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