Toyota Yaris 2016 Price and Review - A budget car that feels every bit of its low sticker price, the Toyota Yaris 2016 is an afterthought in a competitive segment. A four-speed automatic and five-speed manual are available as mates for the Toyota Yaris 106-hp 1.5-liter inline-four, and an SE model is available for those seeking a sportier ride. Good visibility and the standard Toyota Entune infotainment system are some of the Yaris’s best features.
No one wants to be the kid at the front of the bus who loses his lunch money to the school bullies. It’s sad for the New Toyota Yaris 2016, then, that it’s so easily beaten up on by others in its segment. Our testing shows it to be slower, louder, less comfortable, and less useful than the other kids on the small-car bus, including, inexplicably, some of those riding in the back of the sales race. They eat its lunch.
For starters, it’s impossible to ignore the Yaris LE’s subpar, 106-hp 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and wildly outdated standard four-speed automatic transmission. A 2015 update designed to smooth gearchanges seems to have improved shift quality, but it would take more ratios to quiet the Yaris’s loud protestations when coaxed to highway speeds. Getting it to 60 mph took 10.2 seconds; competitors with more power and six-speed automatics are quicker, including the Ford Fiesta at 8.7 seconds, the Hyundai Accent at 9.9 seconds, and even the forgotten Kia Rio at 9.5 seconds.
Acceleration from 50 to 70 mph in our top-gear test took an alarming 7.3 seconds; we categorize this statistic as a measure of “passing time,” but it’s also a key metric when merging onto a freeway. Competitors with stronger engines and more gears for their automatics to choose from when downshifting generally are a second or more quicker in this test. Our suspicion that engine revs were pegged near the top of its range during even moderate acceleration will have to go unconfirmed, because Toyota neglected to install a tachometer. The Yaris is quite a bit quicker when equipped with a five-speed manual transmission, but that’s not available in the LE four-door hatchback we tested, only the three-door base L model and the top-dog SE. Even so, it’s still a five-cog manual gearbox when many competitors have six-speed transmissions.
The News Toyota Yaris 2016 lateral grip of 0.83 g falls just about in the middle of the pack, although the car suffered excessive understeer on the skidpad, and we found a similar propensity to plow on highway ramps. The 185 feet it required to stop from 70 mph is a figure usually seen from much larger cars (the gargantuan Lexus LX570 SUV stopped two feet shorter). This is a disquieting trait shared by many inexpensive subcompacts, most likely attributable to relatively small all-season tires tuned for long life and fuel economy, not short panic stops. If you get a Yaris going fast, leave plenty of stopping distance ahead.
It’s hard to imagine any driver patient enough to mat the accelerator for the long wait to achieve the Yaris’s drag-limited top speed of 108 mph. High speeds are accompanied by significant road noise despite Toyota’s efforts to mitigate the drone with the 2016 update. Both the Ford Fiesta and the Hyundai Accent are quieter at wide-open throttle, the Fiesta by one decibel and the Accent by five.
Inside, there are a few appealing details. A large windshield and low beltline offer excellent visibility, so attentive drivers should never be surprised by a vehicle hiding in the blind spots. A standard 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity also includes an auxiliary jack and a USB port; its operation is both intuitive and useful. You’ll look in vain for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in any Toyota, though, as the company is going its own way on smartphone connectivity. The cloth seats are a bit thinly padded for our taste and feel cramped for larger drivers, but they at least have aesthetic appeal, which is more than we can say about some budget-car interiors.
Bumping up to the automatic-transmission SE trim level for an additional $1260 brings a six-way adjustable driver’s seat and leather touches on the steering wheel and shifter. The tachometer we missed in our test car comes standard in the SE, as do LED running lights. A rear spoiler is a perplexing addition, but it adds some character. The bottom-level L trim is two-door only and loses the aluminum wheels, power mirrors, & chrome detailing that came standard on this LE. The Yaris’s lone windshield wiper, standard on all trim levels, is perhaps its most endearing feature, softening some of our frustration with this little guy.
The gas and brake pedals are placed unusually close to the driver push the seat back to get some legroom and you find the non-telescoping steering wheel rather too far away, necessitating a bent-knees, extended-arms posture worthy of its own asana. Admirers of the Honda Fit’s super-versatile seats and surprisingly functional cargo hold will be disappointed by the Yaris’s stowage area. With all seats up, the difference between the two cars is barely more than one cubic foot. However, with the Yaris’s rear seats folded flat, which we appreciate, its compact spare tire raises the load floor and precludes hauling bulkier items that the Fit can accommodate.