2015 Toyota Yaris

Starting MSRP: $14,845 - $17,620

Estimated MPG: 30 city / 37 hwy

2015 Toyota Yaris Review

Once the leader in the subcompact class, the 2015 Toyota Yaris remains as a solid choice for consumers. It is the only subcompact offered in both a three- and a five-door body style. The Yaris has a reputation for being reliable and sturdy, as well as one of the best values in the market.

By Randy Stern
Last Updated 05/03/2016

The Toyota Yaris went through a mid-cycle refresh for 2015. A new front clip appears on both the three- and five-door hatchback models, along with minor changes throughout. The venerable 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Yaris, available with a choice of a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The Yaris includes three trims: L, LE and SE.

Exterior

Exterior
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In its mid-cycle refresh for 2015, the Toyota Yaris gets a new nose and an updated taillight cluster. The new nose received a mix of criticism. The lower grille is a triangular shape that appears "angry," while the new headlight clusters now include LED daytime running lights. The SE model receives new sixteen-inch alloy wheels.

The overall size of the Yaris has not changed. The 155.5-inch overall length and 98.8-inch wheelbase are perfect for city use. The hatchback opens high from the bumper for better cargo access in tight spaces.

Interior

Interior
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Toyota offers cabins with good ergonomics, fit and finish. The Yaris has decent materials all around, but to the scale of the price and class. There are some drawbacks, such as the lack of telescoping steering wheel adjustment and a temperature gauge. Instrumentation is big, control stalks are exact and the steering wheel has a thick rim. In all, the best way to describe interior quality is durable.

New for 2015 is updated upholstery for all models. The SE offers great bolstering up front and improved comfort with its black cloth and white stitching scheme. 

Rear seats offer enough comfort with excellent leg- and headroom for tall passengers. The Yaris will seat up to five.

Cargo space expands with the rear seats folded down. With them in place, there is still 15.6 cubic feet of room for groceries.

Performance

Performance
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Only one engine powers the Yaris – a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 106 horsepower. Both a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic transmission are available across the Yaris range. It is rated at 30 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway with the manual. The automatic is rated at 36 mpg on the highway.

Modern subcompacts are equipped with six gears in both manual and automatic models. The four-speed automatic in this SE tester lagged when going from a stop and driving up freeway on-ramps. 

Once it gets going, it is a quiet driver that loves to lead traffic. The ride is solid, absorbing bad road surfaces along the way. There is minimal roll when turning with the suspension at even keel. The steering system has a numb feel, but offers a tight turning radius when the moment calls for it. The Yaris also has great brakes with four discs at the corners. Stopping power is very good in both normal and panic situations.

Technology

Technology
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The Yaris comes standard with an Entune audio system with a 6.1-inch touch screen, HD Radio, a USB port and Bluetooth. Our test Yaris also had a navigation system included. The lack of satellite radio options and Entune App Suite were a surprise for someone who is used to Toyota's other products. Getting to certain screens to pair phones or accessing the navigation screen was difficult. There was no button for the navigation at all outside of the 6.1-inch touch screen.

However, the six speakers located around the Yaris' cabin provided a superior quality of sound.

Safety

Safety
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated the Yaris 5-door with a four-star overall rating. A five-star rating was earned on the side impact crash test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave Good ratings in all crash tests, except for the small overlap front test where the Yaris received a moderate rating.

Toyota equips the Yaris with the Star Safety System. Features include stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and smart stop technology. The Yaris comes with nine air bags around the cabin.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The base price for the Yaris is $14,845 for a three-door L model. The SE 5-door tester with the automatic and the navigation system came with a sticker price of $19,524. This is about the price range of most of the Yaris's competitors.

Overall

Overall
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Even with the mid-cycle refresh, the Yaris may be falling behind its rivals. The competition offer six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, advanced infotainment and connectivity options and active safety features. Yet, Toyota maintains its place in the segment by offering a hatchback car – with two or four doors – for customers who rather have things as simple as possible.

Simplicity also translates into reliability. This is the main reason customers look at the Toyota Yaris. Along with durability and its fun-to-drive factor, the Yaris could be a simple choice to make.