Reviews

2013 Toyota Yaris Walk Around

Toyota Yaris was all-new for the 2012 model year, longer, lower and wider than its predecessor.

Yaris comes as a three-door or five-door liftback. A sedan version is not available. After decades, it seems the eminently practical hatchback/liftback body style is starting to prevail over the smoother looking but less functional compact sedan.

Though small, the Yaris presents an aggressive stance. Yaris features a bold nose and head-on view, with wide headlamps and integrated turn signals. The side profile shows a steep beltline and curving shoulders that flow to the rear. Yaris's lines are cool enough that in black or gray metallic, it actually looks powerful, in a subcompact sort of way.

The Yaris SE looks sportier with its wider tires, alloy wheels, spoilers and diffusers, and body-colored touches.

Interior

We love the sport seats in the Yaris SE. The high-quality fabric is rugged and the fit is all-around excellent. The bolstering is always there for you, without grabbing you. The seats are wide enough, but you don't slide around in them. They're designed to reduce fatigue, and although we didn't take any long trips in our Yaris, we can't imagine backaches being a problem. The Yaris chassis and ride feel solid, and we think the seats have a lot to do with this. There's good legroom in front, 40.6 inches.

Rear-seat roominess is decent for a subcompact, with 33.3 inches of legroom. The rear bench seat in the Yaris L model folds flat with one knob, while the Yaris LE and SE models have a 60/40 split folding rear seat. You can fit a lot of stuff in the Yaris, thanks to a cargo capacity of 15.3 cubic feet on the 3-door and 15.6 cubic feet on the 5-door, with the rear seats in place.

The interior offers a high level of detail, with a pleasing dashboard, and the speedometer in front of the driver.

There's a nice, small tachometer to the left of the speedo, which has good clear numbers with a digital window showing time, temp, odo, twin trip meters, clock, fuel mileage, and average speed. The instrument lighting glows red at night. The flat-bottom steering wheel stays out of the way of a driver's knees when climbing in and out.

Cabin conveniences are especially important in a subcompact, and the Yaris has good ones. Climate control knobs are as simple and easy as they come. It's got a roomy glovebox, six cup and bottle holders, door pockets, and cubbies near the shift lever, although no center console between the seats, where the emergency brake lever is located.

The audio system uses small buttons and icons, and we found the interface confusing. We also found the reception on the AM/FM radio was lousy. On the plus side, the Yaris L comes standard with an auxiliary jack and USB port, as well as Bluetooth audio streaming, so you can skip the old-timey broadcast stations and play your own tunes.

One of the best things about the Yaris is that it's quiet inside. The engine isn't buzzy, and there's tons of new sound insulation.

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