The 2018 Toyota Yaris is two cars: a fun-to-drive sedan called the "iA," and a hatchback relic that's hard to recommend. Four doors=four thumbs up.
Low cost doesn't need to be low rent. Some versions of the 2018 Toyota Yaris prove as much.
The 2018 Yaris could be one of those options, depending on the model. Why model? Because the Yaris is one name for two cars—the hatchback Yaris, and the unrelated sedan called the Yaris iA.
Both fall closer to the affordable end of Toyota’s lineup, but while the Yaris feels like it’s built to a price, the Yaris iA feels like a good value.
We rate the 2018 Toyota Yaris iA at a 6.0 out of 10 this year, with a specific note: that’s for the more popular sedan. The Yaris would score much lower if it were rated on its own. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
This year’s news is a restyled front bumper and rear end on hatchback models. It’s an incremental improvement for that helps the small hatchback gain a point for style, but we’re not convinced many people will know the difference.
The Yaris iA stands pat for another year with no changes. The Yaris iA was designed and is built by Mazda and sold in other parts of the world as a Mazda 2.
Hatchback versions generally offer more versatility than their sedan counterparts, but the iA sedan vaults its counterpart with a better drive for similar money.
The Yaris hatchback is offered in L, LE, and SE trims, with three or five doors, and the Yaris iA is available in a single trim.
Both cars are powered by 1.5-liter inline-4 engines married to a range of transmissions. Their spec sheets might look the same, but the hatch’s engine is made by Toyota, while the sedan’s is a wholly different engine made by Mazda. The hatchback offers a 5-speed manual and an ancient 4-speed automatic. The sedan is offered with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.
Both offer touchscreens for infotainment (6.1 inches in the hatchback and 7.0 inches in the sedan) although neither support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
We have a few problems with the Yaris, but its standard safety systems aren’t among those issues. The Yaris and Yaris iA are equipped with a suite of advanced safety features that includes lane departure warning and a low-speed automatic emergency braking system. The sedan has earned top “Good” scores by the IIHS, but the hatchback is saddled with a worrying “Marginal” rating for small-overlap frontal impact safety.