Written by Marco Carvajal
2018 Toyota Yaris 5-Door SE
The compact Hatchback 2018 Toyota Yaris is sporty and stylish for its segment.
The 2018 Yaris offers a very low value price from 15K to 19K, with new enhancements and convenience features.
I am test driving the five-door Sporty SE with manual transmission during 500 Miles trough Florida. Enough milage to enjoy and understand the limitations and benefits that a Yaris can provide to car drivers.
The Yaris is very attractive for for buyers on a budget as it is the Toyota’s least expensive model, but equipped with many standard safety and convenience features and a basic but attractive design. One of the main reasons why budget buyers look for the Yaris is because of its great fuel-efficiency. Some Yaris fans say that a Yaris can run just with the smell of gasoline. If you like compact cars, like to save on your budget for gas, maintenance and car purchase price, then the Yaris might be the one automotive for you to fall in love with.
The Toyota Yaris is a compact hatchback available with two main body styles, with a single engine and two transmissions. The Toyota Yaris design varies in some countries, with clear differences for the markets of Asia, Australia, Europe and America. The Yaris has different names on different countries, depending on the generation and body style. Some of the names used are Yaris, Belta, Echo, Platz, Vios or Vitz.
The 2018 Yaris is offered on 3 trim levels, L, LE and SE
On 2018 Toyota renewed the Yaris style giving it a sportier exterior look. The trim levels L and LE have the same instrument panel as the SE. The Yaris L and LE are offered with three or five doors. The SE model is offered only on five doors. Manual transmission is available on the three-door L and the five-door SE. There is also available automatic transmission in all 3 trim levels.
2018 Toyota Yaris 5-Door SE
- Manual $18,260
- Automatic $19,060
The sporty Yaris SE has an MSRP of $18,260 for the five-door with a manual transmission and $19,060 for the five-door automatic. Both prices have an increase of $1,060 compared to the 2017 pricing.Other trim levels of the Yaris 2018 start at $15,250, all the way to 19,060 for the SE Automatic.
The exterior of the 2018 Toyota Yaris 5-Door SE is beautiful, stylish and attractive. It is very small and cute. If it would have a more luxury interior it could compete with more unique cars like the mini-cooper. The hatchback design is very practical and ideal for large cities with limited space. The front grille looks modern and trendy.
Standard features of the Yaris L include 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights and high-beam control, electric door and window locks, air conditioning, height-adjustable driver’s seat, folding rear seat, Bluetooth, 6.1-inch touch screen and a six speaker sound system with CD player, HD radio and USB port. The LE adds or replaces 15-inch alloy wheels, electric side mirrors, remote locking and unlocking, cruise control and improved interior trim. The SE comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, projector beam headlights, LED running lights, fog lights, special exterior styling elements, four-wheel disc brakes, a larger 7-inch touch screen, an upholstered steering wheel in leather and improved fabric upholstery.
I feel that Toyota is doing great with the exterior look of the Yaris, but there is room for improvement on the interior.
In terms of safety the Yaris is providing all the basic security systems that a driver will expect from a value price, it has 9 airbags, stability control (VSC), traction control (TRAC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic braking distribution (EBD) and braking assistance as standard equipment. The seats have been designed to avoid strong blows to the neck and its structure was designed to absorb impacts. Lane departure warning and frontal collision warning with automatic emergency is standard.
Passenger space and interior controls are acceptable, interior materials are basic and could be enhanced, the cabin has a compact reasonably space, but we need to take in consideration the good budget of this value car. The driver’s seat adjusts sufficiently even for tall drivers. Two adults should fit very comfortably. There is excellent forward visibility thanks to the large windshield and the high front side windows.
The Entune is a touch screen interface that works well with basic functions. The climate controls is basic but works well. The headroom of the rear seat is restrained by the sloping roof that meets the hatchback. Leg room in the rear is above the segment what is definitely a plus for Yaris backseat passengers.
Large rear head restraints and bulging rear quarter pillars prevent rearward vision. Unlike most competitors, there is no available rear-view mirror space. The cargo space is limited even for a subcompact, but you can recline the back seats to provide a larger cargo space.
Engine and Performance
A four-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine with 106 horsepower and 103 pound feet of torque is standard on all styles of body and models, coupled with a five-speed manual transmission, while an automatic four-speed transmission is optional.
The five-speed manual gearbox features lightweight effort with easy-to-find gears and intuitive clutch control. I am not in love with the manual transmission of the Yaris, and unless you really need a manual transmission I suggest to upgrade and buy it with the automatic transmission.
The Yaris is fun to drive, especially in crowded cities like Miami downtown or Miami Beach. Super easy to park in small spaces, easy to maneuver on congested small streets.
Its light weight and excellent steering and reasonable grip make it a small but safe car in the city. On the highway it can reach reasonable fast speeds. As I drive on the highway I-95 it performs well and is very fast considering its small 1.5 engine. However its compact interior is not ideal for long distance trips, but it makes the job if needed.
Why Should you Buy a Yaris?
A Yaris is very attractive for those looking for a practical and economical compact car, one of the lowest prices and some of the best fuel economy. The segment of compact and hatchback cars has a very strong competition.
Cars like the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, Mazda 2 and others try to offer a more luxury interior or additional features for a similar price, but Toyota continues to outperform the competition because of the value, brand name and support guaranteed by Toyota.
Basic not luxury materials and finishing on the Yaris play a role against the competition that is taking this segment to a better level providing more, but It is hard to compete with the value provided by Toyota, low price, amazing fuel economy, beautiful exterior style and many new upgraded features. Brand names Yaris and Toyota are too well positioned for budget car buyers that don’t want to risk buying from a competitor, but instead play it safe by buying a car from the largest car company in the world, Toyota.