Sedans & Coupes

Mazda Quietly Makes 1 of the Cheapest Cars You Can Buy, But Should You?

Not many people know that the Toyota Yaris is actually made by Mazda.  However, unlike most of Mazda’s lineup, the Yaris isn’t particularly sporty or popular. According to its review on Cars.com, there’s actually plenty to dislike about this small car.

Despite its flaws, the Toyota Yaris isn’t exactly a complete waste of money. In fact, Car and Driver went so far as to name it the best compact car of 2020. However, there are some problems that potential buyers should definitely consider before getting a Toyota Yaris.

How did this Mazda get a Toyota badge?

The Toyota Yaris is actually a Mazda2, which was discontinued for sale in the United States. The hatchback Yaris used to be purely Toyota’s creation until Mazda took control again in 2019. In other countries, the Yaris is still made by Toyota, and it’s actually a completely different car.

It’s only offered as a hybrid model, with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that can make 115 hp. It may be slow, but it has excellent handling and saves drivers a lot of money on fuel. Driving Electric reports that the Toyota Yaris Hybrid scores up to 69 mpg combined city/highway.

Why drivers love the Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris available stateside is pretty efficient as well. Its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine gets 35 mpg combined city/highway, but it easily scored 42 mpg during real-world testing. The Toyota Yaris is unsurprisingly low on power, capable of only 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque despite being made by Mazda.

Despite this, testers at Cars.com still had fun driving the Yaris. It feels stable on highway lanes and there’s no noticeable body roll to be detected. Around town, it feels fast and it benefits from Mazda’s signature fun handling. Its exceptionally small stature also makes it a good commuter car.

Some annoying things about the Toyota Yaris

RELATED: The 2008 Toyota Yaris Is a Must-Avoid Vehicle

The Toyota Yaris is equipped with some desirable features, like smartphone integration and a gas mileage monitor. However, there’s no denying that it looks outdated compared to rivals in the compact segment. The touchscreen also doesn’t let drivers access it while the car is in motion, which is frustrating to deal with.

Unlike other Mazda vehicles, the Yaris also has minimal safety offerings: the mandated rearview camera and low-speed collision alert. Plenty of other small cars offer more features in both the standard and higher trims. While it got great scores on crash tests, some drivers may feel more secure in another vehicle.

Part of the reason the Yaris gets such great gas mileage is that it doesn’t weigh that much. Its curb weight maxes out at 2,482 pounds, less than the Honda Fit or Nissan Versa. However, this also means that the Yaris is extremely vulnerable to exterior noise.

There’s always some minor engine noise, but it complains the most when you accelerate. Consumer Reports also said that wind noise is a big problem on the highway. This could potentially make long trips an uncomfortable experience.

The Toyota Yaris also isn’t the best car to take on a trip because of its size. Its cabin is tight for adults, and only children will feel comfortable in the tiny second row. There are also no additional comfort options like heated seats. The Yaris has an average amount of cargo space for its class, but the hatchback’s seats don’t fold flat.

The Toyota Yaris is an indisputable value for a new car, retailing for only $16,605. However, other rivals come with more features and space for passengers. It’s a fine car for a single city dweller, but it has little appeal for everyone else.