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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Toyota Yaris

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Expert's Rating


MPG 30 City / 36 Highway
  • Many standard safety features
  • Easy to drive
  • Low base price
  • Some cabin materials feel cheap
  • Inconvenient center instrument cluster
  • Lacks quality found in other Toyotas
, Automotive Editor -
The Yaris is one of the easiest cars to drive, making it perfect for a first-time driver, college student or commuter. It's one of the most fuel-efficient non-Hybrid vehicles currently available, and its low base price is tough to beat.


Perfect for city dwellers desiring economical reliability, the Toyota Yaris offers its’ namesake’s strengths in a subcompact size. After debuting a full-redesign in 2012, the hatchback arrives with little changed for 2013 besides a standard USB port and Bluetooth on the base model.

The Yaris comes in one body-style but offers two versions: a 3-door hatchback (offered in L and LE trims) and a 5-door hatchback (offered in L, LE and SE trims). With very similar interior/exterior dimensions between the two, the key advantage held by the 5-door is in rear passengers having an individual point of entry/exit rather than needing to squeeze past the front seats.

Plus the top-level SE trim is only available on the 5-door body-style. Still, all styles and trims seat five passengers and are powered by the same 1.5L 4-cylinder engine. A four-speed automatic is the sole transmission equipped on the 5-door L as well as both versions of the LE. However, that same automatic is an option on the 3-door L and 5-door SE, which receive a manual transmission as standard. When equipped with the automatic, the Yaris powertrain gets up to 30/36 mpg city/highway. Bumping highway mileage up to 37 mpg, the five-speed manual transmission is also better at highway speeds where the four-speed automatic fails to find the engine’s power-band. Inside the Yaris, passengers will find a modern cabin filled with standard features but a good amount of plastic as well. Nevertheless, it is quite spacious for a subcompact and fits adults comfortably in the rear seats.

First introduced to the American market in 2007, the Yaris (and similar subcompacts) had been a rarity, yet now has its’ hands full within this rapidly growing segment. Though the 2012 redesign was greatly needed, it did not do enough to put the tiny Toyota at the top-of-the-class. Competitors like the Chevrolet Sonic and Mazda2 come with exciting performance yet a similarly spacious interior cabin as the Toyota. On the other hand, the Yaris does have more standard equipment and a lower base price than either the Sonic or Mazda2. A model that is not speedy but offers fuel-efficiency plus some upscale features as well is the refreshed Hyundai Accent. The Kia Rio is available as a hatchback or sedan and - unlike the Yaris - has an optional infotainment system.

While not the most refined subcompact, Toyota understands the priorities of economy-car shoppers, and this Yaris is proof.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Toyota Yaris
Starting price

2013 Toyota Yaris L

Recommended for: Buyers interested in the 3-door model with a manual transmission and/or the lowest-priced Yaris.

The base trim for each hatchback variant, the 3-door L is equipped standard with a manual transmission while the 5-door L is only offered with an automatic. L trim exterior features include halogen headlights, color-keyed grille surround and chrome around the rear license plate. Moving inside, L trim owners receive air-conditioning, six speakers and a 90-day SiriusXM trial. Other standard media features are an AM/FM/CD player, auxiliary audio jack and a USB port with iPod connectivity. Both front seats are fabric-trimmed and 4-way adjustable plus the rear seat allows for maximum cargo capacity when folded. The steering wheel has tilt functionality and the black interior door handles are accented by a metallic interior trim.

2013 Toyota Yaris
Starting price

2013 Toyota Yaris LE

Recommended for: Those wanting keyless entry and other updated features.

Unlike the two other trims, the LE can only be had with the 4-speed automatic transmission, whether on the 3- or 5-door hatchback. Riding on 15-inch steel wheels, LE owners have outside mirrors painted to match the body, as too are the door handles. Interior features include a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat and a 60/40 fold-down rear seat, allowing for more cargo space without sacrificing 100% of the rear seating. Cruise control is equipped along with steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Adding convenience is the remote keyless entry system, a feature not available on the L trim. For security, the engine immobilizer system will shut down the Yaris if a key without the correct transponder chip is inserted in the ignition.

2013 Toyota Yaris
Starting price

2013 Toyota Yaris SE

Recommended for: Subcompact shoppers wanting five doors and non-covered wheels.

Adding to or replacing features equipped with the LE trim, the Yaris SE is only available on the 5-door model and comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission (automatic is available). Smoked trim is inserted around the headlights and this is the only trim that installs fog lights. Another SE exclusive are the four 16-inch alloy wheels. Other appearance upgrades include sport front/rear bumpers, rear spoiler and a special SE badge. The front seats are sport fabric-trimmed and leather is added to the steering wheel as well as the shift lever. Inside the gauge cluster is sport analog instrumentation with an LCD display and ECO driving indicator.

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