- Helping you drive happy

2016 Toyota Yaris Sedan Review

Don't let it confuse you Automotive columnist: , Updated:

You’ve likely spotted one of these on the road lately. You’ve likely been confused by it. At first glance you think Mazda. You’d not be wrong. Take a second look and you might think Scion. Again, you’d not be wrong. Then upon seeing the crest on the hood, you finally realize it’s a Toyota.

Insert raised eyebrows and nod of approval here.

Throw all that together and you get the 2016 Toyota Yaris Sedan. In other markets it’s branded the Scion iA or Mazda2 sedan. Here in Canada Toyota’s smartly chosen to launch it as the Yaris sedan. Why smart? Well, Scion’s historically don’t do very well in Canada, and Mazda recently announced they’re chopping the 2 from our streets, so this was the logical choice. And I truly think it was a highly intelligent decision.

What Toyota’s done is brought out a vehicle that’s reliable like a Toyota, looks cool like a Scion, and drives well like a Mazda. It’s a winning combination, really.

Looks like a Scion  
So, this is definitely a different looking sedan. Let’s be honest, it’s not the most attractive car out there, but it’s eye-catching and that’s what makes it stand out and will have you take notice. It’s a little bit edgy and a little bit modern.  What’s nice about this little Toyota Yaris sedan is it has some character, has some attitude now whereas before it had a tendency to blend in with the masses.

Inside, that modern look continues, and that’s mostly because you’re sitting in a Mazda.  You’ll instantly recognize the steering wheel, gauge cluster, and well … everything really. The interior is basically straight out of a base Mazda3 with the floating radio-clock-like stereo perched on the dash, same HVAC buttons and knobs, as well as the shifter.

That alone makes the 2016 Yaris Sedan appealing. Mazda interiors are well built and crafted, and easy to live with. There’s plenty of room in the Yaris as well, with 382 litres of trunk space, and seating available for five (though I’m not sure I’d recommend stuffing three adults on the rear bench if you want them all the remain friends afterwards). My son’s baby seat fit nicely back there, and he had a good amount of legroom to do whatever 4 year olds do with their legs while they’re in the car (for real, where does he get his energy?).

Drives like a Mazda
The drive might be the very best part about the 2016 Toyota Yaris because it is uncharacteristically not Toyota, it is Mazda through and through. Equipped with a 1.5L 4-cylinder mill that produces 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque, the Yaris isn’t blazingly fast. But it’s enjoyable to drive, for sure. The 6-speed manual definitely helped in the fun-to-drive department, and I’m certain the 6-speed auto would have been just as amusing.

That small engine means small fuel economy numbers too. In the city, you’re going to see in the 7L/100km range, and on the highway you can see those numbers drop as low as 5.7L/100km. Fuel economy is a huge selling point for the Yaris and will likely drag in buyers if the overall looks and interior don’t.

The 2016 Toyota Yaris sedan isn’t meant to be pushed on the road; the 1.5L gets a bit loud and obnoxious when the throttle is pressed harshly, and throttle response is a bit of a bore. However, the vehicle is responsive and the 1.5L tries its darndest to perform whenever asked. Coupled with the 6-speed manual, you can play around a bit more and have a bit of fun, but this is no racecar, that’s for sure.

Will last like a Toyota
Of course the other appealing factor here is that it is a Toyota. Known for their reliability and longevity, the Yaris Sedan carries both those qualities in an affordable package. Starting at just under $17k, the 2016 Toyota Yaris Sedan comes well-equipped with keyless entry, cruise control, USB port, and Bluetooth capability, along with superb gas mileage and great new looks.

If you want the heated seats and backup camera (like I had in my tester) the price jumps just above $20,000. Again, a highly affordable vehicle that’s sure to do precisely what you ask of it, when you ask it; and really what more would you want from your daily driver?

2016 Toyota Yaris
toyota yaris 2016
2016 Toyota Yaris
Review this Vehicle
Space and Access
Driving Dynamics
General Appreciation
Forgot your password? Click here
2016 Toyota Yaris pictures
2016 Toyota Yaris sedan
Photo: S.D'Amour