• 2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan

Road Test: 2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan XLE

Fuel Efficient and Affordable

What’s in a name? For one, there is no longer a Toyota Yaris iA, which henceforth is known as the Toyota Yaris sedan. The new 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan is available in three trim levels, including a first-ever premium grade of XLE. The fuel economy remains 40+ on the highway, with standard safety features found as options on more expensive cars.

One Engine, Two Transmissions

The front-wheel drive 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, putting out 106 horsepower and 103 pounds-feet of torque. Clean Fleet Report’s Yaris had the optional six-speed automatic, with a six-speed manual being standard. Running on 87 octane, the EPA rates fuel economy on the Yaris automatic at 32 mpg city/40 highway/35 combined, with the manual getting one less mpg in each category. During our time in the Yaris, we drove 284 miles of 75-percent highway and 25-percent city, where we averaged 37.8 mpg. However, over a 100-mile run with the cruise control set at 65 mph, the average was 46.9 mpg. Knowing the Yaris will certainly be used for shorter commutes, getting in the mid-forties mpg is stellar. Note: The EPA’s gas mileage formula is 45-percent highway and 55-percent city. Here in Southern California our 75-percent highway and 25-percent city driving pattern is far more real world and is why we report it to you.

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan
Mazda DNA and Toyota reputation

The impressive gas mileage is nice, but there is a tradeoff. The Yaris powertrain, engine and transmission, is designed for efficiency and not performance, so the 0-to-60 acceleration taking 9.1 seconds doesn’t sound thrilling. Putting the Yaris automatic in Sport mode brought out some life, where the torque and horsepower are maximized by the automatic’s smooth shifts.

Driving Experience: On the Road

The Yaris is a rebadged Mazda 2, a model Mazda stopped selling in America under its own name in 2017. If you are at all familiar with Mazdas, they are known for being sporty, with above average handling. This DNA is bred into the 2019 Yaris sedan, making for spirited driving.

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan
Top trim gets top wheels

In XLE trim, the Yaris sedan was nimble around tight corners, with the 16-inch alloy wheels (finished in dark gunmetal gray) shod with 185/60 all-season tires. Its 2,335 pounds was managed by front independent MacPherson struts with rear torsion beams and front stabilizer bars. The Yaris did feel solid on the road, with little buffeting from big rigs or unexpected gusts of wind. The electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering was smooth and fairly neutral. Overall, the Yaris XLE absorbed road imperfections well, was well-balanced, and was easy to drive. But remember, this is a subcompact and it will not ride like larger, heavier cars.

Stopping was straight and true, with no fading, from the front power-assisted ventilated discs and rear drum brakes. An assured feeling came from the four-wheel anti-lock brake system, dynamic stability and traction control, and electronic brake force distribution.

Driving Experience: Exterior

The 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan has a large, trapezoidal grille with a honeycomb insert and inset fog lights. Toyota’s grilles can be a bit too much for some people, so give it a chance at first glance. The LED headlights that sweep into the fenders are trimmed in chrome, as is the grille. Halogen fog lights set wide on the lower fascia complete the front end. From the side profile, most noticeable is the slant from the top of the windshield to the front grille. From the high-point in the roof, the only interruption to a smooth surface is the color-keyed shark fin antenna and the small trunk spoiler.

The 2019 Yaris comes in seven colors that include Frost, Chromium, Graphite, Stealth, Sapphire, Pulse and Icicle. The overall design is appealing, with Mazda designers taking the lead.

Driving Experience: Interior

Clean Fleet Report was driving the 2019 Toyota Yaris XLE, which is a new trim level for the Yaris. The highly optioned XLE had SofTex leatherette seats with leather accents and  tasteful blue top stitching. Top stitching was also found on the dash, door arm rests and the leather-wrapped steering wheel. The steering wheel tilted and had audio and telephone controls. The shift knob and parking brake handle are also leather-wrapped. The front seats were six-way manual adjustable for the driver and four-way for the passenger. While they lacked lumbar adjustments, the thigh bolstering was good, so you stayed planted when cornering. However, there was no center armrest, so bring a pillow or a big hunk of foam.

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan
A clean dash with the right type of controls

The Yaris is rated to carry three adults in the rear seat. The access was easy, but once out back, larger adults will be more comfortable if only two climb in. Storage in the trunk was good, but drop the 60/40 split bench rear seat and the Yaris becomes a great car for two taking a long weekend trip.

The dash layout is simple and clean with easy-to-find controls and gauges, including a tachometer. Clean Fleet Report is a big fan of radio knobs for volume and channel selecting, but Toyota has placed the radio control wheels on the center console. It takes a bit of learning at first, but dropping your arm and hand down instead of reaching up became comfortable quickly. The automatic climate control wheels are large and are located away from the radio to eliminate any confusion.

The front visibility was good, with a nice touch being rain-sensing windshield wipers. In 2018 Toyota reduced cabin noise with rocker panel protectors, asphalt sheets under the floor panels, foam-type insulation in structural spaces, an acoustic glass windshield and under-hood insulation to block engine noise. The low 0.32 coefficient of drag also helps the wind whoosh by. For a subcompact it was fairly quiet.

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan
Seating’s comfortable, but minimal

The XLE came with a 7.0-inch, high-resolution touch screen for the six-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD and MP3/WMA playback sound system. Additional elements to the system were two USB ports with iPod connectivity, Aux-in jacks and Bluetooth streaming audio, Siri Eyes Free, voice recognition and hands-free telephone. Other nice interior features are SiriusXM (90-day trial subscription), a rear view camera, power windows and door locks, power outside mirrors and multiple cup holders.

Safety and Convenience

The 2019 Toyota Yaris comes with safety and convenience features including a low-speed pre-collision system, six air bags, remote keyless entry, pushbutton start, anti-theft engine immobilizer, a tire pressure monitoring system, stability and traction control, and four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes with brake assist.

The 2019 Yaris has earned a Top Rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), while the US Government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded it their highest rank of a Five Star rating.

Pricing and Warranties

The 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan is offered in three models of L, LE and XLE, ranging in base prices from $15,450 to $18,550. Clean Fleet Report’s Yaris XLE had no options or packages, so the final MSRP was $18,550. All pricing excludes the $930 delivery fee.

The 2019 Toyota Yaris comes with these warranties:

  • Powertrain                     Five years/60,000 miles
  • Comprehensive            Three years/36,000 miles
  • Maintenance Plan           Two years/25,000 miles  
  • Anti-perforation            Five years/Unlimited miles
  • Roadside Assistance      Two years/Unlimited miles

Observations: 2019 Toyota Yaris XLE Automatic

Redesigned in 2018, the Yaris is a popular subcompact, but it lives in a highly competitive segment of the car world, facing competitors like the Nissan Versa and Ford Fiesta. So, the question is why buy a Yaris? A good reason is that Toyota is a perennial leader in offering solid cars with high quality. Should the Yaris be added to your shopping list?

2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan

The answer is yes if you are looking for economical transportation in a good-looking small car. The Yaris has easily attainable 40+ mpg on the highway in a nicely designed car with a good selection of standard convenience and safety features. It has the best fuel economy numbers in its subcompact class. Your cost-of-ownership will be low, especially with the two years of complimentary service.

Go into a Toyota dealer for a lengthy test drive and to research the standard equipment. You will need to see first-hand how it fits your lifestyle and matches-up against the competition. Possibly as a short distance commuter, or a second car that your freshman son or daughter will take way to university. For either of these uses, you won’t go wrong.

Whatever you buy, Happy Driving!

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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.

Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at publisher@cleanfleetreport.com.

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About Author: John Faulkner

John Faulkner is an automotive marketing professional with more than 30 years experience branding, launching and marketing automobiles. He has worked with General Motors (all Divisions), Chrysler (Dodge, Jeep, Eagle), Ford and Lincoln-Mercury, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota on consumer events and sales training programs. His interest in automobiles is broad and deep, beginning as a child riding in the back seat of his parent's 1950 Studebaker. He has a keen appreciation of Art Deco design, no bias for domestic versus foreign makes and loves competition - whether that be F1, IndyCar, Sports Cars, NASCAR or participating in Track Days at places such as Laguna Seca, Thunderhill or Willow Springs. John lives in Dana Point, CA, and enjoys a top-down drive on PCH on an early Sunday morning.

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