The subcompact 2013 Toyota Yaris is the brand’s entry-level offering. Completely redesigned for 2012, the second-generation Yaris is larger than past versions, but it’s still a half-size smaller than other subcompacts such as the Honda Fit, the Hyundai Accent or the Ford Fiesta. The 2013 Yaris is configured as a 3- or 5-door hatchback — no 4-door sedan is offered. The 2013 model’s larger size is put to good use, with more than 15 cu ft. of cargo space available with the rear seat up. That increases to 30 cu ft. with the rear seat folded down. The Yaris comes standard with the Toyota Star Safety System, which includes Smart Stop technology, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control systems and nine airbags. New for 2013 is a standard Tech Audio system with a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, HD Radio, SiriusXM compatibility and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming.
Though the Yaris is much smaller than the Corolla, it really doesn’t get substantially better fuel economy. The Yaris’s strong suit is its small, highly maneuverable size, which makes driving in urban environments and parking in tight spaces a breeze. Also, because all Yaris models are hatchbacks, they can swallow a surprising amount of cargo and gear for their size.
The 2013 Yaris is a good option for first-time buyers on a budget and city-dwellers looking for a car with good safety ratings, excellent bang for the buck, highly rated reliability, good resale value and access to Toyota’s extensive parts and service network. See the 2013 Toyota Yaris models for sale near you
What We Like
Toyota Star Safety System; value for dollar; generous interior storage; good fuel economy
What We Don’t
Lazy acceleration; no telescopic steering wheel
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2013 Yaris is powered by a 1.5-liter double-overhead camshaft 16-valve 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing. Output is a modest 106 horsepower, and torque is rated at 103 lb-ft. It burns regular unleaded gas and has revised EPA fuel-economy ratings of 30 miles per gallon in the city and 36 mpg on the highway with a 5-speed manual transmission and 30 mpg city/35 mpg hwy with a 4-speed automatic.
All models are equipped with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is not available.
Standard Features & Options
The 2013 Toyota Yaris comes in L, LE and SE trims.
The Yaris L features standard air conditioning with a pollen filter, a tilt (not telescopic) steering column, 15-inch steel wheels with hub caps, 175/65-15 tires, intermittent wipers, power door locks, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 Tech Audio stereo with HD Radio, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and music streaming, SiriusXM compatibility, USB and iPod ports, a folding rear seat, a rear cargo cover, a rear defroster, cloth seats, an outside temperature gauge, a trip computer, a tire-pressure monitor, color-keyed folding outside mirrors and exterior door handles, stability and traction control, dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, a driver’s-knee airbag and head-curtain airbags.
The LE grade adds cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, steering-wheel remote audio controls, a 60/40-split folding rear seatback and metallic interior trim.
The 5-door-only SE brings sporty touches such as 4-wheel disc brakes, larger 195/50VR 16 tires on alloy wheels, faster-ratio steering, color-keyed front and rear spoilers, a color-keyed sport mesh grille, a chrome-tipped exhaust, fog lamps, sport-fabric-trimmed seats, sport gauges, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and multi-reflector halogen headlamps with smoked trim.
Toyota didn’t sell a lot of these, so supply of used examples will be limited. Clean, low-mileage models retain their resale value and command higher used-car prices. However, despite their practicality — especially in crowded urban areas — subcompact cars are in less demand than small crossovers and SUVs, so there are some bargains out there.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recall for the 2013 Yaris:
The headliner on some Yaris models originally sold in Puerto Rico does not provide sufficient impact protection, and there is an increased risk of injury in a crash.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, they’ll fix the car for free.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The NHTSA gave the 2013 Yaris 5-door hatchback a 4-star overall crash-test rating, with 4 stars for frontal impacts and rollover performance and 5 stars for side-impact performance. The 2013 Yaris 3-door hatchback was not rated.
The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2013 Yaris a Marginal rating for small-overlap driver-side front impacts, but a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seats. The nonprofit organization named the Yaris a 2013 Top Safety Pick.
Toyota covered the 2013 Yaris with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.
Toyota certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can’t have more than 85,000 miles on the odometer and must be under 6 years old. Every CPO Yaris undergoes a 160-point inspection and gets a Carfax report. The Toyota CPO warranty covers the whole car, bumper to bumper, for 1 year or 12,000 miles and extends the original powertrain warranty to 7 years/100,000 miles with a year of roadside assistance.
Other Cars to Consider
2013 Nissan Versa — The top-selling subcompact Versa sedan comes with a 109-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder and roomy cabin but cheap, plasticky interior trim spoils the mood. The 5-door hatchback version of the Versa has a 122-hp 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, good ride and a roomy interior with nice touches like padded armrests. The hatchback provides 50.4 cu ft. of cargo space with the rear seat down.
2013 Scion xD — The smallest Scion is a 5-door hatchback. No sedan is offered. Its 128-hp 1.8-liter makes generous power for the class and is EPA-rated at 27 mpg city/33 mpg hwy with the base 5-speed manual and 26 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with the optional 4-speed automatic. New for 2013 are standard front-seat side airbags. The xD provides up to 35.7 cu ft. of cargo space with the rear seat folded.
Actually assembled in France, the Yaris hatchback has almost a European economy-car feel about it. Although it’s not the most exciting car to drive among small cars, its fun size, extensive safety gear and sturdy Toyota reputation make it a car parents might confidently hand a college freshman the keys to. We’d suggest an LE with keyless entry, cruise control, SiriusXM satellite radio and power windows, mirrors and door locks — it’ll be easier to live with and sell at trade-in time. Look for a CPO Yaris when possible, and failing that, seek a model that has lower miles on the odometer and has seen obvious care. Finally, make sure the Yaris you’re looking at has had all applicable safety recalls attended to by the dealer.