Here is the 2019 Toyota Yaris sedan . . . wait, they make a Yaris sedan? Why would you make a Yaris sedan? At this point, why would you make a Yaris? I keed! I keed! The Toyota Yaris is a perfectly serviceable car. No, it does not take you in Rolls-like comfort. No, it does not have Ferrari-esque power and agility. But it is a Yaris.
And at a certain point in time, maybe a Yaris is what a person needs. If you can get past the looks – and you’re going to have to, because this thing is gruesomely unattractive – but the Yaris is as dependable as, well, as a Toyota.
The Yaris sedan will come in three grades for 2019: L, LE, and XLE. The XLE a more a premium grade according to Toyota, although we here at Automoblog might call it “mid-premium.” The XLE offers up leatherette-trimmed front seats, which Toyota describes as “sporty” along with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, shift knob, and parking brake. The HVAC system has automatic climate control; there are automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and illuminated entry on the mid-premium Yaris XLE.
There are newer styling touches to be found on the 2019 Yaris, like the front grille with a honeycomb insert, “upscale” piano black accents, and chrome trim. Fog lights are standard on the LE and XLE, and there’s also a new rear lip spoiler and a color-keyed shark fin antenna for the satellite radio. Power outside mirrors are standard on the L, and the LE and XLE get power outside heated mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators. And all this inexpensive yet practical goodness will come painted in seven colors.
Power & Performance
As you would expect, the 2019 Yaris is as efficient as any other Toyota out there with its six-speed automatic. The 1.5-liter engine uses direct injection and variable valve timing for 32 mpg in the city, 40 on the highway, and 35 combined. Nice! But if you opt for the six-speed manual, those figures turn into 30 mpg in the city, 39 on the highway, and 34 combined, but you do get the fun and enjoyment of stirring your own gears. Which actually should be fun thanks to the compact, lightweight design, and short-throw shift changes.
That 1.5-liter DOHC four-banger pumps out 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft. of torque, or about what a first gen GTI put out. So the Yaris should have some semblance of fun about it.
Chassis & Suspension
There’s a lot of high-tensile strength steel in the body and frame, so the chassis of the Yaris sedan should make for a rigid suspension platform. The ride is controlled via stiffer springs paired with MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam suspension in the rear, and all you gearheads know: torsion beam rear suspension = three-wheeled corning around the AutoX course – yee-HAW!
The steering is provided by the now nearly-completely-ubiquitous electronic power steering unit. There’s a Sport mode for improved torque feel at the flip of a switch. Stopping is taken care of by ventilated discs up front and drum brakes in the rear. No, really: drum brakes and a torsion beam suspension out back. Ha!
Related: Small and steady wins the race: Our full review of the 2019 Toyota Yaris.
Tech & Safety
The interior falls into the “modern car manufactured to a price point” category. Every Yaris has a seven-inch touchscreen multimedia system with voice recognition, remote interface, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and a standard backup camera. The speedo is analog, the tach digital, and cruise control comes standard. Every Yaris is standard equipped with an Active Safety System: Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, Anti-Lock Brake System, and a Brake Over-Ride System.
The Low-Speed Pre-Collision System scans the road ahead for potential collisions. If the system senses something is up, an audio/visual alert and braking assistance will automatically trigger. Should you be a complete dolt and fail to respond, this system may automatically apply the brakes.
Pricing & Availability
The 2019 Toyota Yaris is available now with a starting MSRP of $15,450.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.