Toyota Yaris

The Yaris is offered as a 3-door or 5-door liftback in L and LE trims, while the sporty SE comes only as a 5-door. All 2018 Toyota Yaris models come with a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine making 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque. With variable valve timing, the engine is quite flexible and works quite well with either the available 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic. EPA fuel economy ratings are 30 mpg city and 36 mpg highway with the automatic, or 30 mpg city and 37 mpg highway with the manual.

Standard features on all Yaris models include daytime running lights, intermittent wipers, a 4-speaker CD/MP3 player with iPod input, tilt steering wheel with audio controls, power locks, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes and stability control. Nine air bags, including front-seat, side-curtain and a driver's knee airbag, are also included. An efficiency-enhancing trip computer is included in the instrumentation that will show instant fuel economy and an "ECO driving indicator" to show drivers how well they're doing. The 5-door model gets a rear wiper standard as well.

The Yaris may be diminutive, but it doesn't sacrifice comfort or interior space. Its 85 cubic-feet of passenger volume and 15 cubic-feet of cargo space mean it's comfortable enough for up to five passengers and their stuff. The short 99-inch wheelbase means a tight turning circle of just 31 feet. Suspension is courtesy a MacPherson strut-type front and torsion-beam rear setup tuned for good ride comfort, while electric-assist power steering maximizes efficiency as well as improving parking-lot maneuverability.

In addition to the standard equipment, the LE model adds power-adjustable mirrors, an upgraded six-speaker stereo with HD radio, and Bluetooth. Upgraded front seats, a split-folding rear seat, and steering wheel audio controls are also included, as is remote keyless entry.

The 5-door SE model gets 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, fog lamps, a mesh grille, cruise control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.

Standard advanced safety features on all Yaris trims include Sense-C, which features a lane departure warning system, a pre-collision system and automatic high beams.

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Editors' First Take

Let's start with something that I don't really talk about in the video that accompanies these words: The everyday. The humdrum. The travel to and from the nine-to-five. I actually did quite a large number of boring miles in the little Toyota GR Yaris over the week that it was in my care. No, the miles weren't boring because the car itself is a yawn, it's just difficult to make motorways particularly enjoyable.

But what was impressive is that something which seems to have been so clearly designed to provide fast fun down twisty pieces of tarmac, actually deals with the rest of life very well, too. When you're merely puttering about, you aren't drowned out by excessive road noise and the engine is almost disappointingly quiet. (I actually had a few times when I found I was cruising in fifth rather than sixth gear but simply hadn't noticed the sound of the higher revs.) You don't feel like you're constantly dealing with heavy controls, either, so the GR Yaris doesn't leave you feeling tired at the end of a journey. The ride doesn't crash or jolt; it's firm, don't get me wrong, but it isn't harsh. The seat is comfy, too, although I wish it was set lower.

The Yaris' big screen in the middle of the dash may cause some problems in terms of blind spots, but it is nice and easy to glance at or touch when you're driving. Radar cruise control and lane-keeping assistance seem anathema to a car of this sort, but some people will probably put them into significantly more regular use than the GR's Track Mode.

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