2020 vs 2021: What's the Difference?
We wish we could tell you all about the 2021 Toyota Yaris Hatchback and how awesome it is, but we can't. It's not that we don't want to, it's just that the 2021 Yaris Hatchback doesn't exist.
Last year, Toyota announced that it was going to discontinue the Yaris was discontinued. Yes, the sedan and the hatch both got the ax, and we're quite frankly bummed about it. The sedans started production in 2006 while the hatch just debuted for 2020, and they were supposed to be excellent competitors against the Honda Fit and Civic hatch. But the subcompact and sedan markets are taking a nosedive right now due to the growing demand for larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks.
So, that leaves us with just one Yaris hatch model year - the 2020 - to discuss. We wish we could say that the Yaris hatchback was a flawless vehicle that wasn't given a fair chance, but only half of that statement would be correct. The Yaris hatch has its flaws. Its cargo space was not nearly as generous as other vehicles in its segment, and its sluggish engine made acceleration a boon. On top of that, Toyota opted out of equipping it with more of the advanced Toyota Safety Sense safety features.
The good things? The Yaris Hatch got a great fuel economy with an EPA estimated 35 miles per gallon. However, real-world tests have gotten up to about 41 mpg combined. Its handling is remarkably spirited, and you do get standard smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Should you consider getting the 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback? Let's take a look at its trim level offerings, tech features, performance details, safety and reliability ratings, and what the interior is like. We will also give you a few options for alternatives to test-drive in case you aren't feeling the Yaris Hatchback.
What Do the Various Trim Levels Offer?
The 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback comes in your choice of just two trim levels: the base LE and the line-topping XLE. That means that you do not get a lot of options for configurability. So, if you like your choices to be easy, then this might be the right vehicle for you to consider.
Let's start off by talking about the mechanics, which are the same on both trim levels. They are both powered by a standard 1.5-L 4-cylinder engine that is able to put forth a power output of 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission sends that power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is not an option.
The two trim levels will probably look somewhat basic to you, and that is because they are. But they are also priced much like your typical economy vehicle. They were meant to sell, but unfortunately, that just was not the case.
Taking a look at the LE, you will see that it does come with standard smartphone app integration with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. So, yeah, at least there is that. This trim level rides atop 16-inch wheels and has heated side mirrors and fog lights equipped on its exterior. You can get in and start the car with keyless entry and ignition. There is also a 7-inch touchscreen display with the infotainment system. A 6-speaker sound system also comes equipped. The only real driver aid you get is forward collision warning with low-speed automatic emergency braking worked into it.
Upgrading to the XLE gives you a few extra creature comforts. On the outside, you get automatic windshield wipers tacked on, plus there are also LED headlights equipped that offer improved visibility at night. Inside, you will find that the gear shift knob and steering wheel are wrapped in leather. There is simulated leather upholstery on the seats, and an automatic climate control system helps to heat and cool the vehicle as needed.
You can opt to buy a map card that adds navigation to the infotainment system, but as far as stand-alone options go, you get pretty much nothing.
Which Trim is Right for Me?
The XLE isn't that much more expensive than the LE, plus it gives you LED headlights, which we would consider to be a staple of the contemporary automobile. We also like the faux leather upholstery since it makes the vehicle appear more expensive than it really is.
What Kind of Technology Does it Have?
Technology is obviously pretty minimal on the Yaris Hatchback. There is standard smartphone app integration s we already mentioned, and the 7-inch touchscreen is sizable enough. The audio system is quite impressive too, given that it does not produce much distortion even when you crank the volume. Bluetooth connectivity, a 12-volt outlet, and two USB ports come standard as well. Skip the onboard navigation though, as you can easily sync your smartphone up and use your preferred nav app.
How Does It Perform?
This small hatchback is more fun than you might think. Hatches are notoriously bland, but the Yaris Hatchback is spunky in regard to its handling capabilities. The 6-speed makes smooth, quick shifts. The tires don't give much grip, but you can still have some fun while cornering. The 1.5-L engine holds the Yaris Hatch back from being truly enthralling. The measly amount of horsepower it serves up doesn't equate for spirited acceleration.
Is It Safe and Reliable?
As far as we can tell, the Yaris Hatch is a safe vehicle to drive despite its lacking numerous driver aids. Brake assist and dynamic stability control do help keep the vehicle secure, but the low-speed pre-collision mitigation system seems like a cheap way out of giving drivers the added security of a full forward collision mitigation system, which you will find standard on many new vehicles.
What's the Interior Like?
The XLE's interior is preferable thanks to its simulated leather upholstery and leather wrapping around the steering wheel and gear shift knob. There are quite a few hard plastics, and you will definitely feel cramped no matter where you are sitting.
What are the Alternatives to this Model?
Sadly, many vehicles in this segment are being annihilated from their automakers' line-ups. We love the 2020 Honda Fit, but it too was the last year for its kind. The Fit offers an upscale interior coupled with spirited handling. Not to mention it has way more standard safety features equipped.
The Kia Rio Hatchback would be our top pick for 2021. It is undoubtedly an economy vehicle and lacks some of the Yaris' features, but it can be equipped with some options that place it alongside the Yaris LE. In a dying segment, the Rio Hatch is still hanging on and offers a competitive price tag.
Note: All Toyota Yaris lease prices and dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.