Is The 2019 Toyota Yaris Good Enough To Challenge The VW Polo And Ford Fiesta?

The Toyota Yaris is an affordable model that has rightfully gained the reputation of an economical and reliable runaround car – and with the updated 2019 version it aims to challenge the best in class.

With the exception of the limited run Yaris GRMN, Toyota’s compact city car has been deemed as an unremarkable drive throughout the years, lacking the spirit of rivals like the Ford Fiesta.

And while it still is the segment’s only model that can be had with a hybrid powertrain that’s offering great fuel econom-, the petrol-powered models in the range felt slow against their rivals.

The latest iteration of the Euro-spec Yaris tries to change that with the adoption of a new 1.5-liter four-cylinder unit that offers lower emissions, better fuel economy and faster acceleration than the old 1.33-liter engine. It produces 110hp and 100lb-ft (136Nm) and is paired to a six-speed manual transmission, making the Yaris capable of a 0-62mph (100km/h) in 11 seconds.

The exterior carries on the styling changes first introduced in the 2017 facelift, meaning a more dynamic presence than before and more vibrant color options, while the interior remains a mixed bag. That’s because the cabin offers great room for its class, but the design and ergonomics make it feel less competitive against newer rivals.

Still, can the reliable commuter turn into a genuine star in such a competitive segment? Let’s see what Carwow has to say about that on the video that follows.


  • Bash

    Well, it’s reliable. And the price will be unbeatable. So if I have to make a choice, I’ll choose the fiesta.

    • Craig

      lol Take your time! Think it over! haha

  • SpongeBob99Swell


  • Domjan

    Toyota in S.A have become overpriced compared to rivals and what they offer. Ford Fiesta is a great car but it’s puny 1.0lt engine puts me off. Ford South Africa should put gem 1.5lt 3 cylinder Figo engine in the Fiesta.

  • DanSemering

    I have a Yaris model 2009 ….120 000 km on it like a charm with regular maintenance . It’s reliable and the low fuel consumption is there too.

    • Loquacious Borborygmus

      And THAT is why people buy them. Not for the drive.

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    You might want to do to your Dr. It seems to have affected your writing as well! 😉

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    The clincher for me was the cheap parcel shelf.
    Honestly Toyota! What were you thinking?
    Don’t they know that an expensive parcel shelf is what sells cars?

    And what’s with that cheesy pretend Japanese music in the background?

  • Wayne Alan Carr Heyes

    It needs a new generation and SOON!!!!!! This one is to long in the tooth now

    • Mike anonymous

      They have literally just changed a few of the (sheet-metal) body panels, and painted some of the exterior sections black. But it’s clearly the same vehicle they released back in 2011/2012 (with the addition of a ‘FEW’ updates here an there to make it seem ‘new’).

      So I agree. Hopefully in the next year (or few years) we may get one.

  • ➡️ProtectOurHeritage⬅️

    When it comes to using your car, most time is spent sitting inside it. The interior looks like it belongs in 2005. Oh wait, the current Yaris is already six years old. It’s all looking very tired indeed.

    • Benjamin B.

      The Euro cars are new. The USDM Yaris (sans the iA 4-door sedan variant that’s really a Mazda2) is old.

  • OdysseyTag

    Make the Yaris take cues from the new Corolla hatch and Toyota will have a winner on its hands.

    • Benjamin B.

      The Yaris will probably be discontinued for the USDM

      • OdysseyTag

        Didn’t even realise it was on sale there. Very likely.

    • i’m asking myself why isn’t there a new one already?

      • OdysseyTag

        My thoughts exactly.

  • Dennis Scipio

    Speaking of, I don’t know if there is a 2019 Model Year for the Yaris Hatchback, there is for the Sedan.

    • Benjamin B.

      The Euro market Yaris is all-new and very different from the USDM Hatchback, which is still around although it’s very old. The Sedan is actually a rebadged Mazda2 4-door. The Euro car even offers a hot hatch variant with a supercharged engine as opposed to the typical turbocharged powerplant.

      • Dennis Scipio

        What do you mean the euro market hatchback one is all new is looks like the US Spec

  • Miknik

    Whilst the Yaris is unquestionably dated now, it is still ridiculous how – especially compared to reviewing carwow’s favorite VAG products – Matt seems to be painstakingly looking for negatives; The parcel shelf, exactly like anywhere else, the soft plastic only on parts of the dash – most cars in this segment don’t have any – and other stuff are just a few examples; It is very easy in these short reviews to just point out negatives or positives about cars, and thus make them seem very different, when, in fact, real differences are probably much smaller;

  • Sybill Julian
    • Alex

      That is the third world version. It is based on the same platform as the platform as the Euro one but is larger.

  • ramish rambarran

    The Japanese version of the Yaris Hatchback is called the Vitz, which is in its 3rd Generation.
    Each generation had an RS model with a 1500cc engine and automatic or manual transmission.
    Each generation also had an RS Turbo 1500cc model Manual, including the GRMN 1500cc that never made it to the States.
    I guess it is the Turbo model that inspired the present-day GRMN 1800cc rally car.

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