2018 Toyota Yaris: A Slightly Meaner Hatch, in Looks Only

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2018 toyota yaris a slightly meaner hatch in looks only

If you didn’t stay up to the wee hours last night excitedly singing the Toyota Yaris’ praises in an internet chat group, you’re forgiven. Demand for the subcompact hatch has fallen to remarkably low levels compared to years past, as newer, more dynamic hatches increasingly hijack buyers’ attention.

Still, the subcompact segment isn’t one Toyota wants to yield to its rivals. As such, the little Yaris (not to be confused with the Mazda 2-based Yaris iA) is due for a makeover. While the refreshed 2018 Yaris hasn’t been to the gym, it does look like it stared in the window and took notes.

For 2018, the Yaris presents a new face to the world, and it’s a slightly meaner one than before. Well, the fact that there’s any hint of malevolence in its visage is noteworthy, as the former model had all the edginess of an episode of Paw Patrol.

A slightly re-shaped grille opening more closely mimics that seen on larger Toyota models, and looks less like a gown blown open by a gust of wind. The vestigial upper grille is gone, replaced with a Toyota badge flanked by chrome whiskers and slightly revised headlamps. Re-shaped bumpers front and rear add visual width and the opportunity for more chrome accents, while the SE version sees its grille filled with black mesh and its hubs shod with black-accented 16-inchers. Remember, more chrome always means “more luxury,” regardless of content.

In this case, there is more content. Both the base L and mid-grade LE gain the same sport instrument panel found on the SE. That unit contains an LCD display to help owners keep tabs on the vehicle’s performance numbers, should such a thing be to their interest. They’ll likely be more interested in the fuel economy readout in their base Yaris, if this crystal ball is correct.

Those lower-run models also see an audio upgrade. Toyota has added its Entune Multimedia Bundle to the L and LE, comprising a 6.1-inch infotainment touchscreen, Bluetooth, Siri Touch Free, iPod connectivity, a USB port, among other features. Moving up to the SE nets buyers a 7-inch touchscreen, hands-free calling, voice recognition, SiriusXM satellite radio and other upgrades.

While a couple of new paint colors join the Yaris’ palette, there’s no drivetrain improvements for 2018. That means the familiar 1.5-liter four-cylinder remains, making 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque. Helping corral all of that, ahem, power is a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic, one of the few left in the industry.

The 2018 Toyota Yaris hits dealers this summer, with pricing announced in the near future.

[Images: Toyota Motor Corporation]

Join the conversation
2 of 34 comments
  • Moparmann Moparmann on Mar 22, 2017

    The car looks as though it's angry about its station in the automotive pecking order! LOL!! :-)

  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Mar 22, 2017

    May be able to survive four fat yanks. But could they survive it?

  • Jamie Electric cars and their planet stripping unsustainable mineral needs. Nothing is perfect.....
  • Tom Kenney Wondering the same. It's getting late for 2024....I should scoop up a 2023 3.3t now.
  • Ja-GTI My father bought one of these new in '75, when I was an inquisitive lad of six with a younger sister of four. I showed her how to open the rear hatch, and then I noticed a convenient pull-down handle on the bottom of the rear parcel shelf. I couldn't reach it from the ground, so I climbed in the back, pulled on the handle, and quite suddenly shut the hatch on top of me. The four year-old sister couldn't follow my frantic instruction on how to open the hatch - she eventually left to go to our neighbor's house to "get some cookies", and I spent the next several hours having a very bad time.Finally, the older nine year-old sister came home from school and was showing the new car to a friend when she heard me yelling and freed me from my VW prison. Thankfully, I overcame my childhood PTSD and ended up owning an '07 GTI for fourteen years - which gave me another type of PTSD. And my VW circle of life is now complete. Well, except for the '15 Jetta TDI manual I bought for my son...
  • Inside Looking Out In America non-violent crime is legalized in 2020 but in England not. That guy in America would be considered as the pillar of society. Wild west you know,
  • El scotto Having really bad SATO flashbacks. Someone from Alamo would stop by the SATO office and stuff some display rack with 10$ off at Alamo! coupons. Off on another mission for Truth, Justice, and the American Way of Life! Well OK, I was off to talk to some tech reps. Riding the shuttle bus to Alamo I inwardly prayed please, oh please may there be a Neon and not a damn Sebring! Neons were by and far one of the best cheap rental cars.