By on February 19, 2020

It’s been a minute since the fish-mouthed Yaris sedan has been seen in the Ace of Base arena. Closely related to the not-for-us Mazda 2, the littlest Toyota does its best to quash the bad old days of entry-level econoboxes.

Just make sure to park the thing front-in at every parking space, please.

Starting at the reasonable sum of $15,650 is the starter L trim, one of three in the range. For 2020, Toyota has decided to refurbish a few Yaris features, not the least of which is the infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are now standard equipment in all model grades, thanks to economies of scale and a 7-inch media system.

Air conditioning is standard, as it seems to be on all cars these days. The feds have mandated a backup camera, and that driver’s seat adjusts six different ways. The steering wheel, with audio controls, moves for reach and rake. There are also two USB ports, double the amount found in some more expensive machinery.

No matter the trim, Yaris buyers will find themselves in command of a 1.5-liter four-banger making 106 horsepower and a roughly like amount of torque. A six-speed manual is the default selection in the L, though those are 9-inch teacup brakes out back. When the infotainment screen is almost as large as the drums, it’s time for a mechanical upgrade. Maybe next year. Probably not.

Interestingly, Toyota sees fit to include a low-speed pre-collision system on all Yarii. Operating at 18 mph or less, it is intended to assist a driver if they fail to whoa up in time when the vehicle ahead of them suddenly decelerates. It’s far from Autopilot of Super Cruise but will certainly help new or young drivers, folks who are surely in the target market of this car.

Drivers should expect very nearly 40 mpg on the highway, making this one of the cheapest new cars to buy and operate. Hey, that is the Ace of Base mantra, isn’t it?

[Images: Toyota]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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30 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Toyota Yaris L...”

  • avatar


    Kardashian rear end

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Winner! Compared to a base Versa, VERY superior!

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    Stick shift! For those who prize manual tranny above all else.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I saw the hatch version of this Yaris (Yari?) the other day. I didn’t know that it was available here in the states but it’s definitely a cut above the Nissan Versa or the previous Yaris.

  • avatar

    Finally a real Ace of Base

    No base E63S to write about today?

  • avatar

    I’ve driven this car, with an automatic of course, and you’ll hate your miserable life after a hour in this thing. I’d rather hitch hike.

  • avatar

    If you want your kid to learn how to drive stick and want to send them off to college with a car covered by a warranty, you could do much worse than this little Yaris.

    • 0 avatar

      You could do much better than this, and neither of my kids gave one crap about rowing the gearbox. I prefer a bigger car for them and Apple Watches to keep their hands off the phone while driving.


      • 0 avatar

        But if they have a manual none of their friends will ask to borrow it – and very few would be car thieves will have any idea how to drive it.

        • 0 avatar

          @PrincipalDan: Or, there’s the line I used to get the dealer to come down on the price of my son’s 6 speed manual Yaris – “do you want to be cleaning the snow off of it this winter”. We got the discount.

          • 0 avatar

            A colleague had a first gen 3 door Yaris with manual trans as a commuter car and was trying to convince his daughter to take it with her to Eastern New Mexico University (Go Greyhounds). He wasn’t the type to put his foot down and demand it.

            I pointed out to him that the car would practically be theft-proof with the younger generation.

    • 0 avatar
      Jean-Pierre Sarti

      great minds think alike…

      Spring time last year I was in this exact position. Much to my surprise these things seem to be more rare than a rainbow unicorn, at least when I was looking. I did eventually find one but the dealers were being plain stupid about it price-wise.

      We ended up with a Corolla LE for only about 300-400 dollars more drive out.

      It felt to me dealers would just rather sell you a Corolla over the Yaris and their prices and attitude reflected that for sure.

      Being on the gulf coast we are victims of the Gulf States Toyota Distributor mafia. So that might have something to do with it too.

  • avatar

    It’s a shame that the US doesn’t get the ROW Yaris. I’d prefer it over this Mexican-built Mazda2.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    It’s not an economy car-it’s a penalty box.

    There are others-the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa for starters.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I got to drive a manual Fit with the dealer installed handling package and it was actually a fun ride. Drove like the good Hondas from the 90’s. A little more power would have made it a hoot.

      • 0 avatar

        There is a dealer installed handling package? Could you elaborate as to what you get and the cost?

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          It is a suspension, some wheels, a fancy shift knob, and I think some body bits. 25 years ago it would be a Fit SI. No changes to the power sadly.

          Honestly it’s a touch spendy. Probably could just get an aftermarket suspension and spend the rest on a little power bump but it is all under warranty and like I said, it is the closest I’ve felt to early 90s Honda goodness in a looping time. If my Fiesta ST got totaled and the leftovers were all gone, I’d miss the power but have no real issue driving it. It’s slow enough you really have to flog it and that’s fun too. Handling was really nice.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Anyone who thinks *this* is a penalty box is… well, a snowflake.

    • 0 avatar

      Your priorities are likely different, but the Versa strikes me as more of a penalty box – Nissan interiors are slightly nastier than Mazda, and the Versa’s strengths all seem to be about being in denial you’ve bought a cheap car (it’s roomy! Soft ride! They might as well throw opera windows and a vinyl roof on the thing!). The Mazda2 is unabashedly a small car, so lively and eager (as much as you can get with 100hp or so), like an idiot terrier. Just, absolutely get the manual

  • avatar

    Looks like a great Ace of Base candidate. I haven’t had a chance to drive one of these. The starting price is very attractive.

  • avatar

    “It’s been a minute” … ?

    So is that a short time or a long time? Can we just? I can’t even.

  • avatar

    I used the google to see how horrible the front end is…and I wish I hadn’t. What the hell were they thinking?

  • avatar

    I’m curious if the MazdaConnect system in this car is configurable for color or not. The “Toyota” here has blue accents while the Mazdas I’ve had get red accents. I prefer red, but inquiring minds and all that.

    Also, I’d be curious to know what the real world mileage would be in the manual. When I had the manual Mazda3 36 combined was not uncommon – I don’t drive the auto often enough to have a good estimate, and a combined total of 33 wasn’t uncommon in the Mazda6 – with a personal best of 39.7.

    I wonder if mid-40s is a more accurate guess.

    Also, can the front clip from a Demio be grafted on?

  • avatar


    Thank you.

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