When the Toyota Yaris debuted in 1999 as the Toyota Echo, it immediately achieved popularity.
Throughout the years, Toyota naturally made a lot of changes to the Toyota Yaris, and some of them are good while some of them are bad.
We’ve studied all Toyota Yaris models thoroughly and organized the top Toyota Yaris years and which Toyota Yaris years to steer clear of.
Let’s jump right into it!
Table of ContentsShow
Toyota Yaris Generations
Toyota Yaris has been through four significant generations:
Listing the generations gives you an overview of the vehicle’s evolution. Each generation has its own distinct features, improvements, and at times, issues, which can be a deciding factor when choosing the year of your next Toyota Yaris.
In the context of this guide, ‘Neutral Years’ refers to model years that don’t notably excel or fail in their performance or reliability. They are solid options but may lack the standout qualities of the ‘Best Years’ or face minor issues that prevent them from being categorized as the ‘Worst Years’.
Toyota Yaris Best, Neutral, and Worst Years
|Generation||Best Years||Neutral Years||Worst Years|
Our rankings are derived from comprehensive data gathered from multiple sources, including but not limited to:
- Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
- Annual maintenance costs
- Safety rating
- Consumer Reports reliability score
- Consumer Reports owner satisfaction score
- NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
- Edmunds owner ratings
- JD Power owner ratings
- Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
- VehicleHistory owner ratings
- Cars.com owner ratings
Keep in mind, some of these factors contribute negatively to a car’s ranking.
For example, the NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints: the greater the number of recalls, the lower the car’s reliability score and thus, its overall ranking.
Here are the combined scores for each Toyota Yaris model year. This is an illustration to get a better look and decide which Toyota Yaris model years to avoid and which to look for.
We’ll now go into each Toyota Yaris generation and list the best, neutral and worst years based on our research.
Best & Worst Years for Toyota Yaris 1st Generation (2000-2005)
Best Years: 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005
The 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2005 models are the best years of the first generation due to their consistent performance, reliability, and overall owner satisfaction.
These models were praised for their frugal fuel consumption, easy maneuverability, and sturdy build quality. The Yaris gained a reputation for its practicality and low-cost ownership experience, making these model years popular choices for urban commuting and everyday driving.
The 2005 model Toyota Yaris has the highest consumer ratings in the 1st generation.
Neutral Year: 2000
The 2001, 2002, and 2003 models were applauded for their impressive fuel efficiency, affordability, and overall dependability. These early Yaris models stood up well against their rivals, establishing Toyota’s reputation for creating compact cars that last.
However, the 2005 model proved to be the crown jewel of the first generation. With its high reliability scores, low cost of ownership, and innovative design that maximized interior space, the 2005 Yaris is a standout model that continues to be a popular choice in the used car market.
Worst Year: 2004
Despite its overall reliability, the 2004 Yaris had its shortcomings. This model year was marred by complaints about excessive oil consumption and premature brake wear.
These mechanical concerns, coupled with some criticisms about its less refined exterior styling and interior design, earned it the ‘worst’ year spot.
Best & Worst Years for Toyota Yaris 2nd Generation (2006-2013)
Best Years: 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013
The second generation of the Toyota Yaris made a strong impression, particularly with the 2006 and 2007 models.
With improved interior styling, superior fuel efficiency, and strong reliability, these models maintained the Yaris’ reputation as a top choice in the compact car segment.
The 2010 and 2011 models further bolstered this with the introduction of standard stability control and side-curtain airbags. 2012 was a landmark year, with the introduction of the hybrid variant of the Yaris, adding an eco-friendly option for drivers.
Neutral Year: 2009
The 2009 model year falls into the neutral category due to some minor issues related to suspension and exhaust systems. Nonetheless, it retains the Yaris’ signature traits of excellent fuel economy and reliability.
Worst Year: 2008
The 2008 model was somewhat disappointing due to reported transmission issues and complaints about seat comfort. Despite retaining the core strengths of fuel efficiency and overall dependability, these issues pushed the 2008 model into the ‘worst’ category.
Best & Worst Years for Toyota Yaris 3rd Generation (2014-2019)
Best Years: 2015, 2017 and 2018
Models from the years 2015, 2017, and 2018 brought significant improvements in terms of advanced safety technology, exterior design, and performance.
The inclusion of standard safety features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking added a fresh appeal to the Yaris, making these years the best in the third generation.
Neutral Years: 2014 and 2016
The 2014 and 2016 models were marked by consistency, with few reported issues.
However, minor criticisms about their slightly outdated interior design, and a lack of significant updates or improvements, placed them in the ‘neutral’ category.
Worst Year: 2019
Despite its safety features and fuel efficiency, the 2019 Yaris had notable issues. Complaints about its lackluster acceleration and transmission problems pushed this model into the ‘worst’ category.
Best & Worst Years for Toyota Yaris 4th Generation (2020-Present)
Best Year: 2021
The 2021 model saw a significant revamp. With an upgrade to the TNGA platform, the Yaris enjoyed improved handling, a smoother ride, and a roomier interior.
The addition of advanced safety features and an efficient power train won it high praise from owners and critics alike.
Neutral Years: 2022 and 2023
The 2022 and 2023 models didn’t bring significant changes from the 2021 model, but some minor issues with the infotainment system led to a drop in rankings.
Nonetheless, these models continue the Yaris’ legacy of fuel efficiency, reliability, and safety.
Worst Year: 2020
Despite being the first year of a new generation, the 2020 model year didn’t quite live up to expectations. Issues with fit and finish, a less refined driving experience, and limited standard features earned it negative feedback.
Some owners reported concerns related to the less cargo space, suspension problems and infotainment system, including occasional glitches and software issues.
The discontinuation of the Yaris in the US market after 2020 also points to its struggles in a competitive segment, making this the worst year for the fourth-generation Yaris.
Toyota Yaris Average Resale Values
It’s also a good idea to get a rough estimate of the average list price of each Toyota Yaris model year.
The graph above shows exactly that. Resale values after 2020 are unavailable due to it being discontinued in the United States.
This guide has everything you need to make an informed decision when buying a used Toyota Yaris. Buy a model from one of the best years and you lower your risk of making a bad deal.
We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences. If you’ve owned or driven a Toyota Yaris, which year was it and how would you rank its performance and reliability? Share your opinions in the comments section below!