Best & Worst Toyota Yaris Years

We've taken a closer look at every Toyota Yaris from 2000 (Toyota Echo) up until the latest model and categorized the best & worst years here.

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!

Related:Best & Worst Toyota Camry Years

Table of ContentsShow

Toyota Yaris Generations

Toyota Yaris has experienced four notable generations:

GenerationYears
1st Generation2000-2005
2nd Generation2006-2013
3rd Generation2014-2019
4th Generation2020-Present

Listing the generations provides you with an overview of the vehicle’s development. Each generation has its own distinct characteristics, enhancements, and occasionally, challenges, which can be a determining factor when selecting 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

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st Generation2001
2002
2003
2005
20002004
2nd Generation2006
2007
2010
2011
2012
2013
20092008
3rd Generation2015
2017
2018
2014
2016
2019
4th Generation20212022
2023
2020

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.

Toyota Yaris Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

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)

Toyota Yaris 1st generation 2000 model
The 2000 Toyota Yaris

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)

Toyota Yaris 2nd generation 2006 model
The 2006 Toyota Yaris

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)

Toyota Yaris 3rd generation 2014 model

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 new 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 critiques about their marginally outdated interior design, and a lack of notable 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)

Toyota Yaris 4th generation 2020 model

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

Toyota Yaris Average List Price

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.

Conclusion

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!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.