I test drove the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit. They are rife for comparison, both giving outstanding fuel economy and the high reputation for reliability of their respective manufacturers.
Here are my impressions.
1. As between the hatchback configurations, the Fit provides a far superior use of space.
2. The powertrain of the Yaris feels more refined than the Honda. Being a Honda fan, I was disappointed with the 1.5 L Fit engine. It was uncharacteristically coarse sounding, and dare I say, reminded me of the rough little 1.6 L engine that came with the North American Suzuki Swift / Chevrolet Aveo when they first debuted. In contrast, the Toyota 1.5 L is a zingy little engine even if loud when pressed.
3. The Yaris sedan (there is no sedan for the Fit) looks and feels like a classy little car. The styling is tasteful and honest. It's by no means luxurious, but what is there exudes the design excellence and quality that used to be synonymous with Toyota. For example, the automatic shift knob in the Yaris is a solid little mass of firm plastic solidly screwed onto the gear selector. (In contrast, the knob in the North American market Corolla and Camry will rotate in your hand.) The seats bottoms are comfortably long for average height males. They are upholstered in a silky feeling textile with well aligned seems rather than the wear-prone chintzy mouse fur or coarse fabric found on many entry level offerings in North America.
4. Given all the rave critical reviews about the Fit's handling, I was again disappointed. It was very good but nothing special, and the ride was a little flinty over rough surfaces. The Yaris steering actually felt tighter and more responsive than the Fit and the ride quality was excellent for a small entry level car. (I have read that the Yaris sedan suspension is tuned slightly softer than the hatchback's.)
I'm a fan of the Yaris sedan, especially now that Canadian versions come with ABS and side airbags and standard equipment, like the Fit.
If I wanted a hatchback, I would go with the Fit for its superior packaging and flexible storage configurations.
If I wanted a classy, but inexpensive, little fuel efficient car, I would go with the Yaris sedan.