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Can A Toyota Yaris Tow A Trailer?

Owning a small car can have many advantages especially if you live in and around a city. The Toyota Yaris is a great subcompact vehicle with plenty of space in the cabin and although it doesn’t look like it the trunk space is pretty admirable too. 

But sometimes, when larger items don’t fit through the door, you might need the use of a trailer. Can you tow a trailer with your Toyota Yaris? 

Toyota does not recommend towing a trailer with your Yaris. It is simply too small of a vehicle to tow anything and you will risk damaging the engine and other components if you try to tow with it. 

We love a good compact car but sometimes you will need a little extra haulage capacity. If that is the case for you then you should either get a slightly larger car so that you can tow a small trailer with it or get a second vehicle that is large enough to tow a trailer. 

Most midsize (or larger) vehicles can handle towing a small trailer or small popup camper so if you want to tow something like that you will need a midsize car or larger. 

Can Toyota Yaris Vehicles Tow Trailers?

The towing allowance and advisories for the Toyota Yaris differ between models, year released, and also differs between countries.

So to answer the question, can a Yaris tow a trailer, the answer is a tricky yes and no. But don’t worry, we’ve got further information below to help guide you through whether you can tow a trailer or not depending on your location and your engine size.

According to a 3-door Toyota Yaris Hatch owner, as seen on Edmunds forums, towing is allowed for the Yaris in Canada for 1540lbs (700kg) but is not recommended in America. Think this is strange? 

So did we. We thought it best to get to the bottom of this advice before moving on.

When we delved deeper into the Toyota Yaris Canada vs Toyota Yaris USA, although the vehicle is manufactured in the same warehouse and there’s technically no differences between the cars being sent to America and Canada, it comes down to liability and how the hitch is attached differently in each country.

In Canada trailers can only be towed with attached brakes. Since these brakes are designed to help stop the trailer (and it’s load) then a smaller vehicle (like the Yaris) can tow some of them. 

In the USA typically small trailers won’t have brakes attached and will simply rely on the braking power of the vehicle. Since the Yaris is so small it can’t handle the extra weight so towing a trailer like that would be dangerous. 

What Does It Mean To Tow Without Brakes?

Having a trailer with a braking system in place means that when you use the brakes in your vehicle, the trailer brakes at the same time. If your trailer does not have an independent brake system, even normal driving can result in the brake-less trailer crashing into the back of your own car or swerving into other vehicles on the road.

Towing a trailer without brakes on a small vehicle, such as a Yaris, can be dangerous with larger and heavier trailers. It is not recommended that any Yaris tow without a braking trailer.

Small trailers, however, if being towed by a suitable vehicle can be towed without an independent trailer braking system in place.

The ability to tow without trailer brakes may differ in each state so it’s always best to check your manual for guidance on towing allowances and whether independent trailer brake systems need to be in place before hauling your trailer around.

Trailer brakes assist in having control over the weight being towed and prevent danger to your car, yourself, and other drivers on the road.

Which Toyota Yaris Cars Can Tow a Trailer?

From 2009 to 2020, each Toyota Yaris manual does not recommend that a trailer be towed with a Yaris.

There is an exception for some years in that it is ok, within circumstances and conditions, to tow a trailer for any Toyota Yaris vehicle in Canada.

If your dealership and manual approve towing with your Yaris, Toyota advises that a Toyota specific, or of equal quality to, hitch/bracket is used.

Always remember and keep in mind that towing heavy loads or overloading your vehicle can cause serious damage to your tires, the steering and braking effectiveness, the engine, and could cause a serious accident on the road.

The US Toyota division will not accept or take responsibility for any damages made to a vehicle that is towing when the manual clearly states that it is not recommended by Toyota for towing. The maximum towing capacity will be available in some manuals whereby towing is accepted in that state for smaller vehicles but only to its maximum capacity.

Here are the details for every Toyota Yaris model from 2009 – 2020 that can and cannot tow a trailer based on the relevant owner’s manual handbook information:

2009 – 2010 Toyota Yaris Hatchback/Sedan

Both the 2009 and 2010 Toyota Yaris Hatchback and Sedan are not recommended for towing in the US. In Canada, however, the combined trailer and cargo weight is a maximum of 700lbs (3018kg) for braking trailers only.

2011 – 2018 Toyota Yaris Hatchback

From 2011 to 2018 it is again not recommended by Toyota that the Yaris tow any trailers, small or large.

Depending on the manual you own you might get something in writing like the following:

“Toyota does not recommend towing a trailer with your vehicle. Toyota also does not recommend the installation of a tow hitch or the use of a tow hitch carrier for a wheelchair, scooter, bicycle, etc. Your vehicle is not designed for trailer towing or the use of tow hitch mounted carriers”

You might also get:

“Your Toyota is not designed for towing. Never tow a trailer with your Toyota”

But some manuals from 2011 – 2018 also provide instruction on towing capacity and weight allowance with towing a trailer.

If your manual states that it is ok to tow using your Yaris with a trailer, here is the information needed for the weight capacity:

Towing capacity with a trailer brake

  • 1KR-FE engine 1609lbs (730kg)
  • 1NR-FE engine 1940lbs (880kg)
  • 1ND-TV engine 1719lbs (780kg)

Towing capacity without the trailer brake

  • Standard across all engine sizes is 1212lbs (550kgs)

The maximum permissible weight for towing just using a hitch/bracket with a 2019 Toyota Yaris is 41lbs (19kg)

2019 Toyota Yaris

Once again, the owner’s manual for the 2019 Toyota Yaris states that towing is not recommended unless checked and approved with a dealership first. However, if towing is allowed and the dealership advises that yes your Yaris has the capacity to tow a trailer and is legal in your state, here is the range you can tow:

Towing capacity with a trailer brake

  • 1KR-FE engine 1609lbs (730kg)
  • 1NR-FE engine 1940lbs (880kg)
  • 1ND-TV engine 1719lbs (780kg)

Towing capacity without the trailer brake

  • Standard across all engine sizes is 1212lbs (550kgs)

The maximum permissible weight for towing a hitch/bracket with a 2019 Toyota Yaris is 41lbs (19kg)

2020 Toyota Yaris

The owner’s manual for a 2020 Toyota Yaris is clear that the 2020 Yaris is not designed or built for towing.

Again, this may differ between countries, states, and owner’s manuals based on where your vehicle was manufactured and delivered to.

Final Thoughts

It’s nice to have a reliable and compact vehicle that easily gets you from A to Z and everywhere in between. Especially in the 21st century where car parking spaces are getting smaller and scarcer with more vehicles on the roads than ever before.

The Yaris has always been a reliable and trustworthy vehicle for just that but if you need to move, want to go on a little vacation, or haul more cargo than your cabin can take it might be nice to be able to tow a trailer.

Always check your owner’s manual and/or with your local dealer before towing a trailer with your Toyota Yaris to avoid damages to your car frame and your engine.