Entry Price $15,950
Price as Tested: $17,915
This week we’re driving the new 2017 Toyota Yaris iA, a stretched wheelbase four-door sedan that offers much for the money. Yaris iA came about when Toyota decided to cease production of its Scion iA models at the end of 2016 and welcomed the former into the family with a simple Toyota re-badge.
All Yaris models, including five shorter-wheelbase models, compete in a very competitive segment. Included are Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Chevy Spark, Mitsubishi Mirage, Fiat 500L and Kia Rio (to name a few). All have different qualities, although this new Yaris iA offers more safety features with similar pricing.
Yaris iA offers a 2.4-inch longer wheelbase than the smaller 98.8-inch wheelbase Yaris and features just about everything a new car consumer desires. Included as standard fare on every Yaris is Toyota’s heralded “Safety Sense” system which is a big plus when it comes to comparisons.
Fuel mileage, meanwhile, is noteworthy although not tops in class. There’s a new six-speed automatic available only in the Yaris iA line, and much better than the outdated four-speed automatic still utilized in the smaller Yaris L, LE and SE models. If you like to shift, a five-speed manual is standard on Yaris while a six-speed manual comes with the Yaris iA. The resulting MPG finds the six-speed automatic the best of the bunch at 32 city and 40 highway while the six-speed manual delivers less with 30 city and 39 highway the estimates. The best MPG in the smaller Yaris with the five-speed manual is 30 city and 36 highway while the four-speed automatic is listed at 30 city and 35 highway.
I applaud Toyota as each and every Yaris for 2017, large or small, comes with the aforementioned Toyota Safety Sense package of high-tech safety features. Included are lane departure warning, low speed pre-collision alert, automatic emergency braking. Not long ago, these features would have added thousands to the price.
Expanding more on Yaris safety, add nine airbags, rear safety camera, brake assist, traction control, anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability, electronic brake force and more which make every Yaris as safe as possible.
Every Yaris relies on the trusty 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that has been powering Yaris since 2008. It may not deliver great acceleration or the best MPG in class, but according to owner reliability ratings it’s a bulletproof little engine.
Perhaps the most important reason to choose a Yaris iA over the other “non iA” models is price. Yaris iA with a six-speed manual retails for $15,950 while the automatic is $17,050. For further comparison, big brother Toyota Avalon costs more than the smaller Toyota Camry, as does our assessment of the base Yaris versus the iA. As both iA and Avalon have longer wheelbases and more amenities, the larger Yaris subcompact should be your first test drive when shopping Yaris models as the out the door retail price of just $17,915 is most impressive and includes $865 delivery.
Continuing with this Yaris versus Yaris iA assessment, the entry Yaris two-door hatchback “L” comes with the five-speed manual and retails for $15,250. Compared to the entry iA with the six-speed manual and all the extra amenities, you’ll need just $700 more to park it in your driveway at $15,950. The iA also offers more interior and cargo room along with larger 16-inch Toyo tires on alloy wheels.
As for power, all Yaris models rely on a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that delivers 106 horses and 103 lb. ft. of torque. These may not be big numbers compared to other cars on the road, yet when coupled with a lightweight build and the six-speed automatic, our Yaris iA provided somewhat acceptable acceleration although it does have a good “fun to drive” factor and is a cinch to parallel park. Expect zero to 60 in about nine to 10 seconds.
Notable standard features include a rear-defogger, daytime running lamps, cloth seating, keyless entry, push-button start, air conditioning, all the powers and much more. The interior is roomy and comfortable and cargo room is good and offers several cu. ft. more than the smaller Yaris.
The Yaris iA sound system is also notable thanks to Toyota’s six-speaker Commander Control with a seven-inch display. It’s easy to operate compared to some of the other modern day systems and included are AM/FM/HD, two USB ports, iPod, Pandora, and Bluetooth with voice recognition. Your Toyota dealer will explain all features of the Yaris iA and any current incentives when you visit.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 101.2-inches, 2,385 lb. curb weight, 5.5 inch ground clearance, 32.2 ft. turn radius, 11.6 gallon fuel tank and 13.5 cu. ft. of cargo space.
I recommend first driving the Yaris iA for obvious advantages and then drive the smaller L, LE or SE models for evaluation.
In summary, Yaris iA is a fine little car that will deliver many miles of trouble free driving.
Likes: Price, iA dimensions, reliability.
Dislikes: Could use more horsepower, how about a turbo?
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other Gatehouse Media publications.