Test Drive: 2017 Toyota Yaris iA
Entry Price $15,950
Price as Tested: $16,815
This week we’re driving the new 2017 Toyota Yaris iA, a stretched wheelbase four door sedan that offers much for the money and is delivered in “pretty much the full package” trim according to Toyota literature. Yaris competes in a very competitive market as Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Chevy Spark, Mazda2 and Kia Rio (to name a few) battle for consumer approval.
This special Yaris iA model is 2.4 inches longer in the wheelbase than the other Yaris models and features just about everything a new car consumer desires, from enhanced safety features to fuel mileage numbers of 30 city and 39 highway with the six-speed manual, the latter a new addition for 2017. In a way, the Yaris iA is what Toyota Avalon is to the Camry … bigger and better.
Also new for 2017 is the availability of a six-speed automatic in the Yaris iA line. The outdated, yet reliable four-speed automatic, however, is still utilized in the smaller Yaris L, LE and SE models and I would think by 2018 and surely 2019 the six-speed manuals and automatics will be available across the board. However, if you want the six-speed automatic this year, Yaris iA is your choice and it lists for just $17,050. If you desire a manual trans in the Yaris L, LE or SE models you’ll receive a five-speed manual.
And speaking of the extra gears in the transmissions, the six-speed automatic Yaris iA is the best of the bunch when it comes to fuel mileage, as 32 city and 40 highway are the listed EPA numbers compared to the four-speed automatic’s 30 city and 37 highway estimate.
The stretched Yaris iA delivers the six speeds as standard fare and priced at just $15,950 delivered for a manual (plus $865 delivery), what’s not to like? Now since you’ve read this far, I’ll also tell you the new Yaris iA is the same as the Scion iA, but since Toyota discontinued the Scion brand they rebadged it as the Yaris iA. Still, it’s all good.
I applaud Toyota in that each and every Yaris for 2017, large or small, comes with the heralded Toyota Safety Sense suite of advanced and high-tech safety features. Included are lane departure warning, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking and automatic high beam control. Not long ago, these features would have added thousands to the price of a car but over at Toyota, integration of high tech safety is now doctrine. (Take a bow Toyota).
Expanding more on Yaris safety, add to the high-tech features a “safety cocoon” of nine airbags, brake assist, traction control, anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability, electronic brake force and more make any Yaris a safe as possible.
The new six-speed transmissions aside, Yaris iA relies on the trusty 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that has been powering all Yaris models since 2008. It may not deliver great acceleration or the very best MPG in class, but according to owner reliability ratings it’s a bulletproof little engine. Coupled to our tester’s six-speed manual, Toyota engineers utilize the extra gearing to both improve acceleration and deliver outstanding highway cruising economy.
Most notable is Yaris iA pricing. A Toyota Avalon is way more expensive than the entry Toyota Camry, yet our tester came with all the important standard equipment and not one option for an out the door retail price of just $16,815 when you add $865 for delivery. The lowest priced entry is the 98.8-inch wheelbase two-door hatchback “L” with the five speed manual for $15,250. Again, compare that with the six-speed manual iA for $15,950 where you also receive more interior room, larger 16-inch Toyo tires on alloy wheels and a standard backup camera, and the decision should be crystal clear.
The aforementioned 1.5-liter four-cylinder 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 subcompact build and the six-speed manual, our Yaris iA provided decent acceleration and a good fun to drive factor. Expect zero to 60 in about 9 seconds.
Notable standard features include rear-defogger, daytime headlamps, nice cloth seating, push button start, air conditioning, all the powers and much more. The interior is pretty much all business yet roomy and comfortable nonetheless. Cargo room is also good and offers several cu. ft. more than the smaller Yaris models.
The Yaris iA sound system receives a thumbs-up, as occupants will enjoy Toyota’s six-speaker Commander Control with a 7-inch display interface. I like the system’s turn and push dials versus other “touch only” systems that are cumbersome to operate and take the driver’s eyes off the road needlessly. Included is AM/FM/HD radio, two USB ports, iPod, Pandora, and Bluetooth with voice recognition. Your Toyota dealer will explain all features on the new Yaris iA model, and any current incentives.
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 highly recommend you first drive a new Yaris iA for obvious transmission, wheelbase and fuel mileage concerns versus the smaller L, LE or SE models. Overall, Yaris iA receives a solid Test Drive buy rating.
Likes: Value, fuel mileage, larger iA dimensions, reliability.
Dislikes: Could use more horsepower, competing models may offer more, how about a turbo iA?
-- Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions at email@example.com.