Toyota Yaris did not get the full redesign it needs for its 2015 model year. As such, it lags behind some of the latest subcompacts available in the market today. However, while the new Yaris lacks in some areas, it remains as a desirable subcompact given its capable engine and suspension, respectable fuel economy rating, reliability and strong resale value.
NEW FOR THE 2015 TOYOTA YARIS
o Redesigned front and rear fascia
o Restyled interior
o Touchscreen infotainment interface is now standard across trim levels
o Navigation system is optional across trims
o SE models get LED daytime running lights
UNDER THE HOOD
The front-wheel drive 2015 Toyota Yaris draws its power from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder powertrain, which only got 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque to boast. This engine is paired either with a manual transmission, which is standard on the L and SE trim, or the optional four-speed automatic gearbox.
EPA fuel economy estimate for manual-equipped Yaris checks in at 30/37 mph. For those equipped with the automatic transmission, fuel economy estimate stands at 30/36 mpg.
ON THE ROAD
For a subcompact car, the Yaris is fun to drive. Its steering is quick and responsive, especially on SE models, and the brakes work just fine.
Do not expect the Yaris to deliver much excitement, though, as its four-cylinder engine is a bit outdated compared to the powertrains used by other cars in its class. However, it does provide enough power to move the Yaris around suburban traffic with ease. Running at freeway speeds is also not a problem, though it does require some patience to bring the four-cylinder engine at such speeds.
Most test drivers find that the four-speed automatic does little to help improve the Yaris’ on-road performance. Some find that it downshifts dramatically when asked to deliver more power. Others also noted that it pushes the engine to create more noise when driving at a leisurely speed.
With the updated suspension system, the Yaris offers a smooth ride and better handling that are on par with its competitors. It is also composed around turns. What it lacks, however, is the playful nature that some of its rivals have.
INSIDE THE 2015 TOYOTA YARIS
The refreshed interior of the new Yaris is straightforward, which is a good thing, considering that some subcompacts have gimmicky interiors that make them look cheap. The materials used throughout the space are well-finished and there is a perfect balance between soft-touch panels and plastic accents.
Up front, the newly reshaped dash that dominates the cockpit provides easy access to the instrument panel, while all the controls are simple and easy to use. For those worrying that the view of the road ahead might be on the low side, the Yaris’ high-mounted front seats do a good job in providing good visibility. However, some drivers might be put off by the tilt-only steering column, which makes it difficult for taller drivers to find a comfortable driving position.
At the back, the Yaris proves that subcompacts can accommodate passengers comfortably. The rear seats are comfortable and there is also sufficient leg- and headroom. Trunk space is meager, though, with the two-door Yaris only affording 15.3 cubic feet of space and the four-door version offering only 15.6 cubic feet of space.
The 2015 Toyota Yaris can be had either as a three-door or five-door hatchback version. There are also three trims to choose from, namely L, LE and SE. The L and LE trim are available in three- or five-door body styles, while the SE trim comes only as a five door version.
The base L trim features 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, power door locks and windows, tilt-only steering column, height-adjustable driver seat, fold-down rear seat, trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity and audio system with six-speakers, 6.1-inch display, HD radio, CD player and inputs for USB, iPod and auxiliary audio jack.
The mid-level LE trim gets to have the features found on L trim and gains additional features like 15-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, power side mirror, cruise control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, chrome interior door handles and metallic accents for the interior.
Moving up to the top-tier SE trim affords buyers with niceties like 16-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, projector-beam headlamps, fog lamps, rear spoiler, unique exterior styling, sport-tuned suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, leather-clad sport steering and shifter and sport fabric upholstery.
All models of the 2015 Yaris are eligible for the optional navigation system.
Photo credit: toyota.com