2017 Toyota Yaris
The economic climate and the auto market have changed considerably over the last few years, so now it's trucks, crossovers and SUVs we just don't seem to be able to get enough of. Despite bigger vehicles offering lower fuel economy being the flavor of the moment right now, smaller economical cars do still sell in considerable numbers, but they really do have to be good to make an impression. The 2017 Toyota Yaris is one such car that's now been in production since 1999, and the latest version of the hatchback is part of the third-generation of a nameplate that's immensely popular all around the world.
There's no denying the fact the 2017 Toyota Yaris is a subcompact in terms of its exterior proportions, but not everything about it is small. As seems to be the way of things these days, the Yaris appears to be bigger inside than it is on the outside. But as well as making the absolute most of the available interior space, the cabin also has an air of quality only normally found with vehicles considerably bigger and more expensive. There's a decidedly premium feel to the materials used and the build quality is every bit as good as we've come to expect from a Toyota.
Along with its three distinct trim levels of L, LE and SE, there's also a choice of three and five-door hatchback body styles to select from. This year also sees a newcomer to the lineup in the form of the Yaris iA, which is basically what used to be the Scion iA four-door sedan that utilizes the same platform as the regular Yaris.
The Yaris and Yaris iA use almost identical engines but do offer very different transmission options. The engine in question is an inline-four producing 106 horsepower and 103 lb.-ft. of torque, which comes mated to either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission in the Yaris hatchback. The iA sedans have a similar 1.5-liter inline-four with the same power ratings, but the transmission options are a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic.
Obviously, any subcompact worth mentioning has to offer buyers impressive fuel economy, and the 2017 Toyota Yaris certainly lives up to that billing. The most frugal version of the Yaris is the three-door L model with the manual transmission, which get EPA-estimated ratings of 30 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and 33 mpg combined.* Choosing the automatic only makes a small difference to those numbers though, with just one mile per gallon less for both highway and combined driving conditions for that specification.
If you assume the Yaris is going to be like other subcompacts that are pretty much stripped-down city cars for nipping around on short journey with few comforts and features, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise. Even base versions of the Yaris com standard with: a six-speaker stereo, a 6.1-inch touch-screen display, HD Radio, USB ports, Bluetooth, and voice recognition.
And a new addition for the 2017 model year Yaris is Toyota's Safety Sense-C suite of features, which makes the car safer than many of its rivals by including: lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and pre-collision braking; all of which you'll struggle to find in any other car in this class.
*All vehicle mileage based on 2017 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage may vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.