Sporty Style, Strong Safety, Super Sedan
The newest member of the Yaris team, the iA sports sedan, has been hailed for its sleek styling, sporty driving dynamics and standard safety systems. It’s a subcompact sedan loaded with premium features, but offered at an affordable price.
While the visual impact of the 2017 Yaris iA is dramatic, beneath the daringly curved sheet metal lies a tight, agile machine that re-defines “entry level.”
Hitting the highlights: a high-strength body structure; quick-revving, high-compression 1.5-liter engine with 106 horsepower; choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions; standard 16-inch alloy wheels; standard Low-speed Pre-collision safety system; and 7-inch multimedia system with voice recognition. The Yaris iA is rated by the EPA with 32 city/ 40 highway/ 35 combined MPG for the automatic version and 30 city/ 39 highway/ 34 combined for the manual.
Curves Ahead, Trunk Behind
The 2017 Yaris iA has an eye-catching front end with a hexagon lower grille and sharp-eyed headlights. In the rear, the spacious trunk gives it a distinctive look in the segment.
The Yaris iA cuts a striking profile that certainly stands out in a crowd. To make the most of its sophisticated sedan breeding, the iA also sports an upscale looking piano black bumper treatment, chrome grille surround and chrome tailpipe. The color choices deliver a range of vibrant intensity: Stealth, Abyss, Graphite, Pulse, Sapphire, Chromium and Frost.
It also inherits a critical item from its hatchback siblings, a standard 60/40 split rear seat back to extend carrying capacity and versatility.
As Fun As It Looks
Push the “Start” button (Keyless Entry with Push-Button Start is standard), and the Yaris iA springs to life with a sporty yet muted rasp from its chrome tailpipe. It’s the sound of a very high-tech 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s big in both spirit and technology.
In other words, the Yaris iA zips as it sips. Much credit also goes to outstanding transmissions. The standard 6-speed manual is compact, lightweight and super low on friction with a short throw, making it one of the sweetest-shifting manuals around.
For those who prefer an automatic, the available 6-speed transmission will intrigue. Engineered for light weight, low friction and a direct-shift feel, the automatic has a bit of a dual personality. It moves the Yaris iA from a standing start with the smoothness only a torque converter automatic can deliver, then locks the converter for quicker, more direct shifts and greater fuel efficiency. For drivers seeking greater torque feel, Sport Mode is available with the flip of a switch.
The MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension are tuned for a just-right balance of sporty handling and comfortable ride not normally associated with this segment. Steering and brake system tuning, in particular, received attention befitting of a sports sedan. The Yaris iA uses a rigid steering mount, which provides a direct yet light feel. Progressive braking feel comes to the fore when cornering. Entering the curve, the pedal provides smooth operation, then progresses to a more rigid feel as G-force rises.
Agility is engineered into the Yaris iA, not just added on with stiffer springs and shocks. The body structure uses straight beams wherever possible, continuous framework that makes the individual sections function in harmony, and effective positioning of high-tensile steel. Bottom line, it’s strong.
Big on Safety
That high-strength structure also forms the foundation for safety in the Yaris iA, which has been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. A solid H-shaped ring joins the roof and B-pillars to underbody and combines with high-tensile steel on key frame members and a part of the floor to form a robust structure.
Front side airbags and curtain airbags help protect front and rear seat occupants. But the biggest safety news in this low-priced, high-MPG model is a standard Low-speed Pre-collision system that uses a laser to help the driver avoid certain frontal collisions with a preceding vehicle and help minimize damage in the event of an accident. The iA also features a brake override system and a rear view backup camera comes standard.
Looks do not deceive in the Yaris iA cabin. Premium chrome accents and soft-touch trim and surfaces belie the car’s price point. For starters, consider how the iA accommodates a wide range of drivers’ physiques, including its 10-inch fore-aft slide adjustment and the standard seat height adjuster, too. There’s no skimping with the steering wheel, which offers tilt and telescoping adjustments.
It’s easy to take for granted features like cruise control and power windows, locks and exterior mirrors, because they’re standard in most cars over a certain price. On some cars in the Yaris iA’s neighborhood, those could be extra-cost options, but they’re all included on the 2017 iA’s lengthy standard equipment roster.
The sporty steering wheel has control switches for the audio and standard Bluetooth. Hardly “entry level,” the standard 7-inch Display Audio system has a touch screen, six speakers, remote interface and rear-view camera. Pandora®, Aha™ and Stitcher™ come standard, providing a huge music, talk and podcast universe when paired with a compatible phone. For those who bring their own music to the iA, two USB ports and an Auxiliary input are standard. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel by using Voice Recognition to control many of the multimedia system features. An available navigation system also is offered through Toyota dealers.
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation.
Standard Toyota Care is a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Recommended retail price (MSRP) starts from $16,815