2018 Yaris New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Yaris lineup includes two unrelated subcompact cars: The Toyota Yaris 3-Door and 5-Door hatchbacks date back to 2007. The Yaris iA four-door sedan, on the other hand, began life as a the Scion iA sedan, a totally different product.
Yaris sedan and hatch models are in the same size class, however, so when Toyota folded the Scion brand in 2016, the Scion iA was relaunched as the Yaris iA.
For 2018, Yaris hatchbacks get a new grille, front fascia, and rear bumper. A black mesh grille with chrome surround goes on Yaris SE versions. Wider taillights are integrated into back doors. Base L models gain a tilt steering wheel with audio controls. Not many observers are likely to notice the changes to the hatch. Even fewer will notice changes to the sedan, because there aren't any.
Designed and manufactured by Mazda, the Yaris iA has been sold in other parts of the world as the Mazda 2.
Yaris hatchbacks come in L, LE, and SE trim levels, with either three or five doors. The Yaris iA sedan comes in a single trim.
Both cars use 1.5-liter four-cylinder engines that develop 106 horsepower, but the two engines are unrelated. The hatchback engine is Toyota-built, while the sedan's hails from Mazda. Hatchbacks can have a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed automatic (one of the few 4-speed automatics that remain available today, as most have more gears now). The iA sedan comes with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic.
Toyota has taken the lead in standard safety features, even for its least-expensive models. The Yaris hatchback comes with a suite of advanced safety features, including lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, and automatic emergency braking. Because the iA's safety equipment was developed by Mazda, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams are not included. Although the hatchback's automatic braking system works at all speeds, the iA's functions only at lower velocities.
Safety ratings are good for the sedan, but less so for hatchbacks. The iA sedan has earned top Good scores in crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, awarded a Top Safety Pick designation. The hatchback is marred by a Marginal rating for the small-overlap frontal impact test.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given the Yaris iA a five-star overall rating, including five stars in each separate test. The 2017 five-door hatchback rated only four stars overall, with a four-star frontal-impact score and five-star for side impact.
Toyota Yaris 3-Door L hatch comes with a 5-speed manual ($15,635) or 4-speed automatic transmission ($16,385), cloth seats, 15-inch steel wheels, tilt steering wheel, 6.1-inch touchscreen, daytime running lights, and 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $895 destination charge.)
Yaris 5-Door L ($16,760) comes only with automatic.
Yaris 3-Door LE ($17,285) and 5-Door LE ($17,660) come with 4-speed automatic, plus 15-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and keyless entry.
Yaris 5-Door SE ($18,260) includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, black mesh grille, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Scout navigation app, and all-disc brakes. Manual gearbox is standard, automatic is available ($19,060).
Yaris iA sedan or automatic comes with 6-speed manual ($15,950) or 6-speed automatic transmission ($17,050), 16-inch alloy wheels, rearview camera, remote keyless entry, pushbutton start, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth, and 7.0-inch touchscreen.