Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Mazda by any other name: 2017 Toyota Yaris iA

Photo from Toyota.com
  These days, it is pretty easy to find a subcompact car that is affordable and fuel efficent. However, what if you wanted one that is packed full of features and decently fun to drive? Then the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA might be an option for you.

     The car that is the Yaris iA has lived something of a traveler's life. The first 2 years the car was on the market, it was the Scion iA. In actuality, it is a Mazda 2. Last year, Toyota canned the Scion brand, and brought the iA over to Toyota.

      The 2017 Toyota Yaris iA is a compact sedan that is only offered in one pretty well equipped trim level. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition and entry, cruise control, a low-speed forward collision warning system with emergency braking, full power accessories, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 60/40 split folding rear seats, and a/c.

Photo from Toyota.com
     On the technology front, you get a rear vision camera, 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and a six speaker audio system. A navigation system is one of the few options you can get, however.

     The 2017 Yaris iA employs a 1.5 liter 4-cylinder engine that should in theory produce the same 106 horsepower and 103 lb.-ft of torque that the Scion iA did. Power is sent to the front wheels only, and is routed through a standard 6-speed manual transmission. You can get a 6-speed automatic for an extra cost, if that interests you.

     According to the EPA, the auto-equipped Yaris iA should be good for 35 mpg combined, with the manual clocking in at 34 mpg combined.

     Standard safety features include antilock brakes(however the rears are drums,) stability control, front-seat side airbags, full length curtain airbags, as well as traction control. A low speed collision warning system with automatic braking is standard, which is rare in this class, even as an option.

    Yaris iA bucks that trend and earns higher marks for comfort and thoughtful design. Materials used in the cabin are similar to those found in more expensive vehicles, and the touchscreen infotainment system with the redundant rotary knob is the same way. The 7-inch touchscreen is placed in such a way that the sharp graphics can be read at a quick glance.
Photo from Toyota.com
 To be honest, you can't really expect much in the way of interior refinement in this class, but the

     The front seats only have the most basic of adjustments, but average or shorter people will find these seats perfect for longer trips. Taller drivers might have to compromise however, as the short extension of the tilt and telescoping steering wheel could force you to sit closer to the steering wheel than they might like. A arm rest doesn't come standard, but you can order one from the dealer as an extra cost option.

     Rear seats are normal for this class, meaning that for average and shorter people, they are perfect. For the taller folk, head and leg room might be an issue. The tall door panels and smallish windows tend to make the space feel even smaller than it is. On the good side, the trunk comes in at a large for the class 13.5 cubic feet of space. The folding rear seats will make that number grow even larger.

Photo from Toyota.com
     With modest power coming from the 4-cylinder engine, the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA will take some time and space to get up to the faster highway speeds. A tap of the sport button on models that are equipped with the 6-speed auto transmission sharpens the throttle response, but you still might need to floor it to merge with traffic or make that pass.

     Thanks to the Mazda underpinnings, the Yaris iA feels surprisingly sharp and athletic on winding roads. It should deliver a smooth and compliant ride, without much noise or fanfare to deal with.

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