For 2016, the Toyota Yaris has changed its identity.
No longer is it just a small economy car devoid of any joy. The new model has become what Toyota hopes will be seen as a premium subcompact.
Part of the new identity is the new front fascia, which features squinty lights and gapping maw. The rest of the new look is actually rather pleasant as well. The side view is almost sleek and the rear is clean and has no glaring problems.
When you open the door and settle into the driver’s seat, you may be surprised to see a steering wheel with so many buttons in a car that Toyota aims at pricing around $16,000.00.
The steering wheel buttons allow you to control your radio, Bluetooth, and cruise control.
The model pictured here is equipped with the optional 7-inch touch screen audio system.
If you look closely at the interior picture you will notice actual dials and buttons for the heating and A/C, which will make adjusting your environment a cinch while travelling.
Keeping to the premium feel, the company includes options like voice recognition and a back-up camera. For those who suffer through cold winter mornings the Yaris comes with standard heated electric door mirrors and keyless entry.
While the list of standard equipment is modest, the Yaris interior is well thought out, and features soft touch materials as opposed to the cheap plastic one might expect.
The trunk is big considering the vehicles squirrel-like proportions and can be expanded with the 60/40 split folding rear seats.
The Yaris will be powered by a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine that puts out 106 hp which can be transmitted to the front wheels through either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Toyota has estimated the highway fuel consumption at 42 mpg.
The automatic features a lock up torque converter to help deliver a more direct shift feel, and the Sport Mode adds some much needed extra torque.
The 2016 Toyota Yaris will be available to consumers later this year, and we will receive pricing and more detailed spec information closer to that date.