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2014 Toyota Yaris Overview

Yeah, it’s sort of small, and yeah, it’s not going to blow anything away at a green light, but Toyota’s 2014 Yaris subcompact hatchback offers a pleasing blend of versatility, comfort and value that belies its once-bedraggled image. After a comprehensive rework in 2012, this little liftback has gained a reputation for reliability, looks and safety that has the competition sitting up and taking notice, while owners benefit from a bit more rear-seat space, some added cargo area and a higher driver’s seating position for almost SUV-like visibility.

Again available in 3 trims, the base L, the midlevel LE and the sporty SE, this pint-size hatchback can be delivered in either a 3-door or 5-door version in its L and LE configurations, with folding rear seatbacks adding immeasurably to its stated 15.3 cubic feet of cargo room to said rear seatbacks. The SE trim, meantime, remains available only in 4-door garb and flaunts 15.6 cubic feet of cargo room to the rear seatbacks. The SE additionally boasts a sport-tuned suspension that gives this already maneuverable commuter car a distinct extra kick on winding back roads.

Powering each Yaris again this year is the ubiquitous 1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that remains under the management of a standard 5-speed manual transmission in the L trim (optional in the SE). The LE and SE, meanwhile, are delivered with a 4-speed automatic transmission that’s described by most reviewers as outmoded and wasteful, fuel-wise. The L can, of course, get the 4-speed automatic as an option. In any case, no matter the transmission, the I4 pumps out a comparatively tepid 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque. Mileage, however, is a splendid 30 mpg city/37 highway in stick-shift-equipped Yaris trims, with the automatic-equipped trims stuck at a could-be-better 30/36 clip. In maintainming tradition, meanwhile, this little hatchback is delivered only with front-wheel drive (FWD).

Keeping options to a minimum means, in the eyes of some beholders, a decent number of standard features thrown even into the base Yaris L. That may, however, be debatable, as this entry-level trim boasts only such rather bland standard bling as 15-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, power door locks, tilt-wheel steering, air conditioning, some unconvincing simulated alloy cabin accents, a folding rear seatback and a single-CD player with 6 speakers. The inclusion of standard Bluetooth hands-free communications, though a nice touch, still leaves this entry-level Yaris trim short of Ford’s Fiesta S, for example, features-wise.

Anyhow, moving up to the 2-door LE trim, expect to find all the L’s features, plus a height-adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, split-folding rear seatbacks, remote keyless entry, power windows, power-adjustable outside mirrors and cruise control.

The flagship SE, meanwhile, flaunts many of the above goodies, as well as a sportier suspension setup, 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, premium cloth upholstery and upgraded cabin accents, including a leather and simulated alloy steering wheel and leather-wrapped shift knob.

Accessories (there are really no true options) with this tiny Toyota are limited to carpeted floor and cargo mats, exterior paint protection film, mudguards, a first aid kit and a roadside emergency kit.

Finally, notable standard safety features aboard all 2014 Yaris trims include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front head restraint whiplash protection, and front and rear head airbags, with the top-shelf SE again sporting standard front fog/driving lights, as well.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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