2015 Toyota Yaris Review


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2015 Toyota Yaris Overview

Now synonymous with, ahem, basic, inexpensive transportation, Toyota’s Yaris 3- and 5-door subcompact hatchbacks nevertheless get what many in the media call a major refresh for the 2015 model year. But this Mazda-built city-oriented runabout will certainly carry over its 5-passenger capacity, tepid cargo-carrying capabilities, punch-less engine and heady fuel economy numbers. Additionally, the 3 trim levels of yore, the base L, the up-featured LE and the flagship SE, are also slated to return for 2015.

Look for the pint-size Yaris to present a more aggressive profile, especially in the front, where a massive grille and some added swoop to the headlights make this otherwise pretty tame commuter car look like it’ll eat a Mustang or at least a MINI Cooper for lunch. Additionally, the rear fascia gets a few tweaks for the upcoming model year, as does the cabin, which is scheduled to sport an upgraded dashboard, added soft-touch surfaces and what Toyota calls “premium” seats. To that, add an expected suspension tune-up that should boast a bit more agility as well as improved sound insulation and a sportier steering system, even on the entry-level L. Also look for the top-shelf SE trim to flaunt new projector-beam headlights, LED daytime running lights and darkened headlight bezels.

All of these upgrades, by the way, are slated to debut in August of 2014.

In any case, no improvements are expected to the rather uninspiring 1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder powerplant for 2015, thus it remains schlepping 106 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque under the management of a 5-speed manual transmission that’s standard in the L and SE. A dated but nevertheless effective 4-speed automatic transmission, meantime, is again expected to be standard in both 3- and 5-door LE trim levels. Curiously, though Toyota refuses to acknowledge (on its official website) that the Yaris L and SE are eligible for the automatic transmission, most reviews allege the elderly 4-speed slushbox is optional for both the base and top-shelf iterations. Meantime, mileage numbers remain an estimated 30 mpg city/37 highway in stick-shift editions and 30/36 in the automatic-equipped LE.

Interestingly, if you can hold off on buying that new Yaris for a little while, rumors are rife that Mazda’s Skyactiv engine will begin powering this pint-size Toyota in 2016 or 2017. Said powerplant is slated to use super-high compression ratios to pump the cylinders, thus eliminating the need for a turbocharged system while receiving the benefits of added power with even better mileage numbers. The folks at Toyota (and Mazda) are so bold as to claim that the oh-so-efficient Skyactiv mechanics will allow cruising to work at a 50-mpg fuel-efficiency clip.

Now let’s face it, the budget-friendly 2015 Yaris lineup isn’t going to knock your proverbial socks off with fancy doodads, plush appointments or the ultimate in high-tech gizmos. Both the L and the LE, for example, boast 15-inch steel wheels outside, with their somewhat classier SE sibling offering 16-inch alloy wheels. Inside, all variations offer cloth upholstery, power door locks, tilt-wheel steering and simulated alloy cabin accents. All trim levels also sport manual air conditioning and Bluetooth hands-free calling, along with Bluetooth-integrated music streaming via the basic 6.1-inch Entune audio interface display with its attendant single-CD player, 6 speakers and USB port.

The LE returns flaunting cruise control and remote keyless entry along with upgraded cabin materials on the standard equipment list, while the SE again tosses in premium cloth upholstery, leather cabin trim and a sport-tuned suspension. As mentioned, expect a number of tweaks and upgrades to seats, cabin trim and sound insulation materials to improve on various facets of the above goodies in 2015. And though only the 15.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats is mentioned in most Yaris reviews, folding (or split-folding) rear seats add a significant amount of extra toting capacity, but nobody’s saying exactly how much.

Alas, the 2015 Yaris should return with the option of a dealer-installed navigation system intact, and that’s about it for notable options choices. Fear not, however, as a rear spoiler, exterior protection coatings, body-side moldings, splash guards, an emergency assistance kit and a first aid kit are all offered as accessories.

Finally, standard safety equipment in the various Yaris iterations includes the usual antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, and front and rear head airbags, as well as daytime running lights and front fog/driving lights. And don’t forget those new-for-2015 projector beam headlights and LED daytime running lights that are scheduled to adorn the upcoming year’s Yaris SE trim level.


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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