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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2017 TOYOTA YARIS iA REVIEW



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HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


INTRO TO THE TOYOTA YARIS iA VEHICLE
Practicality – defined here as low fuel consumption and price – paired with impressive features is what gives the subcompact 2017 Toyota Yaris appeal. Available in two models, the iA represents the four-door sedan version (replacing the Scion iA), and comes with such desirable standards as a seven-inch touchscreen and rearview camera.


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I drove a 2017 Toyota Yaris with the 106-horsepower 1.5-liter Dual Overhead Cam four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The Yaris sedan iA model features just one trim with the following standard equipment: remote keyless entry; seven-inch touchscreen; rearview camera; Bluetooth; USB and auxiliary input jacks; a six-way-adjustable driver seat; push-button start; sixteen-inch wheels; low speed pre-collision warning system. Total price as described comes to $17,050.

Competitors like the Fiat 500, MINI Cooper and VW Golf tend to outshine where style and performance is concerned, the but the Yaris does take design cues from Toyota’s ED2 design studio located in the South of France. Other competitors include the Ford Focus, Honda Fit and Chevy Sonic.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA


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Stylish But Comfortable Results: While the exterior might not quite electrify your style senses, the Yaris iA does mimic that road-hugging stance found on savvier European competitors. Clear views from every angle, better rear legroom than expected (be realistic!), and noise-reducing improvements like an acoustic glass for the windshield and sound-insulating materials will make up for any design shortcomings. The interior also features a sassier feel with soft-touch trim at the instrument panel and front doors, and many will enjoy the straightforward approach with the incidentals – the Yaris iA has just one set price. As for cargo space, you have 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space which boarders or average.


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Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2017 Toyota Yaris offers nine standard airbags and front seats. Standard equipment includes Toyota’s Star Safety System which brings Vehicle Stability Control, an anti-lock braking system, traction control, EBD and Smart Stop Technology. The Yaris iA surprisingly is a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and does slightly better than the hatchback version. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the model year.


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Cost Issues: While a low price of $17,050 for the Yaris iA excites the senses, keep in mind the Fiat 500 (2016 model data available only at time of review) start at $16,995 and the 2017 Ford Focus sedan is $16,775. The Honda Fort starts at $15,990.

Activity & Performance Ability: The transmission has climbed over previous models from a four-speed to six for better pickup, but as reported before with the Yaris’s 1.5-liter engine you get a sufficient ride that needs to be pushed to feel zesty. That doesn’t mean the Yaris doesn’t satisfy; it felt quite nimble at times with the excellent visibility able to distract any performance shortcomings. Only a select few in its class can do more – that Honda Fit with the Earth Dreams Technology outputs 130-horsepower over the Yaris’s 106 with its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine featuring i-VTEC technology and six-speed transmission – quit worth a test drive.


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The Green Concern: Fuel economy numbers have improved over the years and are now 32 miles-per-gallon city and 40 highway equating to 35 combined – only a hybrid or all-electric vehicle will yield better results.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The 2017 Toyota Yaris is a tempting choice for its improved looks, fuel economy and price – best to test is against the Honda Fit to see what truly fits your taste – but it’s likely the Yaris will be your subcompact champion.

©2016 Katrina Ramser Parrish