There’s lots of choices in the compact sedan market with affordable and fuel-efficient models across the segment. But what if you are searching for one that’s also packed with features and surprisingly fun-to-drive? The new 2017 Toyota Yaris iA is a car you should have on your shopping list.
What’s New For 2017
Formerly known as the Scion iA, the 2017 Yaris iA comes under the Toyota umbrella now that Scion has been axed. It’s essentially unchanged compared to last year’s model.
Features & Options
Our 2017 Toyota Yaris iA tester came with the 6-speed manual transmission ($15,950) which is $250 more than the Scion version from last year. It comes well-equipped for a subcompact car with its abundant features. It offers up keyless entry, push-button start, tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, power mirrors, a 7-inch touchscreen, and 6-speaker sound system with music streaming. It also comes with steering-wheel controls, voice recognition for audio and phone, Bluetooth, a USB port, plus compatibility with Aha, Pandora, and Stitcher.
A 60/40 fold-flat rear seat was also included. Total MSRP including destination: $16,815.
We were impressed the moment we stepped into the Yaris iA’s cabin. The upright touchscreen and circular vents come right from the page of a Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. It’s unusual to find this kind of material quality and fit and finish in a subcompact, costing less than $17,000. There’s lots of soft touch materials used throughout and the infotainment system features the kind of connectivity a high-tech generation wants.
The 7-inch touchscreen sits on the dash. It caught and kept our attention with its easy to read display. Room up front is typical for a subcompact and rear passengers will feel a bit cramped on longer jaunts around town. For cargo, the rear seats fold flat and open up to the sedan’s trunk.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2017 Toyota Yaris iA is powered by a 1.5-liter engine producing an ample 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft. of torque. The iA engine comes from Mazda, using direct injection with a high 12:1 compression ratio. The four-cylinder powerplant is tuned for fuel efficiency and achieves an EPA-estimated 30/39 city/highway and 34 combined with the 6-speed manual gearbox.
If you don’t want to shift yourself, a 6-speed automatic is available and gets better fuel mileage at 33/42 city/highway and 37 combined.
There’s a lot to like about the Scion iA sedan with the manual gearbox. It’s a driver’s car from the start and offers plenty of fun for enthusiasts. We had the car for the weekend and had a chance to drive it in the city and mountains west of Denver.
The Yaris iA hugged the mountain curves with ease and little body lean. The manual gearbox is a joy to shift with crisp changes up and down in the gears. The 6-speed manual is more fun-to-drive than the automatic Scion iA we drove last year by a mile!
On the open road, we had to downshift into 5th on the mountain hills as 6th gear is tall and more of an overdrive. It was easy to find the right gear, however, as we motored through the city streets and made the commute through town. Handling is sporty and the suspension is just right with MacPherson struts in front and the torsion beam in the rear.
If you want a more engaging driving experience, we like the Toyota Yaris iA manual over the more serene automatic. For fuel mileage and city commuting, the Yaris iA automatic is the way to go. Our personal preference would be to sacrifice one or two mpg and go with the sportier driving machine, the 6-speed manual. It’s fun-to-drive, offers a more engaging experience, and still gets excellent fuel mileage overall.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy