Among the core features of the redesigned 2012 Toyota Yaris are the almost $1,000 higher price of entry, the two inches more wheelbase and the three inches added to the length. This newest entry from Toyota into a subcompact segment comes with a carryover engine and transmission in a slightly larger package.
This segment is rapidly becoming more competitive as evidenced by the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent. The extra length and wheelbase seem to have gone into the cargo area and back seat. A passenger who stands six foot can now comfortably sit behind a 6-foot driver. He would even have plenty of headroom and sufficient legroom.
With the rear seats folded down, the cargo area has gained 70 percent compared to the old version. However, at a time when subcompact rivals are offering five and six-speed automatics, Toyota remained conservative with a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.
This is because executives at Toyota believe that the more automatic gear ratios, when combined with a small four-cylinder engine, will result in a lot of uncomfortable gear hunting which deviates from experiencing a smooth-shifting ride. Regarding the price bump, the company explained that it added significant standard features to all models that were optional before.
Thus, transaction prices will probably stay about the same. Among these standard content that were optional before include a radio with CD player and USB port, a rear-window wiper, power door locks and 15-inch wheels.
Three more airbags are also added to the vehicle, for a total of nine. However, the base Yaris L model still has side-view mirrors adjustable with a thumb as well as crank windows. The base MSRP will range from $14,115 for the L grade three-door liftback with a five-speed manual transmission to $17,200 for the SE grade five-door liftback with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The Sport-Tuned Yaris SE
The Yaris SE is designed for a more exhilarating drive with its interior design, sportier style, quicker ratio steering and, of course, sport-tuned suspension. It utilises front and rear disc brakes, where the diameter of the front discs is nearly an inch more than in the L and LE models. Its alloy wheels are fitted with P195/50R16 tyres.
The SE stands out among other Yaris models with its colour-keyed grille inserted with sport mesh, smoke-trim multi-reflector halogen headlights and integrated fog lights. The front and rear lower spoilers are also colour-keyed, while the spoiler and diffuser at the rear are contrasted by the chrome exhaust outlet and SE logo.
The SE’s interior features a sportier instrument panel which has a digital multi-instrument display, analogue speedometer, tachometer and fuel gauge. The tilt three-spoke steering wheel is enhanced with a leather trim and incorporates the audio controls and the standard cruise control. The seats are designed for comfortably controlled dynamic driving with more support to the shoulder level. The sport fabric trimmed driver and passenger seats are six-way and four-way adjustable, respectively.