Toyota introduced extensive updates to Yaris for model-year 2015, bringing distinctive European design to the entry-level segment. The European touch continues for 2016 with the introduction of two new color combos, pairing Barcelona Red or Crushed Ice with a Black Sand Pearl roof.
The Euro look is the real deal: the Yaris was designed in Toyota’s ED2
design studio in the South of France. Toyota also builds the new Yaris in France, giving this little car a bit of international intrigue. With its low windshield angle, short overhangs and wheels pushed out to the corners, the Yaris looks ready to pounce on the road, but beneath the crisp lines is a smooth-riding machine. The horizontal chrome grille trim and large grille opening create a sporty face and a line to other Toyota cars.
European cities are known for some narrow streets, where, when you see a home that’s got “old world charm,” it might mean it was built 400 years ago! The considerably more modern Yaris easily navigates such historic paths and those closer to home quite adroitly thanks to a class-leading 31.5-ft. turning circle (3-door model).
The bold look of the Yaris also brings a new, more vibrant attitude in tune with the car’s customers. The choice of 3-door and 5-door body styles remains an exclusive in the segment. Behind the rear seats, there’s up to 15.6 cu. ft. of carrying space (in the five-door model), which increases significantly when the seatbacks are lowered.
Silence is Golden – but Affordable
The rigid body structure and sporty suspension tuning endow the Yaris with sporty agility and a smooth, quiet ride that customers of all ages can appreciate. The quietness comes also from an acoustic glass windshield and strategically placed sound -absorbing and sound-insulating materials throughout the car. Wind-cheating aerodynamics, including the car’s 0.30 coefficient of drag (Cd), and specially shaped side mirrors help to cut both drag and wind noise.
Rocker panel protectors, asphalt sheets for the floor panel and silencers for the floor tunnel help cut road noise, and under-hood insulators block engine noise from entering the cabin. Foam-type sound insulation material injected into hollow structural spaces blocks outside noise.
Fun Yet Frugal
Fun, functionality and frugality come together in the Toyota Yaris. The smooth-revving 1.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder DOHC engine equipped with variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) produces 106 hp at 6,000 rpm and 103 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. The broad torque curve makes those numbers seem even bigger when you’re driving the Yaris, which offers snappy response with either transmission.
A smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission, made smoother by a hydraulic clutch, is standard on the L grade. An available four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission features a compact, lightweight design and low friction for high fuel efficiency. EPA estimated city/highway/combined mpg with a manual transmission is 30/37/33 and 30/36/32 for models equipped with the automatic.
The more rigid body structure, together with retuned suspension, provide for a smoother, more confident ride. The Yaris rides on front MacPherson-strut and rear torsion-beam suspension systems. Sport-tuned electric power steering helps make the Yaris nimble and easy to park on crowded city streets, and there’s no hydraulic fluid to ever check or replace. The Yaris L rides on 15-inch steel wheels and the LE comes with 15-inch alloy wheels as standard.
Get Sporty: Yaris SE
The SE grade gives the Yaris an especially sporty look with its black front grille with piano black accent, rear spoiler, rear diffuser, black exterior trim, black headlight trim and machined spoke 16-inch alloy wheels with 195/50R16 tires. Also, on the SE grade other drivers see you more easily thanks to new LED daytime running lights, a touch inherited from luxury models. The SE adds performance function, too with four-wheel disc brakes.
Inside, the leather-trimmed tilt three-spoke steering wheel includes audio controls and standard cruise control.
The Yaris packs big safety into a small package. Protection in a collision starts with an impact-absorbing body structure that makes wide use of high-tensile strength steel to effectively absorb and distribute collision forces. The 2016 Yaris models have nine SRS airbags, including:
- Driver and front-passenger dual-stage airbags
- Front seat side airbags
- Front seat cushion airbags
- Side curtain shield airbags
- Driver’s knee airbag
Like all Toyota vehicles, the 2016 Yaris features the Star Safety System™, which includes:
- Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
- Traction Control (TRAC)
- Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
- Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
- Smart Stop Technology (Toyota’s brake-override system)
The Advanced Whiplash Injury-Lessening (WIL) front-seat structure helps to ensure that the region from the head to the lower back are equally supported, helping to reduce whiplash-type injuries during certain types of rear end collisions.
Firm Where Needed, Soft Where It Counts
Toyota imbued the new-generation Yaris with a feeling of solidity and quality throughout. That feeling carries through to even small details that make for a pleasant ownership experience. The glovebox damper, for example, lets the compartment open with a smoothness seen on luxury models. Dual extendable sun visors with vanity mirrors are a convenience some entry cars leave out.
The Yaris cabin design clearly defines the driver and front passenger spaces, and the instrument gauge cluster conveys a sporty intent. Below the large speedometer, an LCD multi-information display includes functions for odometer, trip meter, clock, outside temperature, fuel economy, and average speed.
High-quality materials throughout the Yaris cabin set the tone for an overall premium feel that feels a “class above.” Soft-touch trim for the instrument panel and front doors feature a leather-like grain to give their surfaces a high-quality look and feel. The LE grade features bright trim around the instrument gauges and shifter bezel. The sporty SE adds piano black interior trim accents, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift lever and contrast white stitching to the seats.
The seats themselves were made a bit larger last year, with a higher front-of-cushion, to ensure comfort for longer drives. The side bolsters were extended higher, too, for a more body-hugging feel. Storage compartments around the cabin, including numerous small pockets around the driver’s seat, keep digital devices and other items secure.
Toyota Value: The Gold Standard
The Yaris comes in L, LE and SE grades, each a mono-spec trim that eliminates option packages. Standard features include air conditioning, sport-tuned electric power steering, 3-spoke tilt steering wheel, power door locks with illuminated entry, cargo area cover and lamp, power windows with driver’s side auto up/down, and color-keyed folding outside mirrors. The Yaris LE adds the convenience of power mirrors, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls, and a remote keyless entry system with engine immobilizer.
In all Yaris models, the standard Entune Audio includes a 6.1-inch touch screen, an AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, HD Radio™ with iTunes®
Tagging, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod®
connectivity and control, hands-free phone capability, voice recognition, and music streaming via Bluetooth®
wireless technology. A navigation system is an available port, or dealer-installed, option.
Clever details add convenience and value in the Yaris. The wide-sweeping single windshield wiper design uses an innovative wet-arm washer system that sprays washer fluid from the base of the wiper arm directly into the blade’s path for improved cleaning. All models come with a standard rear window wiper.
Anyone who’s ever felt the annoyance and embarrassment of leaving a dome light on overnight, only to find a dead battery the next day, will appreciate that it won’t happen in a 2016 Yaris; an automatic cut-off system will turn off any interior lights after 20 minutes if the ignition is switched off.
Combine all that with big fuel economy estimates and the brand’s penchant for high QDR (Quality, Dependability and Reliability), and you’ve got a stellar small car in the 2016 Toyota Yaris.
Toyota Quality, Warranty and Care
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-car warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation.
The Yaris also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.