2017 Toyota Yaris iA continues the fun from Scion

2017 Toyota Yaris iA (Aaron)

With the Scion name gone, the iA model moves to the Toyota line for 2017 as the Yaris iA. But the fun continues as the car remains largely unchanged.. Except for packages. Which are hilarious.

The manufacturer says

Yaris iA comes standard with an advanced Active Safety System that includes Dynamic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Anti-lock Brake System, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, and Brake Over-ride System.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Toyota
  • Year, Model: 2017 Yaris iA
  • Class, Type: Compact sedan
  • Propulsion system: 1.5L 4cyl, 6spd
  • Base Price: $15,950
  • MSRP as tested: $16,815
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The Yaris iA is the continuation of the Mazda-Toyota collaboration in which Toyota is rebranding the Mazda2 subcompact sedan. Originally the Scion iA, it is now the Toyota Yaris iA due to the Scion brand being discontinued. Several other former Scion vehicles are now being sold as Toyotas as well.

Not much has changed for the iA outside of the Toyota badge replacing the Scion hoop. The “Yaris” name is arbitrary as this car has no relation to the Yaris models it’s sold alongside. The car is actually made by Mazda, engine and all. It’s sold with one trim level and some options packages. Those packages are pretty funny.

These aren’t “add this equipment for this price” packages like we’d normally see with cars. Instead, they’re “stuff” packages that don’t necessarily add value to the car itself. The “Whole Enchilada Package” adds an actual enchilada meal to the purchase of the car. Need social followers? The “+1 Follower Package” includes a guy named Stan who follows you on social media and likes your stuff. A “Full Trim” package includes a haircut. The “Min-iA-ture Package” comes with a tiny model of the car plus one of you wearing a horse mask. And the “Bells and Whistles Package” comes with.. Yep, bells and whistles.

Back to th car itself, though, the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA is pretty well equipped as-is. It includes alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry/ignition, power accessories, a low-speed forward collision warning system with automatic braking, and more. A rearview camera, 7-inch touchscreen, a USB interface, and six-speaker audio are also standard. A navigation upgrade is the only real option for the car. Anything else you’d want, like satellite radio, is a dealer-installed option.

A 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque is what motivates the Yaris iA through a front-wheel drive six-speed transmission. A manual six-speed is standard and an automatic six-speed is available. Fuel economy is rated at 35 mpg combined, with 32 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway for the automatic and 34 mpg combined for the manual.

We enjoyed the interior experience of the 2017 Yaris iA as an entry-level, relatively bare bones car. For the price, it comes nicely accoutred, however, and though somewhat spartan compared to higher-priced vehicles we’ve driven, it’s comfortable enough for most who need a basic A to B car. It’s versatile and more fun to drive than expected as well.

The fun factor comes from a strong steering chassis with a good feel on the road. The engine is a bit light in output, but the manual transmission helps give the driver some feeling of speed as revs can be higher. The 2017 Toyota Yaris iA is not fast and takes a bit to get up to highway speeds or merge onto the freeway, but it’s not a serious slacker either. It finds the middle ground between economy and power output in a good way.

What we like

Amazing amount of features for the price.

Great handling and fuel economy.

What we don't

Taller drivers and passengers may find headroom lacking.

Rear passenger seating is cramped.

Conclusions

The subcompact market has some good competitors, but many are short on features at their base price levels. The 2017 Toyota Yaris iA is one of the lower-cost sedans available in the subcompact market and yet it includes a nice interior with a good number of amenities for that entry-level price. With top shelf fuel economy and a more engaging road experience than most, the iA is a great car.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The Yaris iA was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, it was driven in both good and inclement weather with a mix of passenger loads.

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