The 2015 Toyota Yaris is the automotive equivalent of comfort food. The 2015 Toyota Yaris is something you can rely on, something that holds no surprises, its frugal and inexpensive; yet, it is resolute in its mission: it’s your friend. Your buddy, the 2015 Toyota Yaris comes with new skin, new interior digs and the same old guts as before. Your friend feels pretty good despite the age underneath.
That’s right, Yaris means “friend” in Czech (no, it doesn’t). Actually, Yaris is a combination of the Greek minor goddess Charites – charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, and fertility – AND the German word for agreement “Ya.” That’s a bit much (especially fertility), but it sounds like something someone in marketing got paid a king’s ransom to create.
The 2015 Toyota Yaris comes with the often used 106 horsepower, 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 103 lbs-feet of torque. Power goes to the front wheels via a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. I have yet to test the five-speed manual in a Yaris, but the four-speed transmission has been around for a terribly long time.
Fortunately, the 2015 Toyota Yaris weighs about 2,300 lbs, so 106 hp is adequate.
Right off the bat, the transmission is the weakest link in the 2015 Toyota Yaris. It’s old tech in a vehicle that deserves something newer, something that can help it run smoother and more efficiently. The 2015 Toyota Yaris is rated at 30 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined. While that’s respectable, it could be improved.
Compared to older Yaris models, the exterior on the 2015 Toyota Yaris looks modern an sleek. The frontend shares the new family snout with LED driving lights, an aggressive lower grill and tighter looking panels. The rear of the 2015 Toyota Yaris looks just as updated as the front end with a tighter, cleaner look that still shouts, “Yaris.” Externally, the 2015 Toyota Yaris is attractive.
The interior of the 2015 Toyota Yaris is updated too.
Toyota is coming up with very tasteful interiors as of late and the 2015 Toyota Yaris is no exception. Some of the materials are fairly nice to touch and the ergonomics are top-notch. Everything is easy to reach, easy to read and easy to use. The front cup-holders are a tad small and are mounted north of the gear lever, under the dash. One big issue is Toyota’s logic when opting to install a steering-wheel that has no telescoping adjustment.
The seating in the 2015 Toyota Yaris is impressively comfortable and commodious given its size. The driver’s seat legroom is slightly more comfortable than the (best-in-class-overall) Honda Fit. Backseat space is good for two or three kids and the 15.6 cu. ft. of cargo space behind the back seat (in the 5-door) is pretty good for the class.
Speaking of the 5-door vs the 3-door Yaris; they share the same wheelbase, length, weight and width externally. Their interior dimensions are pretty close too. Toyota is the only automaker in this class to offer a 3-door in the United States. The 5-door makes more sense and you can only get the sporty SE package (sportier wheels, suspension and upgraded goodies).
The $14,845 base price for the 2015 Toyota Yaris is pretty competitive, but the asking price for the 2015 Toyota Yaris SE (like our tester) is $18,625 and that’s kind of steep for this class. Considering the equipment, date of the powertrain and overall utility, the Honda Fit is still the better buy.
With that being said, this 2015 Toyota Yaris is a friendly, happy little car that worked far better than it should given its anachronistic underpinnings. Handling (especially in the SE) is remarkably surefooted with good grip and impressive snow traction. The ride is well composed for the class and it is a snap to park. Sight-lines are excellent and in-city performance is quite good. The 2015 Toyota Yaris with the SE package also means you get a better calibrated steering response that’s more responsive and it has better weight.
All in all, the first impression the 2015 Toyota Yaris imparts is pretty good. It is a remarkably easy car to live with and drive. It’s priced competitively, it’s (fairly) frugal and it comes with a good list of standard features. It looks good, it’s pretty comfortable and it’s downright friendly – for a car.
Toyota tends to pull the same switcheroo with all their cars: build a new body and interior while keeping the same guts. Sure, the new Yaris is a pretty good car (especially for new drivers and frugal, small families) but it deserves a new drivetrain.