It might not be the sort of car to pump an enthusiast's heart rate up but the is an important entry-level car that appeals to many people wanting a reliable, solid, small vehicle at an affordable price.
The all-new 2012 Yaris has a slightly longer wheelbase and larger wheels than the first generation model. The overall length has also increased and the luggage compartment area has been lengthened by 5.7 inches, and widened by 2.1 inches, to increase cargo volume by 64 percent in the 3-door and 68 percent in the 5-door. Cargo capacity with the seat up is 15.3 cu. ft. on the 3-door and 15.6 cu. ft. on the 5-door.
The hatchback – oops, sorry, Toyota calls it a liftback – is available as a three-door or five-door model. The new Yaris will be offered in three trim levels, with the entry-level L and value-packaged LE editions available either as a three-door liftback or five-door liftback. The sport-tuned SE is available only as a five- door.
All models of the Yaris continue to be powered by a 1.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder DOHC engine equipped with variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i). It produces 106 hp at 6,000 rpm and 103 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. The EPA fuel economy ratings are 30/38 mpg (city/Hwy) for the Yaris with a five-speed manual transmission and 30/35 mpg with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Overall the external styling is crisper and slightly more aggressive looking. One of the more unique features is a first for Toyota – a single-windshield wiper with "wet-arm system" for reduced weight and better performance. The system sprays washer fluid from the base of the wiper arm directly in the path of the blade for improved cleaning and wiping action.
Sticker prices, excluding delivery, will range from $14,115 for the L grade three-door liftback with a manual transmission to $17,200 for the SE grade five-door liftback with an automatic transmission.
For a detailed review, see our full First Drive of the 2012 Toyota Yaris >>