What a short, odd life it’s been for the Toyota Yaris iA and Yaris, formerly the Scion iA and the Scion iM. The sporty entry-level sedan and five-door hatchback were introduced as 2016 models. But when Scion abruptly folded 13 years after it debuted, only a few vehicles survived and were absorbed into the Toyota lineup.
For 2017, the former Scion iA is now the Toyota Yaris iA. The Scion iM is just the Yaris.
A sub-compact sedan, the 2017 Yaris is offered in one trim. It features a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine with 106 horsepower. My test vehicle included a six-speed automatic transmission, but a six-speed manual is also available.
Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition, and entry, cruise control, a low-speed forward collision warning system with automatic braking, full power accessories. A tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats and air-conditioning add to the hefty list rare among entry-level vehicles.
The Yaris iA also has a surprisingly strong list of technology features: a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen with a console-mounted rotary controller, Bluetooth phone, and audio connectivity, and a six-speaker audio system with streaming radio, voice recognition, and a USB interface. A navigation system is an option.
Driving the Yaris iA offer also surprises. It feels confident, maneuvers well and holds its own on the freeway. It has a sporty personality, although passing vehicles isn’t the car’s strong suit. And don’t expect any sudden moments of performance.
The Yaris iA’s top competitors include the Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta and Nissan Versa. But the Scion iA is the quietest sub-compact I’ve driven.
Another surprise is the quality of the materials used in the interior. The dash is thick, sturdy rubber and plastic. The contrasting blue stitch looks handsome against the black console.
The quality of the interior adds to the overall appeal. It’s an entry-level vehicle with a lot to offer.
Refined interior for the class.
Superior fuel economy.
Garish front grille.
No center armrest.
Facts & Figures: 2017 Toyota Yaris iA
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, unavailable.
Fuel economy: 32 mpg (city), 40 mpg (highway), 35 mpg (combined).
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $17,050.00
Manufacturer’s Website: www.toyota.com.
Price As Tested: $17,915.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles.
What Others Say:
“If you don’t mind a subcompact car’s size and limited power, the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA Sedan is an excellent choice.” — Kelley Blue Book.
“In addition to its peppy handling, the interior is well-executed for the segment. The cheap and cheerful interior is comfortable and intuitive. It’s easy to forget you’re piloting a $17,000 car.” — Cars.com.
The 2017 Toyota Yaris iA sedan competes with a pretty accomplished crowd. Still, unlike its hatchback sibling, this model easily holds its own, and it even manages to stand out in a couple of areas.” — NY Daily News.
The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:
“The 2017 Toyota Yaris iA may never find a strong niche in a marketplace stuffed with respectable and mass-selling choices from most manufacturers. But it should. It’s a value-priced sub-compact far ahead of what might be expected.”
Article Last Updated: October 28, 2016.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.