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The Yaris is all-new as a hatchback this year, while a new sedan version is on the way next year. In the mean time, Sedans are relegated to fleet-only status. Seating has been improved throughout, with front seat cushions longer and now better for tall people.
There’s a lot to like in the new instrument panel and dash design, which includes several well-placed bins for storage–including one good for a wallet or smartphone just ahead and to the left of the driver. Ahead of the front passenger is a shallow shelf–with no texturing at the bottom, leaving whatever small items are placed there to slide back and forth.
Of note is the large single-wiper system, which worked great—seeming more effective with the washer than dual-arm systems. But on the other hand, the Yaris was one of the few vehicles we’ve been in as of late that didn’t, from what we observed, automatically turn on the A/C when you turn the dial to defog.
Safety is a bright spot for the Toyota Yaris. It now comes with nine standard airbags—including front seat-mounted side bags, a knee airbag for the driver, and roll-sensing side bags for front and rear occupants–and it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Its quiet for a car this size. The rigid body forms a good platform for tidy ride and handling and the steering feels sharper than before.
Engine performance can be best described as adequate but less weight makes the new Yaris perform better than before. There is a slight torque hole in the mid-range that catches out the unwary. The engine is quiet and fuel efficient.