The 2017 Toyota Yaris iA is a new name for this year but the car itself may well be familiar in more ways than one. Just last year it was the Scion iA, this before the Scion brand was put to bed and all its models given a Toyota name.
Prior to this the car itself is a Mazda 2 sedan, a vehicle not for sale in the United States by Mazda. Thus aside the unique front fascia, light lenses and emblems all around it is virtually identical to the Mazda2. And this isn’t a bad thing at all.
As this was a Scion at one time, options and trims are purely mono-spec. This means there is only one trim grade and no traditional options. The one selection you can make is either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission as our tester has here.
Luckily the interior brings a number of standard amenities like power windows and locks and air conditioning. Cloth seats have a blue color through design with matching accent stitching across the dash.
The audio system is the same you will find in all Mazda cars with its dash mounted screen and console mounted controls. Sound is decent but using it is not so much. The menus and interface are difficult at best to manage while driving with the knobs as it wont let you use it as a touch screen once you are on the go.
Furthermore it doesn’t offer any of the latest mainstream connectivity features like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Being this is a subcompact model, storage space is pretty minimal. There is no center console armrest or the storage you would expect under it. There is a small space below the HVAC controls but that’s about it.
Rear seat space is compact but comfortable for the class. They do fold down in a 60/40 split for increased space from the trunk area which here is a high spot of capacity. Under its floor is a spare tire too.
The fact the Yaris iA is essentially a Mazda2 means its chassis and performance poise is far more engaging than the Toyota manufactured Yaris hatch. This means handling on a back road and its character around town can actually put a smile on your face when you ask for some extra zoom zoom.
The 106 horsepower 1.5 liter four-cylinder engine however isn’t that excited. Available with both a manual and an automatic transmission, the powertrain is really more about fuel economy here. In our tester however the six-speed automatic had a sport mode which made the best of the engine’s 103 pound-feet of torque.
The EPA rates the Yaris iA at 32 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 35 mpg combined. In my time with it I achieved 34 mpg combined with a mix tilted more toward city driving. Pretty close.
Priced at $17,050 as tested the Yaris iA is a reasonably competitive choice against the few in its class, though cars like the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Spark it competes with can be had with more variety and features if you wanted them.