In The Love Bug, the main character (aside from Herbie) could be a down-on-his-luck racing driver named Jim Douglas. Early on, he steps into an exotic car show room, and when the dealer asks him kind of car he is looking for, Douglas replies, “What do you have in the way of low cost, honest transportation?” The dealer quickly snatches his fancy liquor back from Douglas and shortly after Herbie shows up from the back of the showroom.
Though if this happened nowadays, you could simply replace the classic Beetle with a 2017 Toyota Yaris iA. The poor thing is not close as endearing to appear at as a classic Bug, as a results of the rather unattractive nose, and it’s now using a second pseudonym (first scion iA, then Toyota Yaris iA) to hide its Mazda heritage. However, everything else about it nails the description of low cost, honest transportation. And for that reason, it is a pretty little car.
Let’s begin with honesty, and it begins from the minute you start equipping the car – the iA could be a “what you see is what you get” proposition. You see, the iA moniker is not the only holdover from the scion era. The Toyota Yaris American state retains its “monospec” configuration, which suggests it comes with just one option: the transmission. Customers will choose between either a 6-speed manual like our test car, or a 6-speed automatic that prices $1,100.
Toyota Yaris iA Features
Everything else is standard, and “everything” includes some choice features. You get cruise control, air conditioning, USB, alloy wheels and Bluetooth integration, a rear-view camera, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, and keyless entry with push-button start. Technically there are a number of dealer-installed equipment too, including your typical fare of mudguards, rear spoiler, cargo organizers, and such.
However, none of them are extremely necessary, with one exception. For some odd reason, the Yaris iA doesn’t come with a center armrest. It is a $195 accessory, and frankly it should be a standard feature because it is so helpful. If you had not guessed, ours wasn’t equipped with it. Everywhere else the iA could be a thoroughly pleasant car, if not as sporty as the old Mazda2. The little 1.5-liter four-cylinder under the hood is not particularly potent with 106 Horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torsion. However with a Miata-like 2,385-pound curb weight and our car’s manual transmission, it manages to feel fairly sprightly, and never has any trouble dicing it up with traffic.
That transmission is pretty good, too. It’s not quite as short and sweet as that of the Mazda-badged predecessor, however it still glides into gear with little effort, and the gates are clearly defined and fairly tight. Where the Yaris iA mostly differs from the old generation Mazda2 is in ride and handling. While the iA’s small size and fast steering provide the car a light and generally willing feel, the suspension is much softer, and the car leans considerably when pushed hard in corners.
Toyota Yaris iA Performance Package
It perpetually feels safe and secure, however its lost some of that front-drive Miata feel of the old Mazda hatch. The great news is that the Yaris iA has far superior ride quality and overall refinement. The car handles bumps with assuredness, and is merely unsettled over particularly rough pavement. The iA is also surprisingly quiet, assisted by an engine that’s one of Mazda’s smoother units.
Bringing the package together could be a low worth that provides the car Scion-style price. If you choose for the manual, as we might, you can take an iA home for just $16,835, or $17,935 with the automatic. Although the Toyota-designed Yaris hatchback starts at $16,530, you will need to cough up $17,280 for the cheapest five-door Yaris.
That five-door is slightly cheaper than an automatic iA, and comes with a couple of extra safety features, however you will be stuck with 4-speed automatic, steel wheels, no cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, and worse highway fuel economy. with that in mind, the iA is extremely clearly the better choice. It’s cheap, honest, and good transportation. It certain may use a facelift, though.