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First Look At The 2015 Toyota Yaris

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Let’s face it, the subcompact market isn’t very exciting.. But it represents an important segment for first-time car buyers, eco-friendly consumers, and for city dwellers where space is at a premium. Toyota is catering to that market with the 2015 Toyota Yaris.

The redesigned Yaris enjoys a bold new look with a distinct European flavor, a new, quieter interior crafted from improved materials, and a new attitude. The 2015 Toyota Yaris checks all of the boxes for small-car shoppers. And then it adds and checks two more boxes for fun and value.

The 2015 Yaris, like the previous-generations, comes in 3-door and 5-door liftback configurations, but the style is all-new. The new Yaris combines an energetic shape with a more comfortable cabin. The 2015 Yaris receives an aggressive new look with a horizontal chrome grill treatment that appears to continue right in to the headlamp. A larger, bolder grille opening gives this fun-to-drive car just the right touch of “attitude” in its look.

Newness permeates the Yaris cabin. Sitting in premium seats, the Yaris driver faces a sporty new dashboard design and touches new, softer materials throughout.

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Retuned suspension, a more rigid body structure, additional sound insulation and attention to aerodynamic details all help to give the 2015 Yaris a smooth, dynamic and quieter ride. With safety always at the forefront, the Yaris continues to come equipped with nine standard SRS airbags, including curtain shield airbags and front seat cushion airbags.

Altogether, that’s a lot of new packed into an easy-driving small car with big fuel economy numbers and the brand’s penchant for high quality, dependability and reliability.

Fun, functionality and value come together in the 2015 Yaris. The smooth-revving 1.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder DOHC engine equipped with variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) produces 106 hp at 6,000 rpm and 103 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. The broad torque curve makes those numbers seem even bigger when you’re driving the Yaris, which offers snappy response with either transmission.

A smooth-shifting 5-speed manual transmission is standard. An available four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission features a compact, lightweight design and low friction for high fuel efficiency.

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The Yaris comes in base L, premium LE and sporty SE models, each a single-spec trim that eliminates option packages. Standard features on the L grade include air conditioning, 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, new, quick ratio, sport-tuned Electric Power Steering with power-assisted rack-and-pinion, power windows with driver’s side auto down, three-spoke tilt steering wheel, power door locks, Daytime Running Lights, and 15-inch wheels with wheel covers.

In addition, all Yaris models get Entune Audio with a 6.1-inch touch screen, an AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, six speakers, HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity and control, hands-free phone capability, voice recognition, and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology. And for the first time in a Yaris, a navigation system is available as a dealer-installed option.

The redesigned mono-spec Yaris adds up to an excellent value. The MSRP for the 2015 Yaris ranges from $14,485 for the three-door L with a manual transmission to $17,620 for the five-door SE with a four-speed automatic, an increase of only 2-3% over the outgoing 2014 model.

While I never would have considered a Yaris before (my friends called it a “clown car”), the new styling and features makes it a real contender in the subcompact market, and I think Toyota’s got a real winner on their hands here. We’ll just have to wait and see how receptive the public is to the car when it’s released.