Toyota’s itty-bitty subcompact hatchback adds a little more flair (or at least the appearance of it) for 2018.
The changes are, admittedly, only skin deep. Underneath, the 2018 isn’t expected to be substantially changed from the 2017, which has only been updated lightly since the 2012 model year. That’s a long time in small car years, but the 2018 has a new look inside and out—plus it’s better-equipped.
The Yaris will again be available in L, LE, and SE trim levels that start rather Spartan and wind up somewhat sporty. L and LEs share styling that’s a little less cartoonish for 2018, with new front and rear bumpers and revised wheel designs. The SE has its own look outside with a shiny black mesh-like grille and special 16-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the Yarii (that’s plural) feature some worthwhile upgrades. L models now have a three-spoke steering wheel with integrated audio controls (as do the others) and all models now use the same sport-styled gauges that came on last year’s SE.
L and LEs feature a standard 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment with an AM/FM/CD player, a USB 2.0 port, Bluetooth, and Siri Eyes Free for Apple devices. The SE ups that with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, HD radio, a nifty smartphone-based navigation app, and SiriusXM satellite radio.
Black and grey fabrics are available on the L and LE, while the SE gets a fully blacked-out interior. Two new paint colors have also been added to the palette.
Toyota hasn’t yet detailed the Yaris’ powertrain, but we expect the 1.5-liter, 106-horsepower 4-cylinder paired to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic to carry over from 2017. Last year’s Yaris netted as high as 30 mpg city, 36 highway, 33 combined, but it’s possible that the 2018 model year styling updates may help it cheat the wind a little better and deliver improved fuel economy.
We’ll know more soon when the Yaris debuts at the 2017 New York International Auto Show before going on sale this summer in the United States.
But what about the Yaris iA?
Known in 2016 as the Scion iA, the Yaris iA sedan should carry over into 2018. It’s a wholly different animal than the Yaris hatchback, a Mazda design that’s assembled in Mexico (the hatchback comes from France, ooh-la-la).
The Yaris iA is known elsewhere as the Mazda2 and its Toyota-ness really only extends to its badges. It features Mazda’s infotainment system (which isn’t really an upgrade) as well as a decidedly more athletic chassis. It even has its own 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed gearboxes.