2015 Toyota Yaris SE 5-Door Liftback Test Drive

?2015 Toyota Yaris 5-Door SE Liftback?
Toyota?s subcompact hatch displays European flavor

The 2015 Toyota Yaris will continue to be available in a 3-door and 5-door liftback body configuration (a market segment exclusive), but both will be wearing a new face with a new bolder and more aerodynamic exterior design. The interiors will feature new soft touch materials and will be quieter and will provide more room.


The new design comes from Toyota?s ED2 design studio located in the South of France, where they are familiar with ?Hot Hatches.? The new Toyota Yaris is also assembled in France, where they have been manufacturing Yaris since 1999 for the European market. The newly styled Yaris begins its aggressive new look with a horizontal chrome trapezoidal grille with upgraded trim that appears to continue right into the headlamp. The large grille opening, flanked by the LED Daytime Running Lamps and new foglamp design lends a somewhat menacing look when viewed in someone?s rear view mirror. Out back, there?s a new rear fascia and a backup lamp has been added.
The 2015 Toyota Yaris maintains its diminutive footprint, while increasing it ever so slightly, with an increase in overall length of two inches. A lower windshield angle, short overhangs and wheels pushed out to the corners contribute to a sportier, road-hugging stance. It is also more aerodynamic, slipping through the air more cleanly with underbody components and new side mirrors cutting wind noise and drag to a coefficient of 0.29.

The Yaris cabin is permeated by newness, with the driver sitting in a more premium seat, and facing a sporty new dashboard design and touching new, softer materials throughout. The SE grade more visible to other motorists with the addition of new LED daytime running lights that also lend an advanced and sporty look. There is a standard vertical height adjustment for the driver. A 60/40 split fold-down rear seat also comes as standard fare.

All models come with Entune Audio that includes 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 an available port, or dealer-installed, option. The glovebox damper allows the compartment to open with luxury model smoothness. Dual extendable sun visors with vanity mirrors offer a convenience plus. An automatic cut-off system turns off any interior lights after 20 minutes after the ignition is switched off, so there?s no dead battery issue. A wide-sweeping single windshield wiper design utilizes an innovative wet-arm washer system that sprays washer fluid from the base of the wiper arm directly into the blade?s path for improved cleaning, and all models come with a standard rear window wiper.

The Yaris will be available in three levels of trim or grades: L, LE and the top-of-the-line SE, which is especially sporty looking, adding a black front grille with piano black accent, rear spoiler, black exterior trim, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Motive force for all Yaris models and trims or grades is provided by a 1.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, inline 4-cylinder engine with VVT-I and multi-port fuel injection that produces 106 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, while generating 103 pound feet of torque at 4,200 rpm. The engine is mounted up front on a transverse orientation, and delivers energy to the front wheels through either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic transmission.

The suspension has been retuned, with a more rigid body structure, additional sound insulation combining to give the 2015 Yaris a smoother, quieter ride. Yaris will continue to offer exceptional maneuverability, with a class-leading 31.5-ft. turning circle (three-door model)- small enough to transform a ?K? into a ?U? for turns. In the interest of safety, the Yaris comes equipped with nine standard SRS airbags, including curtain side airbags and front seat cushion airbags.

My test 2015 Toyota Yaris was a five-door hatchback model in SE trim with a 4-speed automatic transmission. It wore an exterior finish of Blue Streak metallic with a Black interior featuring white stitched seats. The base price was set at $17,620. while the carpeted floor and cargo mats, a navigation upgrade and the Delivery processing and handling fee elevated the final count and amount to $19,524.

SUMMARY: Despite the fact that the 2015 Toyota Yaris 5-door Hatchback is rated by the EPA as a subcompact, it actually provides room for five to travel comfortably. Limiting to four occupants makes it more comfortable yet.

The body structure is more rigid, and combined with the retuned suspension, the Yaris provides a smoother ride quality. Suspension componentry consists of MacPherson-struts up front and a torsion-beam system in the rear. The sport-tuned electric power steering renders the Yaris nimble and easy to park on crowded city streets, and there?s no hydraulic fluid to check or replace.

Acceleration is certainly adequate from the 1.5-liter four-banger, even if it?s a little buzzy when prodded hard. No matter, its agility and fun driving factor delivers a pleasurable experience.

Safety features are abundant, and the Yaris comes with Toyota?s Star Safety System which includes: Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution and Brake Assist as well as Smart Stop Technology (Toyota?s brake-override system).
Collision Protection begins with an impact-absorbing body structure that incorporates wide use of high-tensile strength steel to effectively absorb and distribute collision forces. The 2015 Yaris has nine airbags, including: Driver and front-passenger dual-stage airbags, front seat side airbags, front seat cushion airbags, side curtain shield airbags and a driver?s knee airbag. An Advanced Whiplash Injury-Lessening front-seat structure helps to ensure that the region from the head to the lower back are supported equally, helping to reduce whiplash-type injuries during certain types of rear end collisions.

The EPA mileage estimates for the Yaris are impressive at 30 mpg city and 36 mpg highway ? that, in conjunction with Toyota?s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-car warranty that applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items, additional 60-month warranties covering the powertrain for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation make for ultra practical transportation. And don’t forget the pleasing, sporty European design flair. The Yaris also comes standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.

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[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Toyota Yaris 5-DR SE Liftback [/wptabtitle]

Base Price: $17,620.
Price as Tested: $19,524.
Engine Type and Size: 1.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, inline 4-cylinder with VVT-I and multi-port fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 106 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 103 @ 4,200 rpm
Transmission: Electronically controlled 4-speed automatic.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut with 0.953 inch stabilizer bar.
Rear – Torsion beam.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS.

Tires: Bridgestone Turanza P195/50 VR16 mounted on 5 stylized “V”-spoke alloy wheels with one machined side.

Wheelbase:98.8 inches

Length Overall:155.5 inches

Width:66.7 inches

Height:59.4 inches

Curb Weight:2,335 lbs.

Fuel Capacity:11.1 gallons

EPA Mileage Estimates:30 mpg city / 36 mpg hwy

Drag Coefficient:0.29

0 – 60 mph: Not tested

Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.

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