More safety, more room, a touch more fuel economy and still lacking
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- May 19, 2012
2012 Toyota Yaris – $14,115 to start and a 30/38 mpgUS city/highway fuel economy rating.
For 2012, Toyota dropped the Yaris sedan and instead provides a choice of either the three or five-door hatch just like its predecessor. Unfortunately it arrives with the same engine minus a lb-ft. of torque and the way to low geared 5-speed MT and ancient 4-speed AT, also unchanged for 2012.
It does however gain an additional 1 mpg in the city for both the MT and AT and 2 more mpgs on the highway with the 5-speed stick.
Ride and Handling
The 2012 gained a few inches of wheelbase (98.8 vs. 96.9”) and has a slightly more composed feel to it on the highway. The font stabilizer bar diameter has been increased by almost 0.05” and with the larger 15” steel wheels and tires vs. last year’s 14” steel wheels and tires, its ride over minor imperfections has improved. 16” alloys with a quicker ratio steering is also available on the slightly more upscale SE trim while adding an unfortunate 5.9’ to the SEs turning diameter.
It’s a Toyota so the 2012 Yaris just like its predecessor arrives with the much vaunted STAR safety system incorporating Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA). New for 2012 is the addition of Smart Stop Technology (SST) or brake override system.
On the passenger safety cell front, the previous generation 2009 – 2011 Yaris achieved a marginal rating on the roof crush strength test performed by the IIHS and thus missed the Institutes desired Top Safety Pick award. For 2012, the good news is that oversight has been remedied with improved HS steel reinforcements and all 2012 models are now IIHS Top Safety Picks.
All Yaris models come with complimentary Toyota Care, which covers normal factory maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Passenger and Cargo Volume
With the new longer wheel base and additional 3” of overall length, passenger and cargo volume has increased slightly to 85 vs. 84 cu. ft. and 15 vs. 13 cu. ft. respectively. The Lowest L trim still arrives with a standard single piece folding bench seat whereas the LE and SE arrive with a 60/40 split fold down rear seat back, a Convenience package option last year.
It is still holds down the bottom of the Toyota family with little changed for the 2012 Model Year other than larger wheels and tires. If you are in the market for a B-Segment sized automobile, the Yaris is surely going to provide excellent reliability, safety and good resale. Today however there are other vehicles in its segment that deserve a closer look including Hyundai’s Accent, Kia Rio and Chevrolet’s Sonic.
You cannot overlook the Yaris’ value propositions but you also cannot dismiss the rest of the segment offerings that have caught up and in most cases surpassed the lowly Yaris on a “fun to drive” and even a “cost to own” basis. Good yes, great, no.