When Toyota announced the retirement of its Scion sub-brand in early 2016, the recently launched Scion iA found itself in a unique position. As the brand’s first-ever four-door sedan, the iA boasted the agility and fuel efficiency you’d expect from a subcompact car with the straightforward value Scion has become known for.
Thankfully, Toyota brought the iA (along with the FR-S and iM) into the fold of the main brand. Rebadged as the 2018 Toyota Yaris iA—not to be confused with the Yaris subcompact hatchback, which we describe further down—this model carries on the Scion legacy with style.
Powertrain and Performance
The 2018 Toyota Yaris iA boasts an eager and fuel-efficient powertrain that makes for a highly enjoyable driving experience. The 1.5-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine produces 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. That power is sent to the front wheels through either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Either transmission is a good choice. The manual was engineered with an aim toward reducing friction and has fairly short throws, both of which contribute to nice, crisp shifts while the automatic has a Sport mode that increases responsiveness with the push of a button.
The Yaris iA also features MacPherson strut front suspension and a rear torsion beam, which were tuned for sporty handling and feel. The same goes for the brakes and the steering, which feature an extra-rigid mounting to eliminate play in the rack. The Yaris iA actually shares its chassis with the Mazda2, and Mazda builds some of the best-handling cars in its price segment.
With a small engine and low curb weight (just 2,835 pounds with the manual transmission), it’s not surprising that the Yaris iA returns impressive fuel economy. The four-door gets an EPA-rated 34 mpg combined (30 mpg city, 39 mpg highway) with the manual transmission and 35 mpg combined (32 mpg city, 40 mpg highway) with the automatic.*
Features and Trims
The 2018 Yaris iA is available only as a four-door, five-seat sedan. Inspired by Scion’s original pricing scheme, buyers can choose to add select options such as the automatic transmission and a navigation system.
That list of standard equipment is pretty comprehensive, including push-button start, 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome exhaust tip, a rearview camera, seven-inch touchscreen display, voice recognition, multi-function steering wheel, two USB ports, sport front bucket seats, and a 60/40 split-folding rear bench.
The 2018 Yaris iA has vivacious exterior styling that belies its small size. The bold front fascia includes a gaping grille finished in piano black trim with a chrome surround. Dramatically curved fenders with character lines running into the doors and some nice body sculpting all around make the iA look like more than a slab-sided sedan. Standard alloy wheels and a chrome exhaust tip add a touch of sportiness.
The Yaris iA boasts a sporty feel on the inside, too, with front bucket seats featuring generous side bolstering and a nifty two-tone pattern. The sport steering wheel includes secondary controls for audio and Bluetooth® functions.
The Yaris iA also features standard Pandora®, Aha®, and Stitcher™ to feed music into the six-speaker audio system. It’s all controlled through a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen mounted atop the dashboard.
The Yaris iA may be a small car, but it’s no penalty box. Its compact footprint conceals an impressive 85.9 cubic feet of total passenger volume, and the 60/40 split-folding rear bench seat makes hauling larger items easier in a pinch.
Toyota still offers the original Yaris Hatchback, available in three different trim levels. Buyers can choose from the sporty 3-door or the 5-door hatchback, both of which seat five and have a total passenger volume of 84.4 cu ft and cargo volume of 15.3 cu ft.
Standard safety equipment on the 2018 Yaris iA includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls, a low-speed pre-collision system, rearview camera, and a full array of airbags, including front, front-side, and front and rear side-curtain bags.
The 2018 Toyota Yaris iA is a stylish and charmingly simple small car that merges Scion style with the quality and value of the Toyota brand.
* 2018 EPA-estimated mileage. Actual mileage will vary.
Image Credit: Toyota