The redesigned Yaris hatchback sports upgraded interior for 2012

Posted on June 28, 2012
Over the years we have noticed that Toyota doesn't design new cars from scratch, but rather builds new models based on what was working well in previous ones.
2012 Toyota Yaris Toyota Yaris 2012.
The redesigned for 2012 Toyota Yaris hatchback subcompact is in line with this concept. While it's a much upgraded vehicle and doesn't feel as much of a budget car as the previous model did, it still uses many of the same proven technologies.

Line-up: The 2012 Yaris hatchback is available in 3-door and 5-door body styles and comes in three grades: the base L (CE in Canada), value-packaged LE and sport-tuned SE. The SE is available only as a five-door and comes with larger 16-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension and disk brakes on all 4 wheels. The SE features a more aggressive exterior and sporty interior with a sharper instrument panel and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Technical: The only engine choice is a 106-hp 1.5L DOHC with variable valve timing (VVT-i). This engine (model 1NZ-FE) has already been used for a few years in many small Toyota cars around the world. It's a simple, proven engine: there is no direct injection, no turbo and no timing belt to worry about. The 5-speed manual transmission is standard; a 4-speed automatic is optional. The steering is electrically assisted. The 2012 Yaris uses a single front wiper that swipes the whole windshield in one smooth motion.

Safety: The US and Canadian 2012 Yaris hatchback has nine standard airbags: driver and front passenger airbags, front-seat mounted side airbags, a knee airbag for the driver, first and second row side-curtain airbags and two front seat cushion airbags. The Yaris also comes with standard Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Anti-lock brakes and Smart Stop Technology (SST). Smart Stop Technology automatically reduces engine power when the brake and accelerator pedals are pressed at the same time under certain conditions. In government crash tests, the 2012 Yaris 5-door hatchback earned an overall score of four stars, with four stars in frontal impacts and five stars in side impacts. The 2012 Yaris 5-door hatchback also received a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Interior: Compared to the 2011 model, the 2012 Yaris hatchback has a more sporty look and a better interior.
2012 Toyota Yaris Toyota Yaris 2012.
The wheelbase grew by two inches and the overall length has increased by 2.9 inches. It's a subcompact, but once you get into the driver's seat, the Yaris doesn't feel that small with its far-stretched dashboard and high roof line; even the rear seat space is generous. The front seats are supportive; the steering tilts, but doesn't offer a telescopic adjustment. The Yaris SE features a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The audio system has decent sound for this type of car and offers a USB audio input.

Handling and ride: For this review we tested the Yaris SE, which turned out to be a fun-to-drive little car. It was surprisingly quick off the line and felt very agile and maneuverable. Motor Trend clocked the 2012 Yaris SE reaching 0 to 60 mph in 9.1 seconds, which is quite an achievement for a small 1.5L engine.
2012 Toyota Yaris Toyota Yaris 2012.
The ride is quiet and the road noise is well insulated. When driving in a city, the engine noise is minimal, but you will hear it under hard acceleration or when merging or passing on the highway. What the Yaris is missing, in our opinion, is one more high gear: driving at 60 mph (96 km/h) with the automatic transmission, the tachometer needle stays at 2,500 rpm.

Fuel Economy: The EPA rates the 2012 Yaris with automatic transmission at 29/34 mpg or 8.1/6.9 liters per hundred kilometers city/highway. Very few cars are ranked higher than Yaris in city mpg. The 2012 Yaris automatic can drive roughly 344 miles (554 km) on one 11-gallon tank of gas.

What others say: Consumer Reports praised the fuel economy and rear seat room, but criticized the driving position, ride and fit and finish, among other things. Motor Trend recommended a stick-shift model. The 2012 Yaris received Top Rated Sub Compact Car in 2012 Initial Quality award from J.D. Power and Associates; the 2012 Yaris hatchback was rated by J.D. Power and Associates with 5 stars for Overall Quality.

Our verdict: With a long list of standard safety equipment and one of the best city fuel economy ratings in its class, the 2012 Yaris hatchback is a practical, economical city car that won't cost a lot to maintain. Being closely familiar with a mechanical part, we also checked the Yaris's technical side: judging by the way it is built, it should be reliable in the long run. Toyota Yaris is priced comparable to other sub-compacts. Competitors include Honda Fit, Chevrolet Sonic, Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa.

2012 Yaris hatchback Specifications:
Length: 154.7 in (3,930 mm)
Width: 66.7 in (1,695 mm)
Height: 59.6 in (1,515 mm)
Wheelbase: 98.8 in (2,510 mm)
Cargo Capacity: 3-door / 5-door: 15.3 cu. ft / 15.6 cu. ft – behind front seat
Engine: 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC with VVT-i; model 1NZ-FE 106 hp @ 6000 rpm, 103 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm
Recommended Fuel: 87 unleaded
Fuel Tank Capacity: 11.1 US gallons (42.0 liters)
Engine oil capacity: 3.9 US qt (3.7L) – for the 1.5L Engine; oil with filter