By Cars.com EditorsMay 1, 2012
About the video
The previous-generation Toyota Yaris left us cold. Luckily, the redesign of the 2012 Yaris addressed many of the old model’s issues.
(upbeat music) <v Narrator>Cars.com Auto Reviews. Hi, I'm Bill Jackson with cars.com and this is the 2012 Toyota Yaris. It was redesigned.
In the past, you could get this car as either a sedan or a hatchback, but since only about 30% of the people chose the sedan, Toyota dropped it. Now you have a choice of either a two or four-door hatchback. As part of the redesign, the Yaris has got slightly bigger. Its wheel base is two inches longer and the overall car is three inches longer. It's also more angular than before, especially with this sort of downward sloping beltline. As much as I like the changes on the outside of the Yaris, I think the real improvements are inside. For starters, there's no center mounted speedometer engages. It's all laid out right in front of you. Also the controls just feel more solid and I think they look a lot better. Though it's important to understand we have the SE, which is the most expensive version of the Yaris. So some of these pieces are going to look different depending on which model you choose. But overall, the layout is the same. As I said, the Yaris is a hatchback and as such, it's got this cargo area. It's a little on the small size even for a car in this class, but the good thing is all Yaris models have folding rear seats. The one thing to pay attention to in the base model, it's a solid folding bench. In all the other versions, you get the split folding seats like we have here. All Yaris are powered by 106 horsepower, four cylinder engine with either a five speed manual or a four speed automatic transmission. As far as mileage goes, with the automatic, you get 30 miles per gallon in the city, 35 miles per gallon on the highway. With a manual, it's 30 miles per gallon city, 38 miles per gallon on the highway. Now one thing about those mileage figures, sometimes you hear a competitor or another car talk about how they can have 40 miles per gallon, that may be for one specific term of a car that might be hard to find. The Yaris figures are the same, no matter which version of the Yaris you choose. I go into greater detail by driving the Yaris at my review on cars.com, but the short version is this, I really preferred the manual transmission driving all the time. The automatic was okay for driving around the city, but I really felt like on the highway, I needed one more gear or a little more power. There's just not a lot of grunt for passing. But overall, the redesigned Yaris is a big step in the right direction. I can't put it at the top of the class because I think there are a lot of competitors that do things better and I think some of the mechanical issues like the transmission could be improved, but overall it's a step in the right direction for a car that really used to trail its competitors by a lot. <v Narrator>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog, kickingtires.net.