Toyota has added European flair to the 2015 Yaris subcompact, responding to customers who wanted the little car to grow a little more chic.
Built at a factory in northern France and styled at a Toyota studio in the south of France, the updated Yaris gets new sheet metal and interior upgrades.
The Yaris’s hood and front fenders are noticeably more sculpted than the previous model, which Toyota imported from Japan. The grille, taillight and tailgate are also new. Interior changes include padding on the dashboard and doors, 25 percent more sound insulation, new upholstery, audio and navigation systems.
The new looks should help the freshened Yaris compete with subcompacts like the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio and Nissan Versa Note.
Teams from Toyota’s French development center talked to U.S. dealers and customers about the Yaris as they worked on the update. The Yaris sold in the rest of the world is still built in Japan and does not get the changes.
The Yaris’s 106-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and transmission choices — a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual — are unchanged from 2014. The car is less powerful but lighter than its competitors. Its EPA fuel-economy rating of 30 mpg in the city, 36 on the highway and 32 in combined driving is unchanged and trails the segment’s leaders.
Yaris prices start at $14,845, excluding destination charges.