Yaris Gets a Tacho!

Toyota has released details and pricing for its smallest car, the Yaris hatchback, which gains active safety features across the line and a tachometer — finally — in the base CE trim.

It's that last item that stands out to us, as we're fairly certain the budget-priced Yaris was the last new car on the market that didn't come standard with a rev counter. Instead, you got a big blank space to the left of the speedo that reminded you you were driving a Yaris; even Mitsubishi's much-maligned Mirage subcompact didn't stoop so low.

What you got before... What you got before.

But on a more serious note, the Yaris' updated standard feature list now includes Toyota's Safety Sense C suite of active safety kit, including a pre-collision system, lane departure alert and automatic high beams, and there's a new steering wheel with controls for the lane departure setup and the stereo. Other standard features carried over from last year include power windows (you'll be grateful for those if you don't add air conditioning to your Yaris CE), power locks, display audio and a rear wiper/washer.

If there's one criticism we feel we can still legitimately level at this little car, it's Toyota's obstinate refusal to upgrade the Yaris' optional automatic transmission from a four-speed to, well, just about anything more modern. Unlike the tacho matter, Yaris is not the last car to use a four-speed; it's joined in that club by the four-cylinder Dodge Journey.

There's less to complain about in Yaris' 1.5L four-cylinder engine, carried over for 2017. It's no powerhouse, with 106 hp, but we will admit it's a decent little mill, even when saddled with the four-speed auto. But the whole hatchback package looks dated next to the Yaris sedan, a rebadged version of the sweet-driving Mazda2 that company opted not to sell here under its own banner.

2017 Toyota Yaris hatchback pricing starts at $15,395 in three-door CE trim with a five-speed manual transmission, a $645 increase over 2016. Mid-range LE five-door models come in at $16,735 (up $540) and the top-end SE five-door is now an $18,430 proposition, a bump of $485.

Toyota's cheapest model steps up out of the bargain basement 11/18/2016 2:16:28 PM