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Review of the 2012 Toyota Yaris SE

Published: April 13, 2012 | 8:43 am
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Toyota lost a more than a few fans when they ditched some performance cars that they offered years ago. But the average car buyer is still drawn to the brand, with enthusiasts keeping an eye on the badges that come forward. Among them has been the Yaris, although it may have been for all the wrong reasons.
The Yaris was never really popular in the U.S. like the Camry and the Corolla. Its shape really didn’t impress many buyers, not to mention the unmemorable driving characteristics of the vehicle. The Yaris has historically fallen behind the sales of the Nissan Versa and the Honda Fit.
So Toyota has decided to go back to the drawing board for the 2012 model year, changing the dull styling a bit with the promise of an improved driving experience. The Yaris SE was tuned with a stiffer suspension and some bigger tires in order to appease the budget-minded enthusiasts.
With nowhere to go but up in the styling, Toyota added more personality to the body with a more pleasing wheel-to-well ratio and a more aggressive front fascia. They also included standard fog lights where small black placeholders used to be. A lot of enthusiasts are also fond of the 16-inch aluminum wheels that are wrapped with 195/50/16 Bridgestones.

There are improvements in the cabin, too, with a steering wheel wrapped in meaty leather wrapping with white contrast stitching. There is a simple-to-use climate control system with a frill-free gas gauge cluster and an audio system interface that creates a welcoming environment.
For the Toyota enthusiast that wants to know the vitals on the Yaris, we can deliver:
Engine – 1.5: I4
Power – 106HP / 103 LB-FT
Transmission – 5-Speed Manual
0-60 Time – 9.4 Seconds
Drivetrain – Front-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight – 2,295 LBS
Seating – 2 + 3
Cargo – 15.3 CU-FT
MPG – 33 City / 38 HWY
MSRP – $17,340
Given the improvements made on the Yaris, it’s a significant upgrade. But enthusiasts will probably not be happy with the lack of power in comparison to models from other brands. But for a subcompact, it is one to be considered.

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