Toyota Yaris iA

Based on the same stellar platform as the Mazda2, the front-wheel-drive iA rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and includes front struts, a stabilizer bar and a rear torsion beam suspension. Power comes from a 16-valve, 106-horsepower 1.5L 4-cylinder engine, which can be paired with either a standard 6-speed manual or optional automatic transmission. In the automatic, fuel economy is rated at 33 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway, while the manual-equipped iA returns slightly less, at 31 and 41, respectively.

The iA is available in one trim level. Standard features include power mirrors with integrated turn signals, a chrome-tipped exhaust and halogen headlights. Inside drivers will find push-button start, a backup camera, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio and cruise controls and a 60/40 split-fold rear seat. A 7-inch touchscreen display controls the Toyota Access Connect multi-media system (though a large central knob does the job, too), while USB ports, Bluetooth hands-free phone and music streaming, along with voice recognition and SMS text functionality, provide cutting-edge connectivity.

Other than the $1,100 automatic transmission, the only other option in the iA is an integrated navigation system, to be installed at a dealer.

The iA is also loaded with safety features such as dynamic stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes, plus a low-speed collision system, brake override and a host of front, rear and side airbags.

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Editors' First Take

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In the driver's seat of the Toyota Yaris iA, I saw the 7-inch LCD sticking up from the dashboard and wondered how much this car cost over a base model. A look at the car's sticker gave the answer: Zero dollars. The Yaris iA comes standard with an LCD-based infotainment system.

The days of radio head units with tiny, single-line monochrome displays must be over, considering the Yaris iA is one of Toyota's cheapest models.

That is a positive sign of the times in my book, as the LCD display allows for much greater flexibility and an easy upgrade path, compared with plastic dashboard parts that stay with the car throughout its lifetime, fading, cracking and gathering grime while forcing manufacturers to redesign and retool for the car's next generation.

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