Quebec City, Quebec – Who consistently makes some of the best driving small cars on the planet? Mazda. Who did Toyota turn to for its new Yaris sedan? Yep, Mazda.
Arriving now in Toyota showrooms is the 2016 Yaris Sedan, which, for all intents and purposes is the all-new Mazda2 sedan – a car that Mazda will not be selling in North America. Nor will they sell the hatchback version, as Mazda feels the CX-3 crossover, which is based on the fresh Mazda2 architecture, will scratch any and all “2” itches that our market might generate.
So let’s tip our hat to Toyota for bringing us this impressive subcompact sedan. Other than the badging, a grafted on catfish snout and some suspension tuning, this tidy four-dour is a Mazda2 from stem to stern, built in Mazda’s Mexico facility.
Toyota is not new to the idea of jumping into the sack with other manufacturers. It had a long-running affair with GM (Toyota Matrix=Pontiac Vibe), it is currently dating Subaru (Scion FR-S=Subaru BRZ), and even had an uptown fling with Aston Martin that produced a freak of a kid (Scion iQ=Aston Martin Cygnet).
Fittingly, the Yaris’ media event took place in Quebec – the first province to embrace the nameplate. Since its Canadian debut, Yaris sales in Quebec add up to more than all other provinces combined.
Toyota bills the 2016 Yaris Sedan as a premium subcompact, which isn’t such a stretch once you’ve been behind the wheel. There’s some price overlap with the larger Corolla sedan, but Toyota is unapologetic about that – the Yaris Sedan is meant to appeal to a more urban-centric millennial demographic that doesn’t feel size matters. They can surely hope for that, as the median age for the Corolla buyer is 53 years.
The 2016 Yaris is powered by a 1.5L direct-injected four that sends 106 hp at 6,000 rpm and 103 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm to the front wheels. Yaris starts at $16,995 for the six-speed manual model which is equipped with push-button start, tilt/telescope steering wheel with cruise and audio controls, four-speaker audio, USB, Bluetooth and 16-inch steel wheels with covers. This car gets a combined fuel economy rating of 6.7 L/100 km.
For an additional $1,205, the Yaris automatic at $18,200 gets a six-speed automatic transmission with lock-up torque converter and sport mode that calls up a more aggressive shift map. This one is rated at an even more efficient 6.4 L/100 km combined.
O hatchback, where art thou? Road Trip: 2016 Mazda CX-3 in BC’s Interior
The Premium Plus model at $20,200 is automatic only, and layers on heated front seats, back up camera, twin USB ports, six-speaker audio, 16-inch alloys and Mazda’s familiar interface with seven-inch screen and rotary controller that lives aft of the shifter. Navigation for this car will run you about $500.
The fact that heated seats are not available on the base model could be an issue here in Canada.