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Last year, Toyota gave the Yaris hatchback a complete makeover. The only changes for 2013 involve equipment packaging: The good audio system (AM/FM/CD, six speakers, USB port, Bluetooth) is now standard on all trims including the base L, and cruise control, formerly an LE option, is now standard there.
Toyota's Star Safety System is added to all Yaris models, bringing standard traction and electronic stability control to the little compact. Other changes for 2010 include a rear window defroster as standard equipment and the addition of a tachometer and manual transmission on the five door.
A new five-door Liftback joins the lineup, while cruise control is made available on both the three- and five-door models. New standard equipment includes anti-lock brakes (ABS), front side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbag and satellite capability on the optional radio offerings.
The sport-themed Liftback S joins the Yaris lineup, featuring color-keyed front and rear bumper spoilers, sport seat fabric, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, rear defroster, rear wiper and an AM/FM/CD player with MP3/WMA capability and universal mini-jack port.
The 2014 Yaris is Toyota's least-expensive car. That in itself may be a strong enough proposition for buyers simply seeking cheap, basic, reliable transportation. And in those respects the Yaris continues to succeed. But newer, more exciting and better-equipped subcompact hatchback competitors abound. Rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic, Nissan Versa Note, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio offer powertrains that are more powerful and/or more fuel-efficient, in addition to creature comforts such as heated seats and navigation that are not available on the Yaris. The Yaris is adequate for those who just want a basic, no-hassle car with Toyota's reputation for quality and good resale value. But even in this price-sensitive segment, more appealing cars are fighting for your consideration.