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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.
This is the Yaris' first year in the U.S. As the first of the many new smaller and less-expensive subcompacts from major Japanese carmakers (such as the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa) the Yaris' gas mileage ratings rank highest (34 mpg City and 40 mpg Highway).
The 2015 Toyota Yaris hatchback looks dramatically different from last year's model. The grille is bigger, the tail sharper, and the new Yaris interior is nicer. It's all part of Toyota's effort to counter the onslaught of superior subcompacts like the Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic. However, while the upgrades this year are worthwhile, little was done to fix the fundamental problem facing the Toyota Yaris, namely, that it's sort of a shrug to drive. The engine and transmission are the same, and despite structural changes, the car behaves pretty much the same from behind the wheel. Impeccable Toyota reliability, improved creature comforts, and undeniably better looks are strong selling points, but for those looking for more pizazz, there are more appealing cars.