By on March 26, 2018

Image: Toyota

With Monday’s announcement of a refreshed 2019 Yaris sedan comes the last shovelful of dirt heaped on Scion’s grave. Toyota has an updated version of the subcompact four-door ready for an official unveiling at this week’s New York International Auto Show, but don’t go looking for that tell-tale “iA” model nameplate. It’s gone.

The complicated history of Toyota’s smallest sedan begins with the automaker’s defunct youth brand, Scion. As the brand grew more confused (and mainstream), Toyota borrowed the recently introduced second-generation Mazda 2 sedan, slapped a Scion badge on it, and rolled out the iA. Mazda had second thoughts about offering the car in this market, making the iA and the CX-3 the only domestic adopters of the car’s platform.

For Scion, grafting a large, unusual grille onto the wee car proved sufficient in de-KODO-ifying the model. During the inaugural 2016 model year, however, Toyota grimly loaded a single round into its shotgun, took the Scion brand behind the barn, and did what it had to do. The two newest Scion models — iA and iM — kept their model names and took up residence in the Yaris and Corolla lineups for 2017, adopting their sibling’s name as a prefix (despite not sharing the same architecture).

Now, both models enter 2019 free of vestigial Scion badging.

The Yaris sedan, as it’s now called, intends to make friends in the subcompact field with boosted content and a real trim ladder. No longer will buyers choose from just “manual” or “automatic.” A base L model join LE and XLE trims in offering buyers new ways to outfit the little Mazda Toyota.

Image: Toyota

As you can see from the photo above, Toyota hasn’t taken a large scalpel to the Yaris sedan’s face. The gulping grille remains, reminding this author of an ornery fish, though this time it’s filled with a new mesh (instead of the horizontal slats of previous generation). On LE and XLE trims, inboard fog lamps tuck into the lower corners of the sedan’s maw. Going by last year’s photos, the 16-inch wheels carry over unchanged.

Toyota seems pretty pleased with itself in offering a premium trim level for the Yaris sedan. In XLE guise, the model sees pretty any interior surface you’re likely to rest your hand swathed in leather (the seats gain letherette), while automatic climate control comes standard. Automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing  wipers and illuminated entry round out the list of niceties. Like the LE, XLE models also feature mirror-mounted turn signals, heated outside mirrors, and a rear lip spoiler.

All Yaris sedans see push-button ignition as standard kit, with a smart key entry system offered to LE and XLE buyers. Even entry level buyers gain a low-speed pre-collision system.

As before, owners access infotainment functions through a 7-inch touchscreen. It seems Toyota also kept its hands off the powertrain, with remains a 1.5-liter inline-four generating 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque. The Mazda-derived chassis, plus its feathery 2,485-pound curb weight (for stick shift models), makes this model more fun than one might realize. Certainly, the nimble, 100 hp Mazda 2 of yesteryear was hard to dislike.

Image: Toyota

Buyers can pair that 1.5-liter with a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed auto. Fuel economy ratings also carry over unchanged, with the automatic-equipped model offering 40 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg combined. Drop those figures by 1 mpg for the stick shift version.

Unfortunately, there’s no new word on a mystery we told you about earlier this year. In VIN coding documents filed to the NHTSA by Mazda in January for the 2019 model year, it appeared as though Toyota planned to introduce a five-door version of the Toyota Yaris iA. Maybe we’ll hear something about that in New York.

In the meantime, just know that for 2019, the U.S.-market Yaris sedan now carries the same name as the version sold in Canada and Puerto Rico. The updated model goes on sale this fall.

[Images: Toyota]

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29 Comments on “2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan: So Long, Scion, Part 2...”

  • avatar

    So where’s the hatch Toyota? Or they making people buy the hideous CH-R for that?

  • avatar

    Hopefully they make a hatch version, purely for my personal satisfaction as I have zero interest in owning a car with 600cc motorcycle horsepower.

    • 0 avatar

      Doubt it will come next to the Corolla hatch announced a few days ago.

      It will be an interesting brand experiment to observe its reception as a full member of the Toyota family, compared to its previous status as a “I don’t quite know what that is,” since it’s literally the same car.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe next year, I think the U.S. and Canada are the last holdouts for this generation of the Yaris hatch, the rest of the world has new Toyota built Yaris sedans and hatchbacks already. The current U.S. Yaris hatchback seems to carryover for 2019(its available for fleet ordering already). Maybe for model year 2020 will flip the scenario and introduce a new Yaris hatchback and a new Corolla sedan(2019 seems to be a carryover year for the Corolla sedan it appeared for fleet orders the same day they announced the new hatchback).

    • 0 avatar

      They do make a hatch version, actually – it’s just not sold in this country. But you can buy one in Mexico as a Mazda 2.

  • avatar

    I was hoping this thing would stay mono-spec (and maybe gain a hatch option) for a few more years! A 5-speed version of this car is hopefully going to replace my EJ civic when it decides to kick the bucket.

    Fingers crossed there’s an affordable hatch version in the used market in about 10 years.

  • avatar

    I just had one of these as a rental car. This is as close to cheap and cheerful as you’ll get from Toyota anymore.

    I was pleasantly surprised with it. It drives like the Mazda it is, not the Toyota badges it wears. Though I never drove the Mazda 2, if it was anything like this, I can see why it was “the drivers choice” The six speed auto wasn’t bad, but to be any fun, this one cries for a manual.

    It was a bit loud, in the Mazda manner, but not obnoxiously so. 28k St. Louis rental miles on the one I had and it was still pretty solid. Simple knob HVAC, decent ICE interface with MMI controller. Still not a fan of the “tablet stuck in the dash design”, but it works well in this car.The sound was pretty good for any car, let alone a 17k car,belying it’s Scion roots. Power windows, locks, alloy wheels all standard. You can save a $1000 opting for the manual.

    This is not a bad deal for “minimum new car” IMHO, provided you can deal with the odd styling and the lack of a standard armrest/center console. It’s a $200 accessory that should be standard. A basic Jetta officially starts a few grand higher and probably is a better “real” car. But I wonder what the actual transaction price is on these. 17k sticker, maybe 16k out the door?

    I wish this car came as a hatch too, not the Yaris that is actually a Toyota, costs the same and has a 4 speed automatic in 2018.

  • avatar

    I have always wondered how America can produce a Boeing 777x, but at the same time cannot produce a simple reliable small car like the Yaris. Saturn got half way there, but GM dropped the ball and gave up. It seems even the French has figured out how to produce a decent small car at a reasonable price.

  • avatar

    They should integrate these screens into the dash for cryin’ out loud. While going for a futuristic look they accidentally achieved a cheap-jack look. What is the purpose of this penalty box anyway? Just pick up a nice used Corolla if you want a driving appliance, at least they have a little room.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “a 1.5-liter inline-four generating 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque. The Mazda-derived chassis, plus its feathery 2,485-pound curb weight (for stick shift models)”

    Lolwut? The Echo had a basically identical output and weighed almost a quarter-ton less.

    • 0 avatar

      I was going to say, that 2485 is within spitting distance of my old ’12 Civic LX with 140hp.

      I remember being being pleasantly surprised how a stick shift Echo could rip a 0-60 in the low-8 second range.

      I have a soft spot for Echos in general, our family friends bout one new 5spd sedan in ’00 and still own it as far as I know. They had power steering but I’m not sure about A/C. Manual locks and windows. It was one of the early adopters of making a small car roomy through vertical space, I was impressed with how roomy it was inside for its small footprint. Also a bomb-proof feeling suspension, surprisingly cushy. It was the definition of cheap and cheerful transportation. My friend and my brother and I would take twisty roads down to our favorite motorcycle junkyard in Southern-tier NY, the Echo would pull off damn-near 50mpg.

  • avatar

    A good “bare minimum car” as others have said. It wasn’t stated explicitly but is the manual available on all trim levels?

    If you want your kid to have “new” for a first car this is a good candidate, get the manual version and teach them a soon to be archaic skill. ;-)

  • avatar

    LUV the Yaris name, it’s just so Toyoter.

    YARIS now more than ever!

    BTW, Mitsubishi wants its front end back.

  • avatar

    “The complicated history of Toyota’s smallest sedan begins with the automaker’s defunct youth brand, Scion. As the brand grew more confused”

    So it’s not sure if it’s gay or not?

  • avatar

    I believe in you Yaris sedan.. As in Canada you are special order from Quebec only.Most outside don’t bother.

  • avatar

    With the exception of the gen 1 Xb, Toyota totally Pscon on Scion brand. Now Toyota asks us , How’s Yaras?

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