2019 Toyota Yaris Sedan: So Long, Scion, Part 2

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2019 toyota yaris sedan so long scion part 2

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 [s]Mazda[/s] 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.

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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  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Mar 26, 2018

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

  • Rickentropic Rickentropic on Mar 27, 2018

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

  • BklynPete So let's get this straight: Ford hyped up the Bronco for 3 years, yet couldn't launch it to match the crazy initial demand. They released it with numerous QC issues, made hay for its greedy dealers, and burned customers in the process. After all that, they lose money on warranties. The vehicles turn out to be a worse ownership experience than the Jeep Wrangler, which hasn't been a paragon of reliability for 50 years. The same was true of the Aviator, Explorer, several F-150 variants, and other recent product launches. The Maverick is the only thing they got right. Yet this company that's been at it for 120 years. Just Brilliant. Jim Farley's non-PR speak: "You don't get to call me an idiot. I get to call myself an idiot first."Farley truly seems hapless, like the characters his late cousin played. Bill Ford is a nice guy but more than a bit slow on the uptake too. They have not had anything resembling a quality CEO since Alan Mulally turned the keys over to Mark Fields - the mulleted glamor boy who got canned after 3 years when the PowerShi(f)t transaxles exploded. He more recently helped run Hertz into the ground with bad QC and a faulty database that had them arresting customers. Ford is starting to resemble Chrysler in the mid-Seventies Sales Bank era. Well, at least VW has cash and envies Ford's distribution reach and potential profitability.
  • Mike Beranek This guy called and wants his business model back.
  • SCE to AUX The solid state battery is vaporware.As for software-limited pack capacity: Batteries are obviously the most expensive component of an EV, so on the rare occasion that pack capacity is dramatically limited (as in your 6-year-old example), it's because economies of scale briefly made sense at the time.Mfrs are not in the habit of overbuilding pack capacity just for fun, and then charging the customer less.Since then, pack capacities have been slightly increased via software because the mfr decides they can sacrifice a little bit of the normal safety/wear margin in the interest of range. We're talking single-digit percentages, not the 60/75 kWh jump in your example.Every pack has maybe 10% margin built into it, so eating into that today (via range increases) means it's not available to make up for battery degradation tomorrow. My 4-year-old EV still has its original range(s) and 100% SOH, but that's surely because it is slowly consuming the margin built into the pack.@Matt Posky: Not everything is a conspiracy to get your credit card account, and the lengthy editorial about this has nothing to do with solid state batteries.
  • JLGOLDEN In order for this total newcomer to grab and hold attention in the US market, the products MUST be an exceptional value. Not many people will pay name-brand money for the pretty mystery. I can appreciate the ambition of selling $50K+ crossovers, but I think they will go farther with their $30K-$40K offerings.
  • Dukeisduke They're where Tesla was when it started - a complete unknown. I haven't heard anything about a dealer network. How are they going to sell these? Direct like Tesla? Franchises picked up by existing new car dealers?