Toyota Reboots 2015 Yaris with 'European Flavor'

Jul 24, 2014 05:16 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

Toyota has revamped its Yaris subcompact with a "distinct European flavor" in an attempt to boost lagging sales.

Starting at $15,670 with shipping, the 2015 Yaris comes in standard, premium and sport trim levels and is expected to hit showrooms in early August, according to Automotive News. Pricing for the base Yaris reflects a $415 increase over the 2014 version.

Toyota described the 2015 update as an "aggressive new look" that "combines an energetic shape with a more comfortable cabin."

The model has fallen behind its competitors in a strong segment, and experts aren't sure if the update will bring the Yaris up after it fell 29 percent to 8,532 vehicles through June.

"The Yaris doesn't have or do anything extraordinary to make you want to buy it," AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan told Automotive News. "It's a no-frills Toyota experience."

The 2015 revamp is the first Yaris to include a navigation system as a dealer-installed option; models in each trim have the Yaris Entune audio system, which comprises a 6-inch touch screen, iPod connectivity, hands-free phone capability and voice recognition.

The Yaris runs on a 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder engine, while buyers can pick between a five-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic.

The subcompact competes with models such as the Nissan Versa, which starts at $12,800 and has better fuel economy. The Versa boasts an EPA rating of 35 miles per gallon for combined city and highway combined, compared with the Yaris' 32 mpg rating.

"There are so many other small cars to choose from," Sullivan said. "The Yaris struggles because it's not cheap, it's not big ... there are too many reasons to not buy it."

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