Design //

Strangely Familiar: 2017 Toyota Yaris iA Manual Sedan

An adopted orphan from the old Scion line, the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA Manual Sedan is a step up from its predecessors.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

The Yaris name is not new to the Toyota line. It’s been the entry level model for the Japanese automaker for a few years in both sedan and hatchback models.

But, the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA Manual Sedan is a new kind of Yaris. You might want to say it’s an adopted sister of the original Toyota model that took the family name.

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Here’s a quick and dramtic breakdown: A couple years ago, there were three Japanese sisters living in the same house. Toyota was the matriarch. Lexus was the high-minded younger sister who liked to spend time with well-heeled folks. Scion was the baby girl of the family — always looking to appeal to other youths around the world.

While Toyota and Lexus flourished and found plenty of buyers, Scion struggled to find herself. She changed her look and her line, but that sister never found enough supporters. So, one day, there were suddenly only two sisters left. Scion went away.

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But, on Scion’s final days, she introduced a couple new faces to her club — the iA sedan and the iM hatchback. They were interesting designs and seemed to change a lot for Scion, but it was a little too little too late. It seemed like the iA and iM would fade away before they had a chance to live life.

We leave the poetics there and get back to serious business. The iA sedan had a lot to offer the Toyota line. It was built in cooperation with Mazda and offered a lot of the rival Japanese automaker’s better features, including flowing lines on the exterior and good in-car tech for the price on the interior.

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So, perhaps at the zero hour, Toyota swooped in and saved the iA by adopting it and transforming it into the 2017 Toyota Yaris iA Manual Sedan. It was mainly a question of popping off the Scion badges and slapping on some the familiar circular “T” design of Toyota.

Otherwise, the styling remains in keeping with the original iA. And, the interior still holds the on-dash screen and infotainment system that made the original iA an ambitious choice for young buyers.

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The 2017 Toyota Yaris iA Manual Sedan is entry level in the truest sense of the word with its $15,000+ price tag and its 106 horsepower, four cylinder engine. However, by importing over that touch of Scion/Mazda styling from the nearly lost iA, this new Yaris design offers a little bit more visual appeal for Toyota’s turnkey model.

In that way, a little piece of Scion lives on under the Toyota umbrella.