Toyota Introduces a Trendier Yaris at Paris Show
The Toyota Yaris is honest, cheap transportation, but it’s not exactly cool. Toyota wants to make it trendier. Step one: Put “Trend” in the name.
Sound like a lazy strategy? The strategy goes further than the Trend package’s name and includes appearance upgrades to both the exterior and interior of the small hatchback, according to Car and Driver. The upgrades could help the Yaris gain some crucial character in a growing small car market– something it needs if it wants people to give it an honest look. It faired okay in my recent Small Hatch Smackdown, but earned demerits for its somewhat generic, jellybean shape and inability to offer a manual transmission in the five-door model.
C&D said the exterior appearance upgrades include two-tone aluminum rims, chromed mirror caps and rocker panel strips, a rear spoiler, LED taillights, available contrasting-color fender accents marketed under the name “deco lines” by Toyota, and “blacked out” B, C, and D pillars.
To call those “blacked out” pillars an appearance upgrade may be wishful marketing speak. Countless econoboxes and even larger family cars past and present have offered blacked-out pillars because it was cheaper than painting them the same color as the body. For example, the current $10,990 Nissan Versa S with its similarly “blacked out” grille, mirrors, door handles, and B pillars.
Inside, the Yaris Trend will sport a high-contrast interior treatment of a mostly black background with some areas including the dash, steering wheel, center console, and door panels being white. Good luck keeping those white surfaces looking clean when you have to touch some of them every time you drive. Those who opt for the “deco lines” on the front fenders will get them on the dash, as well.
The bad (or good, depending on how you look at it) news? We’re unlikely to get the Trend package on U.S.-bound Yarises. C&D speculates the package will only be offered in Europe, where high-optioned small cars are more popular than in the States. It should go on sale in Europe early in 2013.