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Old 07-08-2017, 08:07 PM   #1
Kalispel
 
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2YR/25K Retrospective/Review (French-Built 2015 Yaris SE, Manual 5-spd)

I can't believe it has already been two years since I purchased my Yaris. Time flies, eh? (more so, the older you get!). I'm taking her in this coming Monday morning for the last complimentary dealership ToyotaCare service visit @ 24,500 miles, and to change out both the front and rear windshield wiper blades. Sitting unwanted on a car lot in Colorado for almost a full year in 2014-2015, plus two years in the brutal AZ heat has them both starting to fall apart at the outer edges of the rubber wiper insert.

So far, the only maintenance items done to my car has been the regular 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K, & soon the be 25K ToyotaCare service (basically oil change & tire rotation). I also purchased the OEM cabin and engine air filters online at around 20K and installed them myself - which I will be doing at least every 20K in this dusty/dirty environment to keep A/C and engine airflow optimal. I also plan to start using full-synthetic OEM oil as of my 25K service (will pay the difference at dealership on this next oil change).

Below is a rundown of my two-year ownership impressions and experiences . Interesting enough, some of the opinions that I expressed in my initial purchase impressions posting back in 2015 have changed/evolved somewhat over the last two years.


Warranty Fixes/Repairs from July, 2015 to July, 2017:

(1) Little plastic horizontal fins that sit under front bumper, in front of each front wheel were very loose and not installed properly at the factory. Dealer corrected the issue, and they are both now properly installed and tight/secured, as they should be.

(2) Minor, but annoying vibration noises from both front door control/pillar areas over rougher roads (which most are around here). Dealer corrected by adding sound/vibration dampening materials where needed. No more unwanted vibrations/noises in the cabin of car.

I've read about people with a lot worse issues on their various new cars while under warranty, so I will count myself very lucky here (plus Toyota just builds quality cars in general).


My Positive Impressions:

(1) I've averaged 41 MPG combined over the last two continuous years of suburban/city driving here in AZ, USA. No long highway trips taken - just daily work commutes, shopping errands and the like around town. That's better than I was expecting when I purchased my Yaris. I'm not the hyper-mile type, but I do try to drive smart and I rarely ever drive over 60-65 MPH in the type of area that I commute around in.

(2) No complaints about the shifting/driving dynamics of the clutch or manual transmission in general on my 2015 Yaris. I was expecting it to be worse than the many previous Honda shifters I have driven over the years - but it isn't. The car also has good road manners, as in no 'drifting/pathing' at highway speeds or high-wind buffeting situations in general. Corners are tight, controlled and flat for the stock SE suspension/height, though the added TRD rear-sway-bar has helped out even further in that regard. Steering feels precise and sporty, though some might find the larger tuned turning radius on the SE not to their liking (hasn't hindered me yet). Braking is excellent and controlled, though can be a bith touchy/grabby sometimes at lower speeds. Cabin wind/road noise levels are actually better than I thought it would be in a car of this size/type.

(3) I like the somewhat edgy/risky european styling, overall, on the 2015 in the SE trim (not so much in the stock L/LE trim, where it just doesn't mesh properly with the (lack of) equipment provided). Probably not surprising to hear from me, since I did buy one, right?. This car definitely seems to have a deliberate styling that you either love or hate. I really love the design, look and function of the 2015 SE projector headlights, with integrated LED DRL in particular. I've also really grown to like the OEM black/silver-streaked alloy wheel design of the SE, even If I wish it was at a slightly different offset (pushed out a few more mm). It just works for this car.

(4) The upgraded front seats in the SE are comfortable, effective and attractive. Zero complaints here.

(5) I really like the single front windshield wiper design on this model.

(6) The manual version of this car really is better off without an armrest getting in the way, due to layout of gearbox, seating, etc. - so lack of armrest isn't an issue for me like it was initially on my first impressions.

(7) Love the (not overstated) regular OEM hatch spoiler. This car doesn't look right (to me) without one. Also like how the hatch garnish trim is painted on the 2015-2017, versus being chrome like it was on the 2012-2014. The taillights also look really good on the car, all things considered, and don't bulge or protrude annoyingly - even if they are just a cheaper U.S./NA knockoff of the much cooler LED versions available in Europe, etc.


My Negative Impressions:

(1) Not a fan of the cheap look/feel of the climate control knobs, and the big, blank, generic flat black plastic area they sit upon. Some other markets have a nicer setup in this regard. The A/C works great though, even at 120 degree fahrenheit!

(2) I've really grown to dislike the look/design/placement of the reverse light housing on the 2015-2017 model. You can even hear it annoyingly vibrating against rear-bumper/valance back there when you travel over patchy/tiled roadways at low speeds.

(3) Lack of the upgraded LED taillights, an OEM exhaust tip. side-mirror turn signals and properly-styled rear bumper reflectors has been a disappointment in this model. They should have been standard on the SE trim if nothing else (at extra sticker-price expense of course) - especially since they are all installed/available in other markets of the world on this model. Very tacky Toyota.

(4) Even though I adapted to not having it, it would have been nice if there was a plated footrest to left of clutch/brake, instead of a carpeted wedge that can easily become soiled/damaged/worn if you use that area as a footrest.

(5) Hate the huge, bulging rear-seat headrests in this car. I wish that they were somehow modular enough to fold down to appear like how the middle one looks (low profile), and wouldn't need to be removed to fold down the seat for larger capacity hauling.

(6) Not a fan really of the touchscreen system in the environment that I live. Even with tinted windows, the blazing AZ sun just turns it into a big, annoying glare-screen much of the time. Looks fine at night though. Luckily, I don't really need to interface with it much, as I just play my 4GB USB flash drive MP3 music collection in an eternal loop while I'm driving.

(7) I hate CD players in cars, especially in this day of age. Long history of CD players dying in my Honda's back in the day, right after warranty expired. It was like clockwork, lol.

(8) Wish that the stock SE suspension sat 0.5 to 0.75" lower than it does. Spring height can be a tricky thing for me, in that once it exceeds a certain point, the car starts looking (to me) like something 'broke' on it. More than a 0.75" to 1" drop just wouldn't work for me.

(9) Accelerator is a bit touchy, and takes some getting used to. If you wear thick footwear like boots, it is hard to get a feel for the gas pedal, and you tend to either give it not enough gas or too much (this makes driving a manual a real chore). In bare feet, socks, or normal loafers/shoes, it isn't an issue once you get the feel for it. Needless to say, I will not wear my skecher boots when I am driving my Yaris.


Well, that wraps up the 2 year impressions/review of my Yaris. It's a great little car, and easily one of my favorites that I have owned. It brings back that fond old CRX-Si & Acura Integra vibe from the 80's & 90's for me.

-

Last edited by Kalispel; 07-09-2017 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:34 PM   #2
justanotherdrunk
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalispel View Post
I can't believe it has already been two years since I purchased my Yaris. Time flies, eh? (more so, the older you get!). I'm taking her in this coming Monday morning for the last complimentary dealership ToyotaCare service visit @ 24,500 miles, and to change out both the front and rear windshield wiper blades. Sitting unwanted on a car lot in Colorado for almost a full year in 2014-2015, plus two years in the brutal AZ heat has them both starting to fall apart at the outer edges of the rubber wiper insert.

So far, the only maintenance items done to my car has been the regular 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K, & soon the be 25K ToyotaCare service (basically oil change & tire rotation).

i havent used toyotacare because its a pain in the ass very very busy with long waits ... i change it myself

I also purchased the OEM cabin and engine air filters online at around 20K and installed them myself - which I will be doing at least every 20K in this dusty/dirty environment to keep A/C and engine airflow optimal. I also plan to start using full-synthetic OEM oil as of my 25K service (will pay the difference at dealership on this next oil change).

Below is a rundown of my two-year ownership impressions and experiences . Interesting enough, some of the opinions that I expressed in my initial purchase impressions posting back in 2015 have changed/evolved somewhat over the last two years.


Warranty Fixes/Repairs from July, 2015 to July, 2017:

(1) Little plastic horizontal fins that sit under front bumper, in front of each front wheel were very loose and not installed properly at the factory. Dealer corrected the issue, and they are both now properly installed and tight/secured, as they should be.

(2) Minor, but annoying vibration noises from both front door control/pillar areas over rougher roads (which most are around here). Dealer corrected by adding sound/vibration dampening materials where needed. No more unwanted vibrations/noises in the cabin of car.

I've read about people with a lot worse issues on their various new cars while under warranty, so I will count myself very lucky here (plus Toyota just builds quality cars in general).


My Positive Impressions:

(1) I've averaged 41 MPG combined over the last two continuous years of suburban/city driving here in AZ, USA. No long highway trips taken - just daily work commutes, shopping errands and the like around town. That's better than I was expecting when I purchased my Yaris. I'm not the hyper-mile type, but I do try to drive smart and I rarely ever drive over 60-65 MPH in the type of area that I commute around in.

youre doing better than i am and i seldom use the ac since its rarely hot enough here

(2) No complaints about the shifting/driving dynamics of the clutch or manual transmission in general on my 2015 Yaris. I was expecting it to be worse than the many previous Honda shifters I have driven over the years - but it isn't. The car also has good road manners, as in no 'drifting/pathing' at highway speeds or high-wind buffeting situations in general. Corners are tight, controlled and flat for the stock SE suspension/height, though the added TRD rear-sway-bar has helped out even further in that regard. Steering feels precise and sporty, though some might find the larger tuned turning radius on the SE not to their liking (hasn't hindered me yet). Braking is excellent and controlled, though can be a bith touchy/grabby sometimes at lower speeds. Cabin wind/road noise levels are actually better than I thought it would be in a car of this size/type.

(3) I like the somewhat edgy/risky european styling, overall, on the 2015 in the SE trim (not so much in the stock L/LE trim, where it just doesn't mesh properly with the (lack of) equipment provided). Probably not surprising to hear from me, since I did buy one, right?. This car definitely seems to have a deliberate styling that you either love or hate. I really love the design, look and function of the 2015 SE projector headlights, with integrated LED DRL in particular. I've also really grown to like the OEM black/silver-streaked alloy wheel design of the SE, even If I wish it was at a slightly different offset (pushed out a few more mm). It just works for this car.

totally agree on the lights and wheels

(4) The upgraded front seats in the SE are comfortable, effective and attractive. Zero complaints here.

the seats are VERY comfortable

(5) I really like the single front windshield wiper design on this model.

+1

(6) The manual version of this car really is better off without an armrest getting in the way, due to layout of gearbox, seating, etc. - so lack of armrest isn't an issue for me like it was initially on my first impressions.

+1 again totally dont miss an armrest

(7) Love the (not overstated) regular OEM hatch spoiler. This car doesn't look right (to me) without one. Also like how the hatch garnish trim is painted on the 2015-2017, versus being chrome like it was on the 2012-2014. The taillights also look really good on the car, all things considered, and don't bulge or protrude annoyingly - even if they are just a cheaper U.S./NA knockoff of the much cooler LED versions available in Europe, etc.


My Negative Impressions:

(1) Not a fan of the cheap look/feel of the climate control knobs, and the big, blank, generic flat black plastic area they sit upon. Some other markets have a nicer setup in this regard. The A/C works great though, even at 120 degree fahrenheit!

(2) I've really grown to dislike the look/design/placement of the reverse light housing on the 2015-2017 model. You can even hear it annoyingly vibrating against rear-bumper/valance back there when you travel over patchy/tiled roadways at low speeds.

(3) Lack of the upgraded LED taillights, an OEM exhaust tip. side-mirror turn signals and properly-styled rear bumper reflectors has been a disappointment in this model. They should have been standard on the SE trim if nothing else (at extra sticker-price expense of course) - especially since they are all installed/available in other markets of the world on this model. Very tacky Toyota.

lame that toyota would ship any car without a finished exhaust

(4) Even though I adapted to not having it, it would have been nice if there was a plated footrest to left of clutch/brake, instead of a carpeted wedge that can easily become soiled/damaged/worn if you use that area as a footrest.

(5) Hate the huge, bulging rear-seat headrests in this car. I wish that they were somehow modular enough to fold down to appear like how the middle one looks (low profile), and wouldn't need to be removed to fold down the seat for larger capacity hauling.

(6) Not a fan really of the touchscreen system in the environment that I live. Even with tinted windows, the blazing AZ sun just turns it into a big, annoying glare-screen much of the time. Looks fine at night though. Luckily, I don't really need to interface with it much, as I just play my 4GB USB flash drive MP3 music collection in an eternal loop while I'm driving.

my 1500 usb songs last a long time rarely listen to the sick lefty news media

(7) I hate CD players in cars, especially in this day of age. Long history of CD players dying in my Honda's back in the day, right after warranty expired. It was like clockwork, lol.

(8) Wish that the stock SE suspension sat 0.5 to 0.75" lower than it does. Spring height can be a tricky thing for me, in that once it exceeds a certain point, the car starts looking (to me) like something 'broke' on it. More than a 0.75" to 1" drop just wouldn't work for me.

(9) Accelerator is a bit touchy, and takes some getting used to. If you wear thick footwear like boots, it is hard to get a feel for the gas pedal, and you tend to either give it not enough gas or too much (this makes driving a manual a real chore). In bare feet, socks, or normal loafers/shoes, it isn't an issue once you get the feel for it. Needless to say, I will not wear my skecher boots when I am driving my Yaris.


Well, that wraps up the 2 year impressions/review of my Yaris. It's a great little car, and easily one of my favorites that I have owned. It brings back that fond old CRX-Si & Acura Integra vibe from the 80's & 90's for me.

-
great write up

i remember reading your initial impression write up just after you got the car and i had just driven a yaris rental 9K miles around the country and was researching whether or not i actually wanted to buy the LE or the SE

i will add the great, stitched, thick steering wheel and steering feel are excellent

the great look and feel of the SE's 4 wheel discs

ive had quite a few positive comments on the appearance of the car by people who have never seen the VERY rare Yaris SE before


Last edited by justanotherdrunk; 07-09-2017 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 07-10-2017, 03:19 PM   #3
Kalispel
 
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Originally Posted by justanotherdrunk View Post
great write up

i remember reading your initial impression write up just after you got the car and i had just driven a yaris rental 9K miles around the country and was researching whether or not i actually wanted to buy the LE or the SE

i will add the great, stitched, thick steering wheel and steering feel are excellent

the great look and feel of the SE's 4 wheel discs

ive had quite a few positive comments on the appearance of the car by people who have never seen the VERY rare Yaris SE before

Yeah, the thick, wrapped steering wheel in the SE does have a good feel to it, and I never was a fan of drum brakes on my cars, even if the everyday performance difference on a car this size/weight is likely negligible.

I do find the cruise control stalk to be in a somewhat awkward place on the steering wheel though.

-------------

I took my car in this morning for the 25K service. I also needed a wheel alignment done, probably thanks to all the horrible roads in/around Phoenix (some abnormal tread wear was cited on checklist). That, both wiper blades replaced (front/back), and the full-synthetic upgrade cost to my free Toyota Servicecare oil change totaled me out at $122.

Toyota indicated that my tire tread depth is 8/32 @ 24.5K miles, which they indicate is still in the green (new is 10/32). I will probably start shopping around for new tires sometime after they downgrade it from green to yellow on my service checklist (5K after it hits 6/32 probably). My 4 disc brakes are all at 9mm - still in the green. Sometime around 4-5mm (yellow range) they will likely need service/replacement.

Last edited by Kalispel; 07-10-2017 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 07-10-2017, 03:57 PM   #4
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Great write-up.
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:01 PM   #5
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Spent a little time with the Yaris this last Sunday, doing my 4 month hand wash/wax/detail 'full-monty' exterior cleaning/protection treatment. It generally takes the entire morning & early afternoon to complete. I did the full interior treatment the weekend before that. Below is a the latest picture of her, taken today through my office window at work with my low-end (~$80) Android Smartphone.

My car wax of choice since I purchased my Yaris has been Sonax (201200-755) Hybrid NPT Liquid Wax, and I have been very happy with it. It applies easily (both on & off) and is still beading water just fine when I go to apply the next coat after 4 months of brutal heat/sunshine. My car soap of choice has been Mothers 05664 California Gold Car Wash. Most of my other cleaning/detailing supplies are either Mothers or Griot's Garage brand.

So far, she is holding up to the harsh Arizona elements very well, considering that she sits outside 5 work days a week - during prime sun/heat hours (7am to 3:30pm+). She spends most of the weekends in the garage, as well as every late afternoon & evening. Being a white-paint car probably helps a lot also.

Although my daily round-trip work commute will increase (double from ~35 miles/day total to ~70 miles/day total) starting next year when our offices finally move to the expanded/larger facilities of a another Tech company that we officially merged with late last year (both under the umbrella ownership of an even larger Fortune 100 global Tech company), one perk will be that I will have covered private parking at the new location. The less sun/elements hitting my car the better. I may end up moving closer to the new offices a bit SE of Phoenix later in 2018, depending on how things go (how sucky morning/evening rush-hour traffic is in that other direction for me).




Last edited by Kalispel; 08-22-2017 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 08-22-2017, 11:39 PM   #6
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Very nice review... and the car looks great!

I didn't realise you had tinted the windows that dark. That must help in the extreme Arizona heat.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:26 AM   #7
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Very nice review... and the car looks great!

I didn't realise you had tinted the windows that dark. That must help in the extreme Arizona heat.
I think it's the angle the tint is viewed at with this type tint - plus the sun was hitting car from the rear and the untinted front windshield is blocked with the sun shade as well (making it as dark as possible in the car during the day). It normally doesn't look that opaque to me in the real world when I'm eyeballing it without the front sun shade inserted. I'm using SunTek-CXP/35 (35%) Window Tint on ALL side/back windows - that's the legal limit here for the front-side windows and I wanted tinting uniformity on all windows. Plus, anything darker than 33-35% makes me uncomfortable to drive with at night using the side/back windows, based on past experience. My night vision already sucks as it is.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:35 AM   #8
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^^^ Gotcha. I don't like driving with dark tint either, especially at night; can't see darned thing... kinda freaks me out!
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:52 AM   #9
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You mentioned your car was unwanted. The local Hertz car seller just sold a bunch of 2015 L's this last month. At $8800, didn't seem like a bad deal for a car with 37K on it. The sales lady mentioned she sold 4 herself.

I bought one for my 74yo mom, she just needed a putt putt car for around town. She said she wanted small and simple. It was this or I was looking for an IQ. I walked in and walked out 60 mins later no money down, 48 months at 5%. I called my other siblings to ask them to cough up some cash for mom, car is already half paid for. I'll pay the rest off by March.

It's not a bad car, I drove it for 30 miles. I was surprised I fit in it, I'm 6'2", 300#. I need to pick up a few little parts; a pull button to drop the left rear seat, a stud and nut for engine cover and get an alignment, pulls slightly to the right. May as well get the tranny fluid and filter changed. All the other maintenance items and new tires Hertz took care of. Debating on ceramic tinting the windows to keep it cool and to keep the UV from the plastics and fabric. I'll wait till mom gets use to the size and parking it. I'll probably need new hub caps too, she has scraped them against the curb a few times. I may want get the cargo cover too. I'll see if I can find one at the local junk yards. May pick up an intermittent wiper stalk and cruze at the yards too since those are easy mods.
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:48 AM   #10
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I have a really bad feeling that hard to operate gas pedal is responsible for the clutch issues people keep posting about.

Happy for me that styling issues dont affect me!
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:20 PM   #11
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Looking as crispy as ever, Kali.

Still thinking about pulling the trigger on some aftermarket wheels?
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:54 PM   #12
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I have a bucket list of things I would like to do - in theory.

- Springs that will NOT lower me more than 1".
- Aftermarket wheel design that I like, with a more favorable offset (w/ 205/50 tires).
- Non-U.S. market Toyota OEM LED Yaris/Vitz tail-lights.
- 2012-2014 SE bumper (if I bought some 2012-2014 compatible version JDM Vitz LED taillights) - & get rid of that awful lower-bumper reverse light at same time.

Just have to stop procrastinating.
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:26 AM   #13
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yours is a year older with twice the (s)miles and i think its cleaner than my car even though it has spent half its life as a rarely driven garage queen

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