Over the past several years, small cars have become far more upscale than they had been--particularly with respect to technology features. And for 2013 Toyota steps up its game with the inclusion of the former Tech Audio package in all Yaris trims--even the base Yaris L.
That means six-speaker sound, SiriusXM satellite radio compatibility, HD Radio, an auxiliary input, a USB port, iPod connectivity, automatic sound leveling, Bluetooth hands-free calling, and Bluetooth audio streaming capability are included across the model line--a significant advantage for a model that starts at around $15k.
That said, the 2013 Yaris keeps it simple; you still won't find a navigation system, heated seats, or leather upholstery on the options list.
Even 2013 Yaris L models include power locks, air conditioning, and intermittent wipers, while Yaris LE models add power windows and mirrors, cruise control, keyless entry, and steering-wheel audio controls. The Yaris SE includes a special trip computer, six-way adjustable driver's seat, sport seat fabric, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, a chromed exhaust, a color-keyed grille, a sport-tuned suspension, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Pairing a phone with the Yaris' Bluetooth system is an absolute cinch—done in about 30 seconds following text prompts—and the microphone for the system dealt well with any road noise. The system was also one of the better-sounding systems we’ve heard in HD mode, which can sound compressed and dithered in some situations—although we did notice that HD reception was quite limited.
Also of note is the large single-wiper system, which worked great—seeming more effective with the washer than dual-arm systems. One feature disappointment is that the Yaris was one of the few vehicles we've tested in years that didn't, from what we observed, automatically turn on the A/C compressor when you turn the dial to defog.