Filed under: Budget , Hatchback , Toyota , First Drives Advertising firms have done an admirable job convincing consumers that the easiest way to find a best-in-segment car or truck is by looking at a few key metrics. In the most elementary terms, the vehicle with the highest horsepower, most gears in its transmission housing, lowest acceleration times and best fuel economy most certainly must be the class benchmark. Yet as the commercials and billboards continue to drive that deceitful message, Toyota is betting shoppers in the subcompact segment are a bit more discerning. The Japanese automaker has just launched its updated 2015 Yaris , a three- and five-door offering that bucks the innovation and performance trends by offering what Toyota feels that entry-level buyers actually desire – reliability, practicality and a low sticker price. It’s sweltering in the tropical Hawaiian sun as I check out the deeply refreshed 2015 Yaris SE. This five-door hatchback, a range-topping version of the company’s subcompact “sporty hatch” (Toyota’s words, not mine), builds on the new-in-2012 generation by wearing new front and rear fascias, redesigned headlights and some attractive new wheels for the upcoming model year. Overall, I like what I see. The front clip, with new LED daytime running lights, projector-beam headlight lenses and an oversized piano-black grille adds some character and aggression to a formerly nondescript vehicle. The wheel designs are big improvement, too, as their twisted spokes suggest motion even when standing still. The rear treatment, basically a new urethane bumper cap and redesigned taillamps, isn’t as exciting as the front, almost appearing less sporty overall with the deletion of the chrome exhaust outlet, but it ties the package together.
Filed under: Marketing/Advertising , Videos , Toyota Company : Toyota Brand : Toyota Medium : Online Product : Toyota Yaris Campaign : It’s a car! What We Like : Placing Michael Showalter in your ads earns automatic bonus points with us. These spots are pretty funny, and Showalter is the driving force behind the humor. Also, it’s refreshing to see an automaker take a self-deprecating point of view from time to time. What We Don’t Like : We think Toyota is basically saying that the new Yaris is as simple of an automobile as you can find. The tounge-in-cheek humor is used to mask the fact that the Yaris isn’t much more than an appliance on wheels. Strategy : Toyota is really going out on a limb by using humor to highlight the fact that the new Yaris is a rather basic automobile. Still, the spots do manage to point out the fact that this vanilla machine has some solid features for its price point. Despite that fact, we’re torn on this campaign. The spots themselves, which you can view after the jump , are hilarious but ultimately come across as spoof material put together by a competing automaker. Grade : C (We’re split, and this grade reflects our feelings.