2008 Yaris New Car Test Drive
The Yaris is the lowest priced Toyota, the Toyota that best represents the value of good, basic transportation. Except the Yaris is better than just good. It boasts handsome looks, pleasant road manners, perky performance, and a well-tailored interior.
Yaris was introduced as a 2007 model. For 2008, a sporty S version of the liftback joins the Toyota Yaris lineup. The Yaris S liftback and sedan benefit from special interior and exterior trim: a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, amber-illuminated tachometer, special seat fabric, and color-keyed spoilers under the front and rear bumpers. Aluminum-alloy wheels are optional.
The Yaris is a reminder of what has made Toyota the world's leading carmaker: the ability to cater to a wide range of luxury and specialty market niches without forgetting how to build good, basic transportation. All Yaris models combine an inexpensive sticker, outstanding fuel mileage and the solid integrity that underlies every Toyota vehicle.
Toyota Yaris is available in base or S trim, each as a three-door hatchback or a four-door sedan. All Yaris models are powered through the front wheels by a 1.5-liter engine with an output of 106 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard while a four-speed automatic is optional for the liftback ($900) and sedan ($725).
Yaris liftback ($11,350) and sedan ($12,225) come with air conditioning, power steering, tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers, rear center headrest, driver and passenger vanity mirrors, front and rear cupholders, digital clock, UV glass and a map light. The Yaris is pre-wired for a radio but does not come with one. The liftback's front seats are adjustable four ways, while the sedan's are adjustable six ways. The radio antenna is roof-mounted on the liftback and is placed in the rear window glass of the sedan. The liftback's rear seat folds down while the sedan's rear seat is fixed.
Yaris liftback S ($13,025) adds an amber-illuminated tachometer, AM/FM/CD audio with MP3/WMA and universal mini-jack, sport seat fabric, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, rear window wiper and defroster, color-keyed front and rear under-bumper spoilers, special badging, and P185/60 tires on 15-inch steel wheels with full covers. The Yaris sedan S ($13,725) is similarly equipped, but skips the leather wrappings for a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat.
A Convenience Package for liftback ($630) and sedan ($750) models adds the radio, 15-inch wheels and tires, rear defroster, and 60/40 split/fold-down rear seats for the sedan and a rear wiper for the liftback. The Power Package for the base models ($1,785) includes the Convenience Package plus power door locks, windows, and mirrors. On the liftback, it also adds a 60/40 split rear seat that slides, reclines, and folds completely flat; on the sedan, it adds cruise control, upgraded trim, LCD audio display, and ABS brakes with Electronic Brake-force distribution. The similar package is available for S models. Power windows ($375) or locks ($275) are options on base sedans. Other options: 15-inch alloy wheels ($390), fog lights ($110), rear spoiler for the liftback ($2000) or sedan ($435), remote keyless entry ($230).
Safety features that come standard include dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plus three-point seatbelts and head restraints for all five seating positions. Also available ($650) are front seat-mounted side-impact airbags for torso protection and side curtain airbags for head protection for front and rear passengers. We highly recommend these extra safety features, especially in such a small and lightweight car. Always wear seat belts as they are your first line of defense in a crash. ABS/EBD brakes are optional ($300); we strongly recommend getting them.