2009 Yaris New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Yaris is the lowest priced Toyota and the model that best represents the value of good, basic transportation. But, the Yaris is better than just good. It boasts handsome looks, pleasant road manners, perky performance, and a well-tailored interior.
For 2009, the biggest change is the addition of a five-door Liftback model to the lineup, which includes the three-door Liftback and the four-door Sedan. This makes the Yaris the only vehicle in its category to offer buyers three distinct body styles.
All 2009 Yaris models now come standard with anti-lock brakes, front seat-mounted side airbags and front and rear side-curtain airbags. Cruise control is available on 2009 Liftback models and audio systems are satellite-capable.
All Yaris models combine an inexpensive sticker price, outstanding fuel mileage and the solid integrity that underlies every Toyota. While some of the hybrid-powered vehicles offer superior fuel economy, they're significantly more expensive than the Yaris, so it would require many miles at very high fuel prices to balance that equation. When viewed in terms of total ownership costs, the Yaris is one of the least expensive new cars available today.
We've found the Yaris practical and enjoyable to drive. The cabin is roomy, the seats are comfortable and the interior fabrics are quite nice. relative to the price point and the seats are comfortable. Around town, the Yaris excels as a runabout, dashing about wherever you need to go, with agile handling and the sort of responsive performance useful in heavy traffic. It keeps up with freeway traffic well and makes for a superb commuter car.
The 2009 Toyota Yaris comes in three-door Liftback, five-door Liftback, and four-door Sedan body styles. 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 with the three-door Liftback and Sedan, but not available with the five-door Liftback, while a four-speed automatic is standard with the five-door Liftback and optional for the three-door Liftback and four-door Sedan. Each body style is available in base and S trim levels.
The Yaris three-door Liftback ($12,205), five-door Liftback ($13,305), and four-door Sedan ($12,965) come standard 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. Base Yaris models are pre-wired for a radio, but the sound system itself is an option. 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.
The Yaris Liftback S three-door ($14,025) and five-door ($15,125) upgrade with sport seat fabric, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, AM/FM/CD audio with MP3/WMA and universal mini-jack, an amber-illuminated tachometer, 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 ($15,080) is similarly equipped, but skips the leather wrappings for a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat.
Options include the automatic transmission ($800). A Convenience Package for Liftback ($680) and Sedan ($840) 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. There are a variety of Power Packages that add power door locks, windows, cruise control, upgraded trim, an LCD screen for audio, and mirrors and features such as a 60/40 split rear seat that slides, reclines, and folds completely flat. Other options: fog lights ($110) and remote keyless entry ($230).
Safety features that come standard include dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plus three-point seatbelts and head restraints for all five seating positions. Always wear seat belts as they are your first line of defense in a crash. Anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) comes standard.