2011 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. It's a superb subcompact.
Yaris comes in five-door Liftback, three-door Liftback, and four-door Sedan versions. It's the only vehicle in its category to offer buyers three distinct 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 now standard on all models, while a four-speed automatic is optional.
For 2010, Toyota Yaris comes standard with the full Toyota Star Safety System. It gets the full complement of air bags all around. The 2010 Yaris comes with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and traction control (TRAC), in addition to its already-standard anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.
For 2010, there have been some minor changes. A rear-window defroster is now standard. And remote keyless entry, an engine immobilizer, and 15-inch alloy wheels are now available. Yaris was launched as a 2007; the five-door liftback joined the lineup for 2009.
All Yaris models combine an inexpensive sticker price, outstanding fuel mileage and the solid integrity that underlies every Toyota. While some hybrid-powered vehicles offer superior fuel economy, they're significantly more expensive than the Yaris, so it would require many, 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. It's an outstanding value.
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. 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 good commuter car.
The 2010 Toyota Yaris three-door Liftback ($12,605), five-door Liftback ($12,905), and four-door Sedan ($13,365) 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, map light, rear-window defroster. Standard tires are P175/65R14 on steel rims. A five-speed manual is standard on all models, an automatic transmission ($800) is optional.
The Liftback's front seats are adjustable four ways, while the Sedan's adjust 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.
Option packages include the Convenience Package ($840-$960), which adds an AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA radio with auxiliary input jack, satellite radio capability, and CD text display, plus P185/60R15 tires on 15-inch steel wheels. Sedans upgrade to a 60/40 fold-down rear seat while Liftbacks get a 60/40 slide/recline/fold-flat rear seat and a rear window wiper. The Power Package ($1,525-$1,780) combines the content of the Convenience Package with power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; and on the sedan only an LCD display for the radio and upgraded interior trim.
The Sport Package ($2,665-$2,845) includes all Power Package content and adds sport seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, an iPod interface, fog lights, and a full complement of exterior spoilers, sill extensions and air dams. New 15-inch alloy wheels ($390) can be added to either the Sport Package or the Power Package.
Options include cruise control ($250), fog lights ($110), and a Weatherguard Package ($70) consisting of a larger windshield washer tank plus heavy-duty heater and starter. TRD, Toyota's performance branch, offers a variety of go-faster accessories, ranging from a cold air intake and low-restriction muffler to serious suspension modifications.
Safety features include Toyota's full Star Safety System, comprising Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Standard passive safety equipment includes 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.