While long in the tooth, the Yaris can still meet the needs of a younger first time buyer… Just not me.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Sept. 9, 2010
$13,365 incl. dest. (2010 Pricing) for the 3-door hatch to start and pricey with the features most other vehicles come equipped with as standard.
The 2011 Toyota Yaris sedan and hatchback still offer one of the best non-hybrid or diesel fuel economy ratings available in the US and since the 2010 MY, comes loaded with Toyota’s STAR Safety System as standard equipment. The Star Safety System includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.
The Yaris can be purchased in three distinct models: a four-door sedan, three-door hatchback and a five-door hatchback. With the five-speed manual transmission, Yaris is rated at 32 mpg combined highway and with the ancient 4-speed AT, 31 mpgUS combined.
A 4-speed AT? Some Japanese marketing exec must have been having an 80’s flashback when he decided to stick that thing in there? And he has not yet woken up from the trip either???
We all know the Yaris is not a stop light to stop light braggart but the 106 HP, 1.5L I-4 is responsive enough to get itself out of its own way. Not much more than that but then again, it would dust 80% of the cars on the road just 30-years ago and do so while achieving three times their FE.
Ride and Handling
While the Yaris offers a comfortable ride on good pavement, a hard corner and “she’ll be a leanin”. Get used to “wandering down the highway” instead of driving down it with any kind of wind as well. Responsive handling? Not really. Good maneuverability? With a 32.6-ft. turning circle for the Sedan and just 30.8-ft. for the hatch back, there are few parking spaces that cannot be driven into or out of once behind the wheel of the Yaris. A huge plus for the Yaris in this regard. A smooth ride? With 14” wheels, a 97 to 100” wheelbase and a torsion beam rear end, it’s smooth until the road turns to crap. At that point, the Yaris will ride like a pogo stick on a trampoline. For the price, it is not going to include a double wishbone at all four corners nor have superior NVH characteristics so get over it.
Along with the Star Safety system described above, the Yaris incorporates a High Strength steel people space with front and rear crumple zones and energy-absorbing materials in the roof and doors to keep whatever is trying to bash its way in, out! All five seating positions are equipped with standard height-adjustable headrests and three-point seatbelts, and the front seatbelts integrate pretensioners and force limiters. Standard driver and passenger advanced dual-stage front airbags (SRS) inflate according to collision severity. A front seat passenger sensor is designed to detect weight capacity on the seat to determine whether the airbag should inflate and the correct inflation power. It will flash a warning MIL incessantly if you have a heavy bag of groceries sitting in the passenger front seat so be prepared to be pissed off.
Front-seat-mounted side airbags and first and second row roll-sensing side curtain airbags are standard in all Yaris models. The rear seat is equipped with Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) for outboard seating positions.
IIHS – 2010 Toyota Yaris Crash Test Ratings
According to the IIHS, the 2007 – 2010 Yaris receives a Good rating for both Frontal Offset and Side Impact crash tests with a marginal rating on the Roof Crush strength test. During the Rear crash protection/head restraint testing, the Yaris performed below average with an overall Marginal rating.
NHTSA – 2010 Toyota Yaris Crash Test Ratings
The NHTSA was a bit more forgiving with the 3-door Yaris earning a 5-4-5-3-4 Star rating while the 5-door earned 4-stars all the way across.
Nothing really new but at least its all there.
Comfort and Convenience… Not really so much
It’s a Yaris, not an Avalon!
The cabin provides rear seating for three if they are not over the age of 13. And even then it is going to be tight. The Hatchback’s rear seatback folds down to expand cargo capacity from 9.3 cubic feet to 25.7 cubic feet. This is a lot of room folks so consider the hatch if you consider the Yaris. The sedan's trunk is a decent for a subcompact at 12.9 cubic feet. About big enough to carry three people’s worth of gear for a week but whoever has to sit in the back seat for that week is quite literally screwed. Poor bastard
A 60/40 split rear seatback is included in the optional Convenience Package on both Sedan and Hatchback but why is it an option with a package is anybody’s guess. Toyota, stop it with this option trash. You are not GM so do not act like GM.
Yaris models are designed to provide easy-to-reach audio and climate controls, an array of storage spaces including a center console with built-in storage, and cup holders in the front and rear.
So let us talk about climate controls for a minute. The knobs are big, they are ugly and they had to have been made for at least $0.02 a piece. Turn the knob and listen to plastic levers moving plastic louvers and little clunks as the mechanisms settle into their new positions. It sounds more like something made from a plastic model airplane kit instead of by and for a Toyota. Fortunately, the pieces and parts no matter how cheaply made appear to be holding together on my soon to be daughter-in-laws 08 Yaris. Reliability, we will give it a plus. Aesthetics aside, the Corolla on down now include these "knobs" and they plain and simply look like "suck".
2011 Toyota Yaris Interior and Controls
Spartan, functional and just barely adequate…
Steering wheel reach… Boy if Toyota needs to have their @$$ kicked, this is an area where it needs to be done. Since the launch of the Echo, first and second generation Prius (even the third gen is still not right
), last generation Corolla and the Yaris, the tilt only steering wheel solution made for a 5’-0” tall Asian lady simply does not work. No offense to 5’-0” tall Asian ladies either… I am sorry but if Toyota can set up their Camry’s on up and their Lexus everything proportions right, they can certainly get their compact and sub-compact proportions right. The fix? Sit a 6-0” tall American behind the wheel for 12-hours and let him tell you where the darn wheel and pedals, seat bottom and back rest need to be placed and how they need to be shaped so you can put this 12-years of Japanese ergonomics disaster behind you already!
The instrument cluster… Oh boy what a nightmare. It is located in the center which has got to be the dumbest place for your speedo ever considered. Sure it probably saves Toyota money when they can spec the same dash for right and left hand drives around the world but Toyota please, save money somewhere else as I want to look at my speedometer, not over to it. Try this same stunt in the Camry and you might just bankrupt the company!
Fortunately, all Yaris’ include A/C; tilt steering wheel (see above); rear window defogger; a tach on MT equipped models; digital clock; a map light; intermittent windshield wipers with mist control; and dual sun visors with vanity mirrors. The hatchback models also receive sun visor extensions.
Optional Equipment… For a huge price!
The Yaris is available with a number of comfort and convenience options and accessories for “personalization”.
The optional $960 (2010 price) Convenience Package adds an AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability auxiliary audio jack (AUX), XM compatibility, and CD text display function.
Ok, that is worth all of $20 or so.
It also adds upgraded 185/60R 15-inch tires on steel wheels with full wheel covers.
Another $25 OEM???
And adds 60/40 folding rear seatbacks.
Now there is yet another $25 OEM cost.
The hatchback includes a rear wiper and a sliding and reclining feature in the rear seats.
Ok, maybe $100 tops. All told, you pay $960 and receive $170 worth of stuff on the hatch and $70 worth of stuff in the sedan. Again, Toyota, you are not GM so stop acting like GM.
The optional $1,780 (2010 price) Power Package gives you PL, PW and PM plus remote keyless entry system and engine immobilizer. The Sedan Power Package also includes upgraded interior trim.
For god’s sake it costs Toyota more to install manual crank windows in the thing than it does to have every Yaris go down the line with Power windows! While remote keyless entry is a bit more sophisticated than my $20 code secured garage door opener, it is not that much more sophisticated
And wait until you read about the $2,845 (2010 price) Sport Package
It adds color-keyed front and rear under-body spoilers; side rocker panels; rear spoiler; integrated front fog lamps; amber illuminated tachometer; driver and front passenger sport seats with sport fabric; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; AM/FM/CD player with MP3/WMA capability iPod® interface; auxiliary audio jack, XM compatibility, CD text display function; and an “S” badge.
Even Cruise control is extra on the Yaris!
If you want a loaded up Yaris, find some other sucker that hates their 2010 and let them eat the $4,000 up charge for all the garbage that should have come standard. The Star Safety System was included on the 2010’s as well so why burn it… Better yet, go buy a full-sized 2011 Hyundai Sonata for $19,195 as all that stuff and more is not only standard, you will pay less for it off the dealership lot and receive the 35 mpg highway the AT equipped Yaris offers.
2010 Toyota Yaris - 5-door Hatch
It is cute and its small. If you need to see the specs, see the last time we uploaded those back in 2007: 2007 Toyota Yaris 3-Dr. Hatchback/Sedan
. If you want more on the 5-door, ask.
Regarding the sedan and hatch, fortunately, the trunk lid extends down to the bumper molding to provide a easy trunk access.
For 2011, the Yaris hatchback and sedan are available in six colors with Black Sand Pearl being shared by both. The hatchback is available in a new Super White this year as well.
Toyota’s standard 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation.
We have seen over 50 mpg with the 4-speed AT and over 70 mpg with a stick... We have also received the same or better in just about everything we have driven other than the 35 mpg RT we pulled in the 2011 Ford Super Duty w/ the Power Stroke earlier this year. If you have to compare a Yaris to the 2011 Ford Super Duty in terms of FE, maybe you should be driving something without a motor and just two wheels… Fuel efficient, sure. Anywhere near the most fuel efficient? Not a snowball's chance in hell!
The lowest cost of ownership sub-compact possibly available arrives in the form of the Yaris. This is a big deal and especially for the youngest new drivers with scant few bucks to spend. But only if you keep it essentially stripped.
As far as fun to drive over a long haul, would you want to take a two-and-a-half day, 2,000 mile 24/7 road trip with three in the Yaris or would you want to take anything else? If you answer that question with “The Yaris”, please never set your butt down in anything else or you may have your rose colored glasses ripped off your face in a rather harsh and obscene manner.
As a short range commuter, the total cost of ownership will make it bearable but for the long haul, I can think of at least 10 other compacts and subcompact competitors I would rather be driving and all for a similar price too.
Finally, Toyota, please stop calling the Yaris hatchback a tail back, a lift back or probably a fish back in the near future given your distaste for the term hatchback. It’s a hatchback and will always be a hatchback until there are no more hatchbacks ever built.