The Toyota Yaris the subcompact car that has been changing the way that people think about little cars. The Yaris offers a lot of features and of course a lot of fuel economy being one of the biggest and most important to many buyers. The Yaris replaced the Tercel and Echo models with a much more successful design that has been a big hit in the US since it was brought over from Europe. The Yaris has been available in Europe since 1999 and made its first appearance in the US market in 2006. This compact car offers a four door sedan model or a 5 door hatchback design. All models use the same 1.5 liter 106 horsepower engine that utilizes an inline 4 cylinder core. The transmission options for this car are a 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic.

Other subcompacts that compete with the Yaris include The Ford Fiesta and the Nissan Versa and Fit from Honda. The Yaris offers less power and torque than its competitors, but it also wears a smaller price tag that will still make it much more attractive to some buyers.

Body styles: Sedan, two-and- four door hatchback
Engines: 1.5L I-4
Transmissions: 4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual
Models: Sedan, Liftback

The five-door Liftback was introduced for 2009, giving the lineup three models. Otherwise, mechanically the 2011 Toyota Yaris is carryover from 2010. The Yaris sedan’s Blue Streak and Zephyr Blue and the Liftback’s Yellow Gold and Carmine Red were discontinued. Polar White has been replaced by Super White and Classic Silver replaces Silver Streak Mica. In the Yaris Liftback, an extension was added to the sunvisor.

The Toyota Yaris sedan resembles an itty-bitty Camry. Yaris hatchbacks are conservative, yet sporty-looking and ride on the shortest wheelbase in their class. Disc/drum brakes are standard on the Yaris, as are 14-inch steel wheels. A sport package is available in the Liftback.

All Yaris models seat five people, although fitting three rear passengers in the rear seat would be a bit of a challenge. Air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, electric power steering, 12-volt power port, and audio prep package are standard. Power locks, auxiliary jack, and rear window wiper are optional.

The Yaris’ 106-horsepower four gets the car from zero to 60 in 10.3 seconds, which is slower than the Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, and Nissan Versa. The Yaris went through the quarter mile in 17.8 seconds at 75.8 mph and stopped from 60 mph in 126 feet. Handling was somewhat disappointing and the Yaris had the slowest time in the figure eight course.

Dual front airbags, dual front side airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags are standard on the Yaris. So are ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, stability control, traction control, and tire-pressure monitoring.

Sedan, Liftback: 29 mpg city/35-36 mpg highway

  • Bargain price
  • Decent acceleration
  • Great braking
  • Versatile interior

  • Road noise
  • Four-speed automatic
  • Mediocre handling

Good price, dull drive

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  • Honda Fit
  • Nissan Versa
  • Chevrolet Cruze/Aveo

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