First introduced to the market in 2007, the Toyota Yaris has done a lot to raise the bar for entry-level subcompact economy cars. In a class typically characterized by cheap build and unremarkable design, the Yaris stands out as a stylish, quality vehicle with a lot to offer.
The main selling point for the Toyota Yaris is its incredible fuel economy. While most economy subcompacts struggle in this area, the Yaris blows away the competition with an admirable 32 mpg combined. Along with all the benefits to be reaped at the pump, the 2008 Yaris offers the best in Toyota-quality construction, competent performance, and a stylishly modern design. With such a great combination of economy, quality, and style, the Yaris is one car that any shopper on a budget will want to consider. The smallest car in the Toyota lineup, the 2008 Yaris is offered in two body styles: the original four-door sedan, and the new, sporty three-door hatchback.
Body Styles: hatchback, sedan
Engines: 1.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Yaris Base, Yaris S
The Yaris was introduced in 2007 as a compact four-door coupe. Toyota expands the lineup for 2008 with the addition of the sporty ""S"" hatchback, which includes 15-inch wheels, front and rear spoilers, a CD/MP3 player, and a number of other upgrades shared with the S sedan.
The 2008 Toyota Yaris is offered in two body styles: a four-door sedan and a three-door hatchback. Both styles feature a short, rounded profile with simple but modern styling. With a full length of 150.6 inches on the hatchback and 169.3 inches on the sedan, the Yaris is the smallest car offered by Toyota. The new ""S"" hatchback provides larger 15-inch wheels, as well as body-color front and rear spoilers. Standard exterior features for all models include a front air dam, steel wheels, and interval wipers. Optional equipment includes power windows, power adjustable mirrors, alloy wheels, mud guards, and foglights.
Even as one of the smallest subcompacts on the market, the Yaris sedan offers a reasonably roomy cabin for its size with a space-efficient design. With three fewer inches on the wheelbase, the hatchback is a little tighter inside. To make the most of what space it has, the hatchback provides optional sliding and reclining rear seats. The dashboard layouts for the sedan and hatchback are quite different, though both have centrally located instrumentation. The hatchback also makes an effort to maximize its space with a third glove box located behind the steering wheel.
Other standard features for all models include air-conditioning, a tire pressure monitor, and tachometer. Most other features, including a radio, CD player, and cruise control, are provided as options.
Performance & Handling
All 2008 Yaris models are powered by a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, rated at 106 horsepower and 103 lb-ft of torque. The standard manual five-speed transmission provides decent acceleration, though the optional four-speed automatic tends to struggle a bit. The Yaris’s main attraction is its outstanding fuel economy; it’s easily one of the most fuel-efficient economy cars on the market for 2008.
With its electronic power steering, the Toyota Yaris offers a light touch and easy maneuvering, with an overall solid driving experience. The four-cylinder engine may be on the small side, but it provides more than enough oomph with the manual transmission. While certainly not the most powerful car on the road, the Yaris does have plenty of midrange strength for confident highway driving.
For a car at such a low price point, the standard safety offerings are unsurprisingly slim. The only standard equipment is driver and passenger airbags and child safety door locks. The list of optional safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes, vehicle anti-theft, keyless entry, front-seat-mounted side airbags, and side curtain airbags. The 2008 Yaris earned four out of five stars in government testing for frontal impact protection and three stars for both front and rear occupants without the optional side airbags. The hatchback scored higher than the sedan with five stars given for driver protection. The IIHS gives the Yaris its highest rating of ""good"" for front collisions and side collisions with the optional airbags, but a ""poor"" rating without.
EPA Fuel Economy
Toyota Yaris: 29/36 mpg city/highway
- Great fuel economy
- High-quality interior
- Multifunctional rear seat with the hatchback
You Won't Like
- Poor acceleration with automatic transmission
- Few standard safety features
- Awkward seating
Hard to beat in terms of fuel economy.
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