Built around the core concept of "pride of ownership" the Yaris is Toyota's 2007 entry into the competitive minicar market, which includes the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa. Toyota's previous offering for this level, the Toyota Echo, received lukewarm response by critics and in the marketplace. There are two different models of the Yaris, a 3-door liftback and a 4-door sedan, a 5-door hatchback is also available in Canada. Leveraging Toyota's massive resources the Sedan and Hatchback versions of the car were created by two entirely different teams, so while the specifics of the cars remain similar or even identical, the feel is quite distinct.
A 1.5 liter 4-cylinder engine powers the wheels achieving 106HP at 6000RPM. There are two transmission options: 5-speed manual, and 4-speed automatic. This engine is one of the most fuel efficient in the class with the Yaris achieving 34/40 MPG for city and highway driving respectively.
Despite the Yaris' small exterior, Toyota has designed the interior to accommodate full sized adults and their belongings relatively comfortably. Passenger storage rests at 84.6 for the liftback and slightly larger for the sedan. Storage space is 12.8, and 12.9 cubic feet for the liftback and sedan respectively. With the optional packages, the rear seats become flatly foldable 60/40 split which increases storage capacity to 25.7 and 13.5 cubic feet respectively.
Standard features include a four speaker radio/CD stereo system, front airbags, air conditioning, and tilt steering. ABS brakes, and side torso and side curtain air bags are all optional. The sedan includes a few more features standard over the hatchback including 6-way adjustable driver's seats, and child protector rear door locks. The S Sedan model is simply the normal Sedan with some optional features already included, such as a rear spoiler and 15 inch wheels instead of 14 inch.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings (IIHS)
Front crash test - Good
Side impact test (with optional airbags) - Good
Side impact test (no optional airbags) - Poor
National Highway Safety Traffic Association (NHTSA)
Front crash driver's side - 4 stars
Front crash passenger's side - 4 stars
Side crash front seat - 3 stars
Side crash rear seat - 3 stars