The Toyota Yaris, which uncannily resembles the Toyota Vitz, has made its way onto the list of most popular Toyota cars this season. But what exactly do we know about the Toyota Yaris and what makes it tick?
The current second-generation Toyota Yaris debuted in the 2012 model year. Compared to the first-generation model, the latest Yaris is about 3 inches longer, and that stretch has been utilized to provide more luggage space. With this Yaris you also get a restyled interior, improved driving feel and additional convenience and safety features. Since that 2012 debut, only minor changes to feature content have taken place.
The first-generation (U.S. market) Toyota Yaris was sold from 2007-’11. It came as a two-door hatchback, a four-door hatchback or a four-door sedan. Toyota made a serious effort to differentiate the sedan from the hatchbacks. As such, it features a different instrument panel, was almost 20 inches longer and has a longer wheelbase. This meant more room for rear passengers, though the hatchbacks did offer an optional adjustable rear seat, which slid fore and aft to increase passenger or cargo space as needed.
All these Yaris models were powered by a 1.5-liter, 106-hp four-cylinder engine that drove the front wheels through either a five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic. Either way, the Yaris delivered excellent fuel economy. Apart from air-conditioning, standard equipment was fairly sparse. Option highlights included a Sport package that added styling tweaks, 15-inch wheels, fog lights, iPod integration and sport seats.
These Yaris models offered an adequate driving experience. The steering was light for easy parking maneuvers, and the turning circle was tight. The engine was peppy enough, though off-the-line acceleration can be sluggish with the automatic transmission.
Changes throughout the years were very minimal in terms of styling, features and powertrains. But anyone considering a used Yaris should note that models prior to ’09 may not feature side curtain airbags and antilock brakes, as they were optional for the first two years. For 2010, stability control became standard and the S trim level was eliminated in favor of the optional Sport package.
So, if you’re ever in doubt for what to buy as your first car, the Toyota Yaris is a really good bet.
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