CleanMPG Previews the 2011 Toyota Yaris

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, Sep 10, 2010.


What type of write-up was this?

  1. Preview of the 11 Yaris?

    0 vote(s)
  2. Review of the 11 Yaris?

    1 vote(s)
  3. A Roast of the 11 Yaris?

    9 vote(s)
  4. Something entirely different?

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  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] While long in the tooth, the Yaris can still meet the needs of a younger first time buyer… Just not me.

    [fimg=right][/fimg]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 :ccry: 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 :confused:), 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 :mad:

    And wait until you read about the $2,845 (2010 price) Sport Package :rolleyes: 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.

    [fimg=left] [/fimg]2010 Toyota Yaris - 5-door Hatch

    Exterior Design

    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.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  2. JusBringIt

    JusBringIt Be Inspired

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    Wayne, that was one hell of a read :). I must say I read every word...which is usually not the case when it comes to reviews, but the way you did that held me through the entire thing...twice! I thnk that just wiped the yaris clean off my radar.
  3. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    "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."

    If you keep both cars for 10 years, how does the stripper Versa compare?.. supposedly it can handle 6ft drivers. The looks grow on you also.
  4. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    Great review! I agree, the 'option' nonsense is ridiculous, welcome to 1979!!! Toyota needs to look within. My 2006 xB came with almost all of the Yaris "options" as standard equipment, for its $14K price. For what i would have to pay for a moderately equipped Yaris, i would rather just buy a Corolla. I have not been in the latest gen, but i have driven my sons 2007 Corolla and found it to be a superb car for the $$. It does not look or feel cheap.
  5. dr61

    dr61 Well-Known Member

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    I rented one last year on a trip to the DC area. Got good fuel consumption in town, but the highway handling characteristics were extremely substandard. I'm used to the rock-solid feel and superb handling of our Mini and VW on the highway.
  6. bnther

    bnther Well-Known Member

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    I've got a 2007 Yaris sedan 5-speed and I'm fairly happy with it. The wife and I have taken a few road trips with it and I'll admit that it's not as nice as her 09 Rav, but then the Rav doesn't get 40mpg+ either. I love it in the tight parking ramps and the seats seem to sit higher than any of the other compacts that I test drove. I bought mine at roughly $14,500 with the convenience package and thought that it was a pretty good deal.

    I don't know why the Yaris always seems to get such bad reviews. The wife and I have gone through 8 new cars in the last 13 years and I can honestly say that the Yaris is pretty good little car. It's not a 4WD, but it gets me around comfortably and has given me a best of 48.664mpg. Hasn't given me a bit of grief in the time that I've owned it, which is more than I can say about some of the American cars that I've owned.

    Can't really think of anything negative about the car...other than the fact that I still miss my Jeep (fun to drive -- horrible at feeding the oil barons!)
  7. RichXKU

    RichXKU Well-Known Member

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    That writeup was a bit harsh, but I can't disagree with it. I drove a Yaris before buying my Fit. The Fit is more fun to drive by leaps and bounds, and the magic seats cinched it.
  8. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    The Versa's maintenance costs will eat you alive compared to the Yaris, not to mention the higher fuel consumption. I really like the Versa, but have been disappointed to see it getting worse-than-average to average reliability ratings from Consumer Reports. Although it's at the high end of the range, if I had to purchase a 5-door gas hatchback it would probably be the Matrix, with the Fit coming in second.
  9. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    I think the write up was just saying "Meh." Fair enough. Next year will bring the new version. I hope they have something special coming. (Not just an unavailable hybrid).
  10. Yaris Hilton

    Yaris Hilton Half a Bubble Off Plumb

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    You're entitled to your opinion about the center instrument pod, which I like much better than the usual position, but you're wrong about the reason for it. The dashboard is NOT symmetrical and usable for both right and left hand drives. The instrument pod is also tilted toward the driver and not symmetrical. That was more obviously visible on the Echo as the shroud over the pod was angled, which it is not on the Yaris. You have to study it closely to realize it is angled. The decision was made to place it there for other reasons. I find it gives a wonderfully unobstructed view ahead, and it takes less eye diversion to check the instruments than to look at the center rear view mirror, quite a bit less than to look at either side mirror. Do you really want to stare at your instruments while driving?

    I'm quite fond of my 2009 Yaris sedan and wouldn't trade it straight up for any of its competitors brand new, if anyone wanted to make me such an offer. I'm 6'3" and weighed about 267 before leaving on my beach trip (I probably don't want to weigh right now), and had a comfortable 400 mile drive down here averaging 43+ MPG while crossing the Appalachian Mountains and maintaining mostly 70 MPH Interstate speed limits. No "hypermiling." Is it perfect? No, I could find a few little things to niggle about. But I sure am happy with it. It does exactly what I need it to do, and is quite economical about it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2010
  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: 2011 Yaris – Safety Additions are Always Welcome but Little Else Make It Stand Ou

    Hi Yaris Hilton:

    I waited for the last two years for you to write the review but it failed to materialize... Regarding the center pod, as mentioned, place that in the Camry and Camry's sales will no longer lead automobile sales in this country and it would probably bankrupt the company. Toyota did it for cost and the Yaris owner is the one who paid the price :(

    Regarding the beach trip, we should have traded cars… My Accord would have offered you a far more comfortable ride and probably close to the same efficiency if not better! Fortunately, the Yaris does not cost much up front if the packages are left out and it is miserly... But so is everything else nowadays. There is a bit more than just a few nits that need to be fixed on the Yaris and we can only hope the US generation -II will see all of these nits cured. Right now, they are not.

    Finally at 43 mpg, you were hypermiling as that is beating the EPA.

  12. Yaris Hilton

    Yaris Hilton Half a Bubble Off Plumb

    The popularity of other Toyotas with instruments in the common position in front of the driver is immaterial to my point. Look at the dash of any Yaris or Echo and show me the panels that are symmetrical. They're not there. It's something the Toyota design teams (there were separate ones for the liftback and sedan, which are different car lines outside of North America) decided to do for another reason, whether it was for a functional purpose or just to be "different." I happen to like it. It's not the first automobile to have centered instruments, there are plenty of examples to be found in every generation back to the horseless carriage era. Anyway, you're not the first to get the reason for it wrong, your comment was an echo (ha, ha) of one in every writeup about these cars I've seen since the 2000 model came out. :)
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Yaris Hilton:

    It was to bring the instrument bus in the same locations across Continents which saves money. Irrelevant? Not a chance as nobody including Toyota's more expensive and mainstream offerings place your primary instruments in the center of the dash.

    Good Luck

  14. Yaris Hilton

    Yaris Hilton Half a Bubble Off Plumb

    OK, that makes sense about standardizing the instrument bus layout, rather than the dash panels. So just say so.

    Anyway, I like it there. :)
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Yaris Hilton:

    While my daughter-in-law did not like them located in the center at first, she got used to it and it feels funny to her to drive a car with the instruments directly in front now!

  16. pcs0snq

    pcs0snq Well-Known Member

    one word...FIT
  17. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

  18. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Much of my negative "opinions" with regards to the 2011 Yaris have been fixed in the 2012 and it came just in time too! While I have not driven the 2012, the center mounted stack, the tighter suspension and edgier exterior body panels go a long ways to making the Yaris a main stream sub-compact competitor. How it will fare in the consumer marketplace is something we are watching closely with the monthly sales reports.


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