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2008 Toyota Yaris

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2008 Toyota Yaris Review

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Fresh from its U.S. debut last year (after a successful eight-year stint in Japan and Europe), the 2008 Toyota Yaris continues as Toyota's subcompact value leader. Unlike its other vehicles that first launch outside the U.S., Toyota decided to keep the Yaris name across all global markets. The Yaris replaced the Toyota Echo as the smallest and least expensive vehicle in the Toyota brand lineup with two distinctly different Yaris models; the Sedan and the three-door Liftback. Of the two, the Liftback's exterior makes the more expressive design statement and, although the sedan is nearly 19 inches longer, both vehicles share the same chassis, engine and drivetrain.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you trust Toyota for reliability and are in the market for a tiny subcompact, the 2008 Yaris fits the bill. You might also need to be open to a few curious looks on the street---the Yaris sports a distinctively "Euro" design.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you like more conventional styling or have a penchant for performance driving, the 2008 Toyota Yaris will not meet your needs. It's a simple, four-cylinder economy model with a whimsical design---not a sporty performer by any stretch.

What's New for 2008

The sport-themed Liftback S joins the Yaris lineup, featuring color-keyed front and rear bumper spoilers, sport seat fabric, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, rear defroster, rear wiper and an AM/FM/CD player with MP3/WMA capability and universal mini-jack port.

Driving the Yaris

Driving Impressions The four-cylinder engine of the Yaris has Toyota's variable valve-timing system (known as VVT-i) and dual overhead camshafts and is rated at 106 horsepower. There is a light, almost effortless...

feel to the Yaris in steering and during moderate acceleration; however, the engine seems strained when asked to deliver more. With this relatively small engine we found the Yaris a little lacking in performance when traveling at 60 mph-plus speeds on the highways. This is a shortcoming for Toyota since one of the main competitors---the Honda Fit---has a few more horses (109 horsepower to Yaris' 106) and is much more fun to drive. This kind of subtle difference may not impact you but, if you're in any way interested in quickness and responsiveness, the Yaris might fail to impress.

Flexible Seat Adjustments
The Yaris Sedan provides four-way adjustable front seats and fold-down rear seats that provide nearly 13 cubic feet of cargo space.

Roomy Cabin
The Yaris boasts the largest wheelbase in the subcompact arena. This is most noticeable in the interior leg and head room in both front and back seats.

2008 Toyota Yaris Details
Interior

The 2008 Toyota Yaris Sedan and Liftback share many things, but the instrument panel is where they part ways. Both vehicles have the center-stacked "waterfall" type gauges borrowed from the Lexus design philosophy. The disconcerting aspect is that at night there are no gauges or little lights in front of you, causing you to have to turn your head slightly to the right (and thus take your eyes away from the road) to look at, for example, the speedometer. This design has become a cost-savings device among international vehicles, because it allows easy production changes when the driver's side is placed on one side or the other depending upon where the car is being sold. Another unusual trait of the Yaris interior is that the waterfall gauge panel provides a bit of a "cave" section behind it, allegedly providing storage space. This oddly-sized space might allow for balancing a small map, but anything more sizable would be precariously perched. Overall, however, the interiors of both the Sedan and Liftback seem roomier than you'd expect for the sizes of the vehicles.

Exterior

The most pronounced difference between the Yaris Liftback and the Yaris Sedan is that the Sedan is nearly 19 inches longer . Though the two vehicles share a slight family resemblance, their individual styles are miles apart. Of the two, the Yaris Liftback has the more unusual exterior styling, with a pronounced short front overhang and an exaggerated "bulldog" stance. As slight as the front end seems, the wide flat-back design of the hatch door appears solid and substantial, providing a low, easy opening to the cargo area. The mesh grille treatment on the Liftback version further differentiates its exterior look from the slat-grille design of the Sedan. The four-door Yaris Sedan styling seems rather traditional at first glance. It, too, has the short sloping overhang in front but the traditional sedan look is evident by the high arch of the roofline and windows that helps provide decent head room for those in the back seat.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In this, the least-expensive segment of them all, the idea is to get the advertised price as low as possible, so the standard equipment list is usually short. This is especially true in the case of the Toyota Yaris. For instance, on the base Yaris model, no radio of any sort is included as standard equipment and, on all models, front-side and side-curtain airbags are optional. To be fair, the standard list does include driver and front passenger airbags, air conditioning, power steering, tilt steering wheel and color-keyed mirrors and door handles. More notably, the Yaris Sedan offers four-way adjustable front seats with driver's seat height adjustment, something not usually found in the subcompact segment.

Optional Equipment

Notable on the Yaris' list of options are keyless entry and a rear window defogger, both of which are standard on some competitors. A simple solution to getting the basic features you probably want (on the Sedan) is to add the Convenience Package, which includes an AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability and auxiliary input jack, 60/40 split folding rear seat, 15-inch wheels with full wheel covers and rear defroster; and/or the comprehensive Power Package, which includes anti-lock brakes, an upgraded sound system and interior, alloy wheels, cruise control and power door locks, windows and mirrors. Those two packages are slightly different for the Liftback models. Individual options include front-side and front and rear side-curtain airbags and anti-lock brakes.

Under the Hood

The Yaris Sedan and Liftback share the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), producing 106 horsepower. This is enough power to tool around town, but maybe not enough to take a chance at passing a Mack truck on a two-way highway with an oncoming car in sight.

1.5-liter in-line 4
106 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
103 lb.-ft of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/36 (manual), 29/35 (automatic)

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2008 Toyota Yaris Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 768 Ratings for the 2007 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Great little car with lots of room inside.

By on Monday, August 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Price. Reliablity. Mileage. Lots of storage places"

Cons: "Bad in wind. No cruise control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My Wife bought this car new and I have been driving it almost 5 years now. Other than tires, gas and oil changes I have spent very little on repairs. I did need water pump at 80,000 (I idle car the for the Heat and AC while on lunch and work breaks). I replaced the front breaks 60,000 and just replaced them again at 95,000. The pads, rotors and water pump were very inexpensive, and labor was semi easy. Handling, speed, and ride are what you would expect for a car with such a small engine. For a daily driver or grocery getting it is perfect. I drive it 60 miles a day and it has never let me down. The belt does get noisy when worn or loose if you are running the defrost or A/C. It is fine in snowy weather if you don't drive 75 miles an hour. The biggest problem is wind. It handles terrible in wind. Once you get used to it, it is manageable. I would buy another. I am a large man and I have plenty of room as driver or passenger."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Bought this baby brand new almost 8 years ago

By on Thursday, August 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 210,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "reliability, cost of maintenance, fun"

Cons: "cup holder is in a weird spot."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car with less than 10 miles on it. I have over 200k now. This is seriously one of the most reliable vehicles I have ever owned, or heard of anyone owning. The most work that has been done on this, aside from the usual oils change and tire changes, was a couple years ago I went and got it a tune up. Not because it needed one, but because I felt I should do SOMETHING to this car. I felt that I had it for over 5 years and did nothing to it, so I did. Cost me less than $200. That is all I spent on this car in 8 years. It still rides like brand new. No engine issues. Simply put, this car is great and I love this car!"

A reliable vehicle, that has basic features.

By on Wednesday, August 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 148,274

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, small and gets great gas mileage"

Cons: "A few cosmic issues, windshield fluids leaks"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"This car gets fantastic gas mileage! Which is always a plus in this economy. The car has a few cosmetic issues, mainly on the front right side. The car runs smooth, its extremely reliable, and the air conditioner is fully functional. It's a semi-smooth ride, you can feel bumps only because its low to the ground. It comes with a spare tire, and the jack in case of emergencies. The CD player works, and also comes with an auxiliary port, that is sadly in a very awkward spot. It seats 5 people. There is a crack in the windshield. The fan belt does squeak when the defrost and AC first start-up."

A great dependable small car!

By on Wednesday, August 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,076

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "fun to drive, 40 + mpg"

Cons: "rides like a red rider wagon"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This has been a very dependable car, no troubles for 7 years, and still gets 40 plus mpg in rural driving!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Like it a lot but

By on Sunday, August 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "price, easy to drive, convenient with split back"

Cons: "Not quiet on noisy surfaces"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Main current problem is peeling paint, pretty much all over. Another driver of same model, year and color thinks it was defective paint. I wish it had cruise control, but that is because of a personal knee problem I have, would have preferred 4 doors, guests have trouble getting in and out."

I love my baby yaris

By on Sunday, August 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great gas mileage, deceptively roomy, adorable"

Cons: "few blind spots, doesn't handle strong winds well"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

sweet baby yaris

"This is seriously the greatest car. It's works like a dream, it's deceptively roomy, and it's cute as a button. I have owned my car since 2008, and I still love it like the day I bought it. My only complaints about my car are that there are terrible blind spots due to the design, and that the year I bought my car, only the 2 door hatchback was available (4 door hatch would have been more convenient). Other than those, I completely love it. I recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable, long lasting car. You can't go wrong with a Toyota!"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

sweet baby yaris

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