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2008 Toyota Yaris

Overview
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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 729 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
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Surprisingly good car!!

By on Sunday, September 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great gas mileage, small car so easy to park"

Cons: "small engine"

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

"This car has really surprised me in terms of its reliability and operation. It has plenty of power and I get over 36 MPG driving it. While a lot of other Toyota brands have had several recalls in the last few years I can only think of 2 with the Yaris and they were relatively minor. I've been really impressed with the car since I first bought it. The dash is in the middle, and that takes some getting used to, but i like it as it allows me to put my GPS directly in front of me. Great, economical car."

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

My 2nd review. A very dependable and good car.

By on Thursday, September 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good acceleration, great MPG, Very reliable."

Cons: "Wish I had purchased a 4 door instead of a 2-door"

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

"This is my second review. I purchased a 2009 Yarris, 2-door hatchback new. I average about 35-36 mpg in the summer and 32-24 in the winter. I live in Southeast Ohio and the percent of my driving is about 70% hwy/30% city. My commute is mostly hilly roads. My son's GF owns a 2007 Yaris and gets about 50mpg. On a long trip I can get 42-45 mpg just straight highway at 70 mph. I really love this car. It's been very dependable and after almost 60,000 miles I've had no trouble with it. If you are looking for a car to get you from point A to point B this is a car you should consider. Small but only when you look at it from the outside. Inside you have more room than other mid-side cars that I've owned. Even the back has leg-room. My only beef would be if I had to do it over I would have gotten a 4-door. You can use both sides of the car to get in the back, but only the passenger seat moves forward to allow people to get back in. Normally it's just my wife and I anyone and we use it for work and going around town. Besides the gas mileage, it love how maneuverable. You can make a 180 degree turn in half the space as my Chevy Venture. I noticed some people complain it's not comfortable on long trips. I guess that depends on the individual and how long you drive. I can go 3 hours to visit my mother without a problem. Traveling two days to Yellowstone park may be another matter. My van is much more comfortable to take than the Yaris but I'm sure a Mercedes-Benz would be better than my van. The bottom line is this is the kind of car I want to own. Dependable, good gas mileage, and safety add-ons like front, side and head airbags. The car has lots of pep and doesn't drive like a small car usually does. I don't have power windows but I've dealt with the switch going bad at the most inconvenient times (like when it starts to rain and you can't roll them up) that I would rather not have them. No power locks. It does have a great AC and heater. The rear defroster works. I added cruise control right after I purchased the car and although I'm weary of off-brands due to a bad experience I had no problems with it. This is a bare bones car but it's a very good bare bones car. I would own another Yaris based on my experience and recommend this car to anyone who is looking for something to commute in."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Yaris proves dependable

By on Sunday, August 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Easy to park, fun to drive, reliable"

Cons: "interior, hub caps feel "cheap" and plastic"

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

"I have had the car since 2012 and was in a pinch to get a new car with a reasonable monthly payment with 3,000 down. The car took some getting used to because the interior did not compare with my previous Saturn Sedan. I have found the car to be reliable and fun to drive. The air was not pumping well when I bought it and needs to be checked, and I wish I would have had them address this with certification check. Car has extended warranty. I bought it, in part, because I liked the salesmen and was given the best interest rate around. I'm thinking of upgrading. Someone jabbed my fender and it was easily replaced. I like the fold down in the back and can pack it up for camping or other. The Yaris came recommended to me by a family who had one and traveled far to make the purchase. I recommend buying one with maximum air bag/safety features. In winter I can park in the smallest spaces or "half spaces" left by the snow removal trucks and that is pretty nice."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

reliable

By on Friday, August 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "reliable"

Cons: "slow"

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

"i bought the yaris new. may not have all the bells and whistles but after 80k have replaced one set of tires/wipers and that is all. has never seen the dealer."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Excellent vehicle! Value, MPG, Performance!

By on Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 211,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Excellent value, great performance and handling."

Cons: "Putting the 12V receptacle in the center console."

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

"I bought this car in March 2011 through a used car dealer affiliated with my credit union. It had 60,600 miles. In 3.5 years, I have driven it 150,000 miles as a courier vehicle, in town (70%) and on the highway (30%). The only thing I have had to replace was the battery (fall 2011); the rest has been regular maintenance (oil changes, tires, shocks, brake pads and shoes). This car has delivered everything I have asked of it (30-32 MPG in town, 38-40 highway). When I need to replace it, I am going to buy another Toyota (this car is my 3rd Toyota)."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

awsome car 40 mpg no problems except wheel bearing

By on Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "cheap to keep"

Cons: "seats arent very good"

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

"Bought my car new it is a great money saver 40 mpg super reliable only repairs have been wheel bearings but at 160000 miles it hasnt even gone through an exhaust yet.still the orig battery, 4 snow tires and she will go anywhere in the winter. i will buy another and recomend them highly not comfortable seats...for long trips its tough. but not paying the gas man is everything to my budget"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?