Not the best, except where it counts
Toyota made a very smart move by introducing the Echo Hatchback in Canada for the 2004 model year. Sales picked up immediately and the Echo, which was also available in sedan configuration, dominated the subcompact category in sales.
With the growing number of small cars on the market today, the Yaris is in for a tough battle. Even Ford will soon bring its new Fiesta in Canada. In 2007, though, Toyota moved over 34,000 Yaris units out the door, which is about as much as the Nissan Versa and Honda Fit combined.
Young and dynamic appearance
Already in its third model year, the Yaris is aging well. Its almost-futuristic shape, with its cookie-sheet sized hood, tall headlights and sloping waistline is nice to look at.
Inside, the heating and ventilation controls are grouped in a triangle formation is appreciated by everyone from a styling standpoint, but their operation is simple. The flip-up cupholders are smartly located on each end of the dashboard, instead of in the narrow floor console.
As for display panel located in the middle of the dashtop, it doesn't really bother me; you look for it during the first day behind the wheel, but you get used to it afterwards. Above the steering wheel is a storage box. The radio sounds okay but can't read MP3 files, and its visual appearance could be better.
The seats offer an honest level of comfort, despite lacking a little lateral support. In back, two adults will find enough space to be at ease. With the car's high roofline, headroom is obviously not a problem. The big glass surfaces allow for great visibility.
106 horsepower isn't anyway to brag about, but the 1.5-liter 4-cylinder is sufficient for pulling the Yaris and four occupants around at normal speeds. After all, 20 years ago the Camry had only 115 horses and nobody complained.
More important than pure speed in a Yaris is fuel economy. My average of 8.1 L/100 km reflects a mix and city and highway driving, and is a result that I find is pretty good.
On the highway, however, the cockpit isn't as soundproofed as the Camry's, so engine and wind noise infiltrates into the cabin.
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2008 Toyota Yaris Hatchback Specifications
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