A sneaky little bastard, a tinny-tiny cutie, a big heart in a small body. While all those colorful words might be used to describe your favorite pet dog/cat/parrot, there’s no denying the fact that people love to give funny names to their cars, too. And if the car in question is a good-looking compact model, the like Toyota Yaris, something like that sticks with it forever. Now, I’ve said it a couple of times throughout my reviews/posts, but it’s a big enough topic to shed some light on over and over again: with the world economy crisis destroying pretty much every sector of business, the automobile industry included, you had to forget about fancy mid-size/full-size or entry-luxury vehicles and go with something that could fit that ridiculously thin wallet of yours. That’s why worldwide sales of full-size SUVs and sedans plunged to the bottom of bottoms. Come on, when there’s a living-breathing collapse, you can’t really think about buying a pricey car – what if you can’t handle the credit, you know? True, the most fortunate of us, the actors, the musicians, the athletes (the celebrities) can spend millions of dollars on the next Rolls-Royce Phantom, Bentley Mulsanne or Lamborghini Aventador, but we, the simple folks, don’t really know the first thing about that royal life, now do we? No, we don’t, and there’s no shame in it – absolutely none. If you’re making an honest living that means you know right from wrong.
Compact Cars – Rising On The Ashes Of The Market
However, with that said, we still love our comfort, efficiency, good looks and roomy interiors, and that’s why all the majors in the industry have been working 24/7, trying to find that perfect combination of affordable, attractive, mighty and sneaky to adjust to the new reality and to appeal to the suddenly-penniless shoppers. And that’s exactly where the compact cars come in, with the Yaris Toyota model right at the forefront of this new movement. A tiny vehicle like that was the best decision for the new markets all over the globe, and that’s why we got this huge flow of cuties “attacking” the dealerships. That’s the rule number one in big business: adjust to the new circumstances, cut on the production cost, cut on the profits, but do generate income. Back in the day (and by that I mean the ’80s-’90s) the automobile industry was in a far worse place than it is today – we had brand-new cars breaking down and “blowing themselves up”, and I’m not just talking about the low-budget models, but also the luxury vehicles. So, nobody could even imagine that an all-around solid, reliable and durable car like the modern-day Toyota Yaris hatchback could even exist. Well, times change, and we change along with them, right? Probably the biggest achievement of the 21st century, the most important accomplishment is “Cheap doesn’t mean bad anymore”. Sure, a car that comes with an under-20K price-tag can never match a Bugatti Veyron, but that’s not even the point.
Toyota Yaris – One Of The Best In The Segment
Speaking of tags, you’ll be pleased to learn that the 2016 Toyota Yaris price is more than fair and the entry-level 3-door L trim can be yours for just 14.9K. Now that’s a bargain, ladies and gentlemen, a true one. And, as you’ll learn pretty soon, it comes pretty-well packed, with all the necessary features and equipment to make you feel comfy, cozy and happy behind the wheel (or back in the rear seat chillin’). Now, fortunately for all of us, nothing lasts forever in this world, and the crisis did pass. They say another one is in order, but we’ll just have to live and see. As for the present day, people are back at spending big-time bucks on cars, going for the middle-class/entry-level luxury models, just like they used to do before the 2008 collapse. However, the compact cars never lost their appeal, and for those +/- 5 years they managed to “bite away” a pretty big piece of that tasty pie, one that they’ll never give back :). That’s right, even though our pockets are full again (or, at least, semi-full), people still find the market of compacts reasonable enough to at least consider. Now, if you take a look at several Toyota Yaris reviews, you’ll see that they all praise it for being maneuverable, nice-looking, easy in those corners, sneaky in those tight parking lots, efficient enough and pretty tech-packed to be worth your while. And it’s called one of the best in the segment, a class-leader, and that’s why I wanna tell you guys about its history, the roots and everything. Believe me, it’s got might roots in the American soil.
Great Resale Value And Affordable At The Same Time
If you’re up for a compact car, check out my article and learn about all the greatest ones out there. I’ve got the Yaris, the Prius and the Corolla from Toyota, as well as the world-famous Volkswagen Golf, Mazda’s 2 and 6 models, Chevy’s Cruze, and more. It all comes down to your own personal needs and taste, so, again, have a look. So, what do we have today? We have the leaders of the old days, including the Camry/Accord, Prius/Leaf, RAV4/Explorer and the rest of the bunch getting their year-end sales numbers back on track, plus, the brand-new segment of compact cars is still one of the most popular ones among the American customers, and that’s what I call getting the best of the two worlds. Before we get on with my Toyota Yaris review, let’s talk about a few important things that you might miss or just not think of next time you arrive at your local dealership looking to buy a compact car. First things first, if you want to play it out smart (I bet you do), you’ll have to consider the resale value a certain model has (or, rather, will have in 3 to 5 years), because, chances are, you’ll get tired/bored with it or the new circumstances will force you to switch your compacter with a different vehicle, like maybe a mid-size sedan or a mid-size crossover SUV to accommodate your big family. So, when that day comes and you put your Toyota Yaris for sale, you’ll be more than pleased to learn that it’s pretty strong on the market of used cars. If you wanna learn more, check my post and get back at me.
Going For A Certified Car Vs Buying From A Private Seller
In addition, talking about selling your pre-owned car, let’s see your options if you decide to buy a used car, not sell one: believe it or not, buying is actually as much of a serious task as selling, and, if you lose your guard, something bad might happen. In order not to let that happen, I’d strongly recommend purchasing the model from a Toyota dealership. This way you’ll be 100% sure that you’re paying for a solid vehicle that will serve you for a very long time. Furthermore, if you go with a Certified car, you’ll get at least a year-long warranty. True, it would cost you more, but I’d say go for it. On the other hand, if you want to go to the “private sector” and get your new steel horse from a private seller, you better keep it steady and don’t let the owner fool you. Considering the fact that the ultimate trim – the 5-Door SE – costs 16.9K (that’s the brand-new model), it’s no surprise that the Toyota Yaris used price will be quite affordable. Go see the car for yourself and don’t forget that if you are about to let go of your hard-earned bucks, a proper Toyota Yaris test drive is a must, otherwise you’ll be buying a pig in a poke. Ok, I believe that’s all the “field info” you’ll need for a successful purchase/sale. Learn about all the available options, keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to say “No”, even if the guy seems like a nice fella and you don’t wanna disappoint him. Remember – it will be you driving the car for the next 3, 5, 10 or even more years, not him. Get it? Ok, now we can get on with the story. Open your books!
The First Generation – Something New For The Market (1999-2005)
Question: did you know that “Yaris” comes from “Charis”, “the singular form of Charites”, as Wikipedia puts it, the Goddess of charm and beauty from Ancient Greece? What can I say – there’s enough charm in the Toyota hatch, and beauty has always been a part of the company’s line-up. And, before we begin, I want to tell y’all that today we, the Americans, have the Yaris nameplate at our local dealerships; back in the day, it used to be called the Toyota Echo, while in Japan they know it as the Vitz. So, due to the fact that the majority of our readers are from the United States, I’ll keep the focus on the North-American edition, but I promise you – nothing important from the other markets will pass by me, rest assured. Essentially, they’re all the same car, the same Toyota Yaris model, with minor differences here and there to keep it all interesting. Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s proceed. What we’re talking about is a subcompact car, produced by the big T since 1999 (yep, the 20th century). Initially, it was just a replacement for the outdated Starlet, but, over the years, it managed to grow into something truly amazing. It’s a 3-/5-door hatchback, currently in its third generation. Fun fact: as of 2010, the first 2 gens sold 1.4 million units in Japan, while the worldwide market (it includes over 70 countries) moved 3.5 million units. Tell me you’re not impressed – I know I am!
Vitz, Platz, Echo And Yaris – Same Model, Different Names
Judging by consumer reports Toyota Yaris is the real deal (and I don’t mean the organization, I mean the reports from the ordinary folks, the shoppers). So, the first generation was designed at Toyota’s ED2 studio in Europe, with mass production starting late 1998. The Japanese market received the first “live” units in 1999 (January); the Europeans got it 2 months later, under the name of “Yaris”. Over in Australia and Canada, they used the name “Echo”. Sales in Australia began in October 1999, while the Canadian dealerships started selling the compact car only in 2003. I know it sounds a bit confusing, but it’s actually not. The “Echo” and “Yaris” nameplates were also given to the export models of the Toyota Platz sedan, which was available as a coupe here in the US. The two were often standing at the dealerships side by side (and marketed as a single line-up), and that’s no wonder because both editions (or, rather, models) were constructed upon the same platform. The dashboard is identical and the mechanical parts are almost 100% copies of each other. As for the Verso MPV, it was powered by the same powertrain as the Vitz, but offered a roomier interior. So, yeah, you could say that the Toyota Yaris range was quite a large one. Fun fact: in the very first year of stepping onto the market this cutie won the Car of the Year Japan Award – not bad for a new-comer, right?
The Funtime Project And Safety Ratings
The XP10 series (that’s the first gen) was first introduced to the world as a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997. The concept was titled “Funtime” and Shuhei Toyoda was the leader of the project. The Fun project included two other models, and it was styled and designed by Toyota’s EPOC team in Europe. Bottom line is, this project turned out to be quite capable and later it became the foundation for the Vitz/Yaris line-up. So, now you know that of all the cars for sale Toyota Yaris has gone through some serious stages before going “on stage”. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, because the majors in the game do this constantly, in order to develop the perfect model for mass production. As for the safety ratings, Euro NCAP crash-tested the dual-airbag packed XP10 in 2000, and the car earned 29 points out of 37 for adult occupant protection (that’s 4 stars out of 5). On the other hand, that same year Monash University’s test revealed that the model provides poor protection for the driver in the event of an accident. As mentioned above, the Vitz was not available in the North-American region until 2003 – that’s when the Echo arrived on the Canadian market as a 2004 model. Before that only the sedan was available. The 3-/5-door hatchback was introduced in Canada only because the coupe/sedan had better sales over there, as compared to the US. The hatchback was offered in 4 trim levels, with the LE being the entry-level trim, the CE being the low-budget edition, available with 3 doors only, and the RS being available only as a 5-door car with aluminum alloy wheels, sport seats, an aero package and more. Alright, that’s it for the first gen – let’s move on to the second one!
The Second Generation – Going For World Domination (2005-2010)
For the second gen, Toyota redesigned the Vitz and sent it to the Japanese dealerships in February 2005. The new model was designed at the ED2 design studios. As for the Platz, it was replaced by a new sedan, the Belta (designed at a Japanese studio), which had a lot in common with the Vitz, including the drivetrain components and the frame, but the sheet metal was different. Here in the United States and in Australia, the second-gen Vitz was marketed as a “Yaris” for the first time in history. The mass-production model for the American market was shown at the 2006 Los-Angeles Auto Show. The old VVT-i-equipped 4-cylinder engine was replaced by a 3-cyl unit that was also powering the friendly Aygo. The 1.3-lit engine was updated for a stronger output, while the 1.4-lit D4-D received a 15HP+ boost to 90HP. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but for a subcompact car 90 Horses are more than enough to enjoy the road. With the 2007 Toyota Yaris, the Japanese major launched the RS edition. It was first introduced at the Geneva Motor Show and had a 1.5-lit 4-cylinder under the hood, good for 107BHP and 100 pound-feet of torque. It also featured 16-inch (alloy) wheels, a stylish grille with an “RS” upfront, redesigned front/rear bumpers, taillights, a rear spoiler, and deeper side skirts. As for the drivetrain, this hot hatch boasted sporty suspension and steering. By the way, folks really love to talk about the Toyota Corolla Yaris competition, but I’m not a fan of that, because, truth is, you can’t really compare this two, especially today when the first car is a sedan and the 2nd is a hatchback.
Big Recalls And A Unique 2011 Toyota Yaris For The Chinese Market
On the North-American and European markets, it’s known as the Yaris TS. The 2009 Toyota Yaris in Europe was available with a 1.33-lit engine, packed with the Stop And Start tech. Plus, it became the first model in the segment to come with 9 airbags. Furthermore, with the 2010 Toyota Yaris, the company introduced a minor facelift, with tiny updates to the front bumper and the tail-lights. Fact: in 2009 (January) the company recalled as much as 1.28 million cars worldwide that were constructed upon the Yaris platform, due to a defect with the seat belt, which, in the event of severe front-end collisions, was most likely to cause a foam pad in the car to ignite. In Japan the 2nd-gen model is still called the Vitz (I guess they got kinda used to the name). It is offered in 4 editions – B, F, I and RS. The engine line-up goes from a 1.0-lit unit to a 1.5-lit unit. By the way, with the 2008 Toyota Yaris the subcompact was greenlit in China, with production and marketing starting that same year. Engine-wise, the Chinese folks had a choice between a 1.3-lit and a 1.6-lit (with dual VVT-i) unit. And check this out: in order to boost sales in the country, GAC-Toyota (responsible for the 2008 launch) designed a Chinese market-exclusive 2011 Toyota Yaris, which featured an extended body (with a new length of 3915 millimeters) and a unique chrome grille. It’s actually common practice to offer different variations of the same model in different markets. For example, the Taurus full-size sedan from Ford is also much longer in China.
The North-American Model
By the way, the second generation was truly a worldwide release, as it was available not only in North-America, Europe, Australia, Japan and, as we just learned, China, but also in Indonesia (it was launched in 2006, ten years ago, and they got the Toyota Yaris TRD), Malaysia, Singapore (also launched back in 2006) and Thailand. Quite a geo-friendly vehicle, don’t you think? So, you’ll be able to buy a Toyota Yaris in pretty much every corner of the world, and that’s awesome! With the second gen, we officially got the new Yaris, as opposed to the Echo we used to drive back in the day. The three-door edition is called the Yaris liftback, while the five-door edition became available only with the Toyota Yaris 2009 model and was the biggest rival to the friendly Scion xD. The 2008 edition came packed with a 1.5-lit VVT-i engine that was capable of 106 Horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque, paired to a 5-speed manual transmission (with a 4-speed automatic being also available as an optional feature). As for the Toyota Yaris MPG, the third generation returned 36 miles per gallon on the highway and 29MPG in the city, and while front airbags were standard (that’s mandates by the US law, so, there was no way around it), side airbags and ABS were optional equipment. At the end of the day, it was an awesome pick for any customer who was looking for a low-budget vehicle on the market of subcompact cars with a solid reputation and class-leading reliability.
The Toyota Yaris RS And The Canadian Edition
The Canadian hatchback model was pretty similar to the American Yaris, available both in 3-door and 5-door configurations and packing the same 1.5-lit engine under the hood. The three-door CE and the five-door LE trim levels featured 14-inch wheels, while the RS edition featured 15-inch (alloy) wheels, electronic brakeforce distribution, ABS (that stands for the anti-lock braking system, by the way), and more. Plus, the Toyota Yaris 2008 RS boasted brand-new front/rear skirts. A year later, in 2009, the 5-door liftback joined the 4-door sedans and 3-door liftbacks to meet the increased demand in fuel-efficient subcompact vehicles. Furthermore, from this edition on all the Yaris cars came standard with ABS, front/rear curtain side and front seat-mounted side airbags. The 2010 edition was available with Vehicle Stability/Traction Control, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist. And the one thing that all the critics seem to praise is the Toyota Yaris mileage, which is truly exceptional. However, it was scolded for its excessive body roll, mainly due to the soft suspension. Other than that, I’d say the Japanese giant made huge progress with the second generation and put the model on the pedestal, thanks to meticulous work with every single market and listening to the customer feedback for the 5-year-long journey. With that said, let’s see what the 3rd, the current gen has in stores for us, shall we?
The Third Generation
The 3rd gen was introduced in mid-2010 with a redesigned front end and a more upscale and spacious interior. The European model can be paired to a six-speed manual transmission (for the 1.33-lit engine), or a continuously variable one, which is often called the MultiDrive S. The manufacturing plant in France started working on the new-gen Yaris for export to the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. When the 2012 Toyota Yaris was launched, the company recalled 7.4 million (!!!) cars worldwide – the Vitz, Yaris, and Corolla – due to flaws with the power windows. Of that 7.4mil, 2.47 cars were recalled in America, 1.4 in China and 1.4 in Europe. At the same time, official sales in Japan started in 2010 (December 22nd, to be exact), while the other markets got it only in 2011. The team behind the new gen worked a lot on aerodynamics and dropped the coefficient drag to 0.285. Plus, a brand-new 1.3-lit 4-cyl engine was introduced that was promised to be as efficient as the good-old 1.0-lit 4-cylinder. Safety was Ok, as the drivers got as much as 9 airbags, including driver/front airbags, front-seat-mounted airbags and a whole bunch of other airbags. In sum, it’s safe to that the car is safe :). As I just said, the worldwide markets got the new gen in 2011, with the European model receiving a facelift with the Toyota Yaris 2014 edition that featured improved interior quality, ride quality and tons of other minor changes. By the way, if you’re into that quality reading, check out my post and post – learn about everything that the mighty-mighty Japanese manufacturer has to offer today.
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid And More Updates
The North-American dealerships started selling the 3rd generation in the 4th quarter of 2011, as a 2012 model. And it was available both as a 3- and a 5-door hatchback, with the trim levels being L (the entry-level trim; CE in Canada), the golden-middle LE and the sporty SE. The last one was only available as a 5-door hatchback and boasts larger, 16-inch alloy wheels, sporty suspension and disk brakes on all 4 wheels (yep, the Toyota Yaris brakes were pretty fancy and on point). As for the fuel-efficiency, the Toyota Yaris 2013 MPG was good for 36 miles per gallon on the highway and 30MPG in the city (32MPG combined). That’s the numbers with the 1.5-lit 4-cylinder engine, paired to a 4-speed automatic transmission. Aha, when it comes to the economy, this sneaky little bastard is on top of the food chain, no doubt about that. Fun fact: the first-ever Toyota Yaris Hybrid for sale was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show 2011 as the Yaris HSD concept, equipped with a hybrid powertrain that is shared with the legendary Prius C, while the production edition was introduced a year later. In 2012 the dealerships managed to sell 27K units, while the 35.1K mark was reached by March 2013. Ok, now let’s move on to the 2015 and 2016 editions and seal the deal. Oh, one last thing: if you’re interested in a used Toyota Yaris, I would strongly recommend going for something from the current gen, but not something from the last 1-2 years. How about 2012 to 2014? For example, the 2014 Toyota Yaris MSRP is 7,7K-14.2K, which is just right if you’re looking for a low-budget option. Despite the fact that the price on a 3-year old car drops 50%, you’ll still get a contemporary model with all the latest features and equipment, which is a win-win, if you ask me.
Toyota Yaris 2015
With the Toyota Yaris 2015, the model received yet another facelift, getting a more distinctive, in-your-face front/rear styling to keep up with the ever-growing competition. On the inside, the shoppers got upgraded materials and a more premium feel (for a subcompact hatchback, of course). Furthermore, even the entry-level trim now comes with a touch-screen infotainment system and optional navigation. The major pros, the major advantages of the 2015 edition included quick, nimble handling, impressive standard features and equipment, a surprisingly large and cozy backseat, user-friendly tech, attractive, cartoony exterior design and amazing fuel-efficiency numbers. The cons: some of the class-leaders offer more cargo capacity, and that could be a major turn-off, especially if you love traveling with your family and tons of luggage. The 4-speed automatic transmission was a bit outdated, to tell the truth, and there was no sedan edition available (used to be back in the day). Overall, the 2015 Toyota Yaris was just the perfect subcompact car from the world’s biggest, wealthiest and most influential manufacturer in the world: solid, reliable, economical and cute. Add in the capable transmission that allows for good stability and quick steering and you’ll get one of the best experiences on the open road. However, as I just mentioned, the competition is fierce, and the segment is super-crowded with compelling models that can very well beat the Yaris in a fair fight.
Toyota Yaris 2016
For example, if you’re looking for flexibility and versatility, make sure to check out the redesigned Honda Fit that boasts class-leading seating and cargo capacity. On the other hand, if you’re after strong performance, the latest Ford Fiesta is your best bet – it’s super-fun to drive, plus it comes with a dope cabin. But, if you just look at the pics of Toyota Yaris, you’ll see why it’s on top. With the previous edition going for the mass appeal, the 2016 model just had to play it smooth, so, at the end of the day, it is pretty much the same as last year – a Japanese hatchback with European manners, if you know what I mean. That’s because it was originally intended for the narrow streets fo France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, so, maneuverability and fuel economy were always on top of the list. Plus, it comes pretty feature-packed and keeps up with the latest tech, which makes it a solid choice on the market of compacts. The entry-level 1.5-lit 4-cylinder engine doesn’t make the Hennessy Venom blush, but it does save a lot of that fuel money. It’s available both as a 2-door and a 4-door hatchback, with 3 trims to pick from – L, LE, and SE. The basic-level L comes with 15-inch (steel) wheels, power door locks/windows, air-conditioning, Bluetooth/USB/iPod connections, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, High Def. radio, a 6-speaker sound system (the Entune Audio), and more. The LE adds alloy wheels (also 15-inch), keyless entry, wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, and other cool stuff. As for the ultimate edition – SE – you’ll get 16-inch alloyers, LED running lights, fog lamps, 4-wheel disc brakes, cloth upholstery, unique exterior styling, and a rear spoiler, to name a few.
Toyota Yaris 2017
Do you know anything about the upcoming 2017 edition? No? Me neither! And why is that? It’s simple, actually: Toyota, just like any other giant in the automobile industry, doesn’t really like to share any vital piece of information unless it’s the perfect time in terms of marketing, so, that’s the answer to your question. Nobody knows anything about the new Yaris subcompact car and maybe that’s even for the best. A good surprise always gets me excited! So, unless you wanna get into all kinds of ridiculous rumors and/or speculations, let’s call it a day. Believe me, we’ll be talking about this sneaky little bastard in 2016, and more than once. Expect the new edition to drop somewhere in late spring/early winter. But for now, I suggest we leave it be and finish up. See you next time, my friends!