Avg. Price Paid:$6,302 - $7,615
Original MSRP: $11,550 - $14,650
MPG: 29 City / 36 Hwy
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2008 Toyota Yaris Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Toyota Yaris was new.

Like others, the Chicago Sun-Times finds the Yaris' driving performance merely "decent." The steering is fairly crisp and the stopping power is good, but acceleration and maintaining high speeds were more difficult.

The Yaris is a budget car, so performance expectations shouldn't be those of a sport sedan. U.S. News' reviewer Rick Newman notes the Yaris "handles comfortably on the highway and is quite maneuverable in tight turns." As The Auto Channel says, "The Yaris isn't the fastest car on the highway, but it can keep up with anything else that's driving legally out there, and with a couple who may be stretching the speed limit a bit."

Acceleration and Power

According to The Family Car, the 1.5-liter DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine that all versions of the 2008 Toyota Yaris have uses the included Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence technology "to allow for good power delivery without taking a hit on gas mileage," and Kelley Blue Book adds that the engine "produced enough power to tool around town." The Austin American-Statesman review notes the engine is "reasonably smooth and peppy if the Yaris is lightly laden, but the steering feels too artificial and the shock absorbers allow the car to unnecessarily sway on buckled pavement." Reviews like the Los Angeles Times find inclines a challenge: "The engine – having negligible low-speed torque – busts a gut on anything like a hill, and the gear spacing is such that you have to put it in first gear and flog the huskies for all they're worth. Flogged huskies do not a pleasant sound make."

The EPA rates the 2008 Toyota Yaris at 29 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on highways when using automatic transmission. With the manual transmission, the EPA rates the Yaris at 29 mpg city/36 mpg highway. Many reviews highlight the fuel efficiency of the vehicle, and The Auto Channel calls the Yaris "the best fuel economy we've attained in a non-hybrid." The Austin American-Statesman reviewer says the Yaris' fuel consumption "was a pleasant surprise, beating the EPA rating in mostly highway, some city driving."

A five-speed manual overdrive transmission is standard on the 2008 Yaris, with a four-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive as an option. Most auto writers test drove with the manual, which USA Today described as operating "smoothly with little of the rubberiness associated with inexpensive cars." Auto Mall USA thought the five-speed manual "a joy to work, both around town and in open spaces," and that shifting gears was "creamy smooth" and ratios well-spaced.

Handling and Braking

U.S. News' Rick Newman notes the Yaris "handles comfortably on the highway and is quite maneuverable in tight turns," the Seattle Times calls the Yaris "crisp enough to be entertaining," and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer comments that the Yaris "stops a lot faster than a pick-up or SUV and is easier to negotiate in a panic situation." On the other hand, most reveal that the Yaris does not perform as well when pushed. The Car Connection reports that the Yaris "feels peppy at first but once out on the highway the lack of power is very noticeable, so you will spend a lot of time with your right foot buried in the carpet."

The 2008 Toyota Yaris' suspension system includes an independent MacPherson strut for the front and a torsion beam rear suspension with front stabilizer bar. The Yaris also has electric power steering and power-assisted rack-and-pinion with electronic power assist. The Chicago Sun-Times finds the Yaris "supple" and with "good stability" on highways.

Toyota's Yaris comes standard with power-assisted front ventilated disc/rear drum brakes, while four-wheel anti-lock brake system with Electronic Brake Distribution is an option available for the both the liftback and sedan models. Motor Week estimates "braking runs averaged a straight and stable 125 feet, thanks to our car's combination of standard front discs and rear drums, plus optional ABS."

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

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