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#16

in 2010 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $8,537 - $9,632
Original MSRP: $12,605 - $14,165
MPG: 29 City / 35 Hwy
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2010 Toyota Yaris Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The Toyota Yaris is a budget car, so performance expectations should be limited. Many reviewers say the steering is crisp and the stopping power is good, but acceleration and maintaining high speeds are more difficult. More than one reviewer also comments on the noticeable engine noise.

  • "The Toyota Yaris excels as around-town transportation, price considered or not. Forget the entry-level label. The Yaris feels and performs much better than its MSRP would suggest. Still, you know this isn't a Lexus, or even a Camry, from the clearly heard engine and some road noise. These are constant reminders of the car's small size and light weight, but there's little else about its road manners to complain about." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Few cars beat a Yaris at flitting through the urban landscape or fitting into a parking space. But this is more than just a city car. On the open road at a moderate pace, the Yaris happily goes where you point it, rewarding your hand with accurate steering and your foot with good brake control." -- Iguida.com

Acceleration and Power

Test drivers say the 2010 Yaris definitely has some zip to it, but think it doesn't have the chops to effectively compete with the top performers in its class. A sporty ride isn't readily available in the affordable small car class, but the Mazda3 is about as close as you can get. It beats out nearly every other car in its class when it comes to performance.

The Yaris offers a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 106 horsepower. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission standard, but a four-speed automatic is available.  

Where the Yaris stands out is with its impressive fuel economy. The EPA rates the car at an average of 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. 

  • "More than spry enough for commuter duty. Yaris is liveliest with manual transmission. Adequate around-town go with the automatic, but these versions feel overmatched in fast-moving traffic and hilly terrain." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The Yaris has no problem keeping up with traffic and is especially usable for in-town duty. The engine revs freely and smoothly and will tolerate near-redline rpm without squawking." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "High performance isn't on Yaris's to-do list, but this little car can get out of its own way with minimal drama. Better yet, it negotiates city and suburban traffic with a measure of stability and refinement that belies its lean price and light weight." -- Iguida.com

Handling and Braking

The Yaris is crisp and responsive with good brakes, but some test drivers warn about the car's tendency to drift in high winds. 

  • "Grip in turns is limited by narrow tires. The steering is nicely weighted. A tidy turning radius aids in tight maneuvers. Some testers detected wander in gusty crosswinds. All models have good stopping control, and kudos to Toyota for making ABS standard on all models, rather than optional." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Sporting a 96.9-inch wheelbase, the car immediately lends itself to go-kart-like handling." -- Left Lane News
  • "There's still some body roll when the corners get tight, but it comes and goes with no surprises or awkward weight transitions." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Swift turns will send it drifting wide as you approach the traction limits of its narrow tires, but the effect is progressive and easily managed. More attention is required in blustery crosswinds or at speeds above 60 mph or so. In these conditions, Yaris's steering may require lots of attention to maintain a heading." -- Iguida.com

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