NEW FOR 2008:

– Engine immobilizer added
– Sport cloth seats replaced with cloth seats on Hatchback LE; sport cloth standard on Hatchback RS
– Exterior colour: Meteorite Metallic added

For 2008, the Toyota Yaris hatchback and sedan are virtually unchanged, receiving only minor changes and new names for their option packages.

Offered as a two- or four-door hatchback, or as a four-door sedan, the Yaris uses a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission. Anti-lock brakes are standard on hatchback RS models, and can be optioned on all others.

Features on the two-door CE hatchback include 14-inch steel wheels, CD stereo with two speakers, tilt wheel, centre console box, floor mats, digital clock, and intermittent wipers.

The four-door CE hatchback adds CD stereo with four speakers, power locks, power mirrors and rear washer/wiper.

The two- and four-door RS hatchback models add 15-inch alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, six-CD/MP3 stereo, air conditioning, sport seats, 60/40 fold-flat rear seats, leather-wrapped wheel, keyless entry, rear spoiler and fog lamps.

The Yaris sedan comes in a single trim line, and includes 14-inch steel wheels, CD/MP3 stereo, 60/40 folding rear seat, tilt wheel, floor mats, centre console box, digital clock, manual remote mirrors, and intermittent wipers.

Various packages are available, and the CE and sedan models can be optioned with air conditioning and power accessories. The sedan can also be optioned with side and curtain airbags, but not the hatchback models.

Exceptionally roomy inside, the Yaris is also quite comfortable for its price, with interior quality that also seems higher than its sticker. Drivers will either love or hate its centrally-mounted instrument cluster.

The Yaris features a bigger-car ride and sharp handling, but it will benefit immensely from real winter tires in inclement weather, and its small engine does become evident when it’s time to merge onto the highway. Overall, it’s a well-done city runabout at a reasonable price, although making side and curtain airbags optional in the hatchback version as well as the sedan would be a welcome addition.

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