2010 Toyota Yaris RS
2010 Toyota Yaris RS; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge

More Toyota Yaris reviews on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Toyota Canada

By Chris Chase

In 2006, Toyota replaced its wee Echo with the slightly-less-wee Yaris. The increase in size wasn’t dramatic – the Yaris was more than an inch wider, and rode on a 3.6-inch longer wheelbase – but it was enough to allow Toyota to make the new car a five-seater, where the Echo had seatbelts for four only. Where the Echo was introduced as a sedan only, the Yaris arrived solely in a hatchback body style.

Like the Echo, the Yaris used a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine rated for 108 horsepower and 105 lb.-ft. of torque. Not supercar numbers, certainly, but adequate to haul around what was one of the lightest cars on the market. Power was put to pavement by a five-speed manual transmission or an optional four-speed automatic.

The 2007 Yaris line gained a sedan model. It got a few styling cues to set it apart from the hatchback (as though the addition of a trunk wasn’t enough) and a wheelbase stretched by three-and-a-half inches. The sedan’s trunk was bigger, too, at 365 litres, versus 229 litres in the hatchback.

2006 Toyota Yaris
2006 Toyota Yaris. Click image to enlarge

In 2009, the Yaris sedan got a minor cosmetic refresh, and both sedan and hatchback models received a raft of updates to their available option packages. It was a bit more of the same for 2010, including the addition of front seat side and side curtain airbags as standard across the line (these had been optional in previous years). 2011 saw Toyota go a step further in making stability control and anti-lock brakes standard for all Yarises (part of its new “Star” safety system, a good idea that was, unfortunately, a public relations reaction to the sticky throttle scandal, which was little more than a conspiracy to taint Toyota’s reputation).

Fuel consumption, as rated by Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency, varied very slightly year-to-year, but the 2010 figures of 6.9/5.5 L/100 km (city/highway) with the manual transmission, and 7.0/5.7 L/100 km in automatic form are representative.

No surprise – Consumer Reports gives the Yaris a “much better than average” used car reliability rating; TrueDelta.com shows the Yaris’ reliability is rivalled only by that of the Honda Fit. Both organizations seem to agree that nothing can quite touch the Yaris’ reputation.

2007 Toyota Yaris
2007 Toyota Yaris. Click image to enlarge

This thread discusses Yaris engine head gaskets that leak oil. Keep in mind that most of the posts at that link were made by the same owner, who owns two Yarises. (His tale of “woe” begins here and continues here.) He says both have the same leak. He has also looked for the problem in many other Yarises, including those for sale on used car lots. Either he’s looking for attention, or is well ahead of the rest of us in finding a flaw with these cars. This is worth keeping an eye on if you own (or plan to own) a Yaris, but my money’s on the former. For the record, here’s a video that shows a similar leak, which happens where the head gasket meets the timing belt cover, by cylinder number one.

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