Watch for broken front suspension control arm bolts, which, according to the experiences of a number of owners, don’t last long when subjected to road salt. Click here and here for more information. The Yaris has not yet been recalled for this, but I’d suggest it probably should be. Toyota Canada has issued a technical service bulletin for the problem.
2007 Toyota Yaris. Click image to enlarge
A few people at YarisWorld.com complain of an erratic idle in their cars that occasionally results in a stalled engine. Click here and here for information, and watch this video to see it for yourself.
Here’s a discussion at YarisWorld.com about bad Yaris water pumps.
If water is leaking into the front passenger footwell, check for a mis-routed air conditioning drain.
Here are do-it-yourself instructions for installing cruise control in a Yaris that didn’t come with it from the factory (which is most of them).
2007 Toyota Yaris; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge
This thread at YarisWorld.com contains links to loads of technical service bulletins (TSBs) concerning the Yaris.
The Yaris performed well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests, getting ‘good’ ratings in frontal offset and side impact tests on cars with side airbags. Cars without side airbags scored ‘poor’ in side impact tests, owing to a high likelihood of skull fracture and brain injury, and broken ribs and internal organ injuries.
Side airbags improved the Yaris’ performance in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests, too. They gave the Yaris four stars for frontal impact protection, and three for side impact performance in cars without side airbags, and four stars with them.
2010 Toyota Yaris RS; photo by Chris Chase. Click image to enlarge
The Yaris isn’t the most expensive used car in its class; the Honda Fit takes that title by a large margin. Perhaps more telling about the state of the auto industry right now is that a used Kia Rio is not much less expensive than a similarly-equipped Yaris. The biggest savings are to be found in an American-branded model like the Chevrolet Aveo, but that isn’t universal. Comparing 2011 models shows the Ford Fiesta as a solid rival to the Yaris for value retention, though it would be more telling to do the same comparison in another year or two.
The results of profit-boosting cost-cutting are apparent in some of Toyota’s larger, more expensive models, but with the Yaris (and its big-brother Corolla) the company proves that it can still build a solid small car. Little cars like this aren’t for everyone, but the Yaris is one of the best in terms of durability. If you do choose a Yaris, do as you should with any used car and get it checked by a trustworthy mechanic, and look for one that comes with detailed service records. Have that mechanic look for evidence of oil leaks originating from the head gasket, just to be safe.
Black Book Pricing (avg. retail) February, 2012:
2006-2007:On certain 06-07 hatchback and 07 sedan models, the pyrotechnic pretensioner of the front seatbelt assemblies could, if deployed, ignite nearby sound-insulating material. This could result in a post-collision fire, increasing the risk of occupant injury or death. Correction: Dealers will remove the sound insulator in question.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2009027; Units affected: 58,398
2006-2010: Toyota Canada, through its network of dealerships, offered for sale an accessory cruise control unit manufactured by Rostra Precision Controls, Inc., Model AP800 for 2006-2010 Yaris models. The Rostra accessory cruise control unit is mounted to the left of and below the steering wheel, behind the dashboard (below the cup-holder) with a switch on the steering column to enable the driver to activate it. Rostra has confirmed that, in very rare circumstances, when a mobile two-way radio (licensed for use by emergency personnel, under specific regulatory conditions and frequencies in Canada) is operated in the vehicle, the engine speed (RPM) can fluctuate or vary mildly, and for a short period of time. This can occur when the mobile handheld two-way radio is operated in the “transmit” mode at certain specific frequencies in very close proximity to the Rostra accessory cruise control unit under the dashboard. Also, if this condition does occur, the driver may notice a Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) on the dash and a reduction of engine power, allowing the operator to drive the vehicle to the shoulder or another safe location. Toyota has confirmed that this problem is not due to a defect in the vehicle’s original equipment nor does this condition occur where a handheld Citizens’ Band (CB) radio, cell phone or Bluetooth transceiver is operated in the vehicle. Correction: To ensure continued customer confidence in the safety and quality of their vehicle, Toyota Canada recommends that the Rostra accessory cruise control unit be removed from the vehicle. The removal of the Rostra cruise control unit will be performed at no cost and the original purchase price of the system will be reimbursed to owners. This action is a Customer Satisfaction Campaign and is not being conducted as per the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.
Crash test results
Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.
For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.
For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.