2010 Toyota Yaris Expert Review

You'll Like The 2010 Toyota Yaris If...

If you trust Toyota for reliability and are in the market for a cute subcompact, the 2010 Yaris fits the bill. You might also need to be open to a few curious looks on the street – the Yaris sports a distinctively "Euro" design.

You May Not Like The 2010 Toyota Yaris If...

If you like more conventional styling or have a penchant for performance driving, the 2010 Toyota Yaris will not meet your needs. It's a simple, four-cylinder economy model with a whimsical design – not a sporty performer by any stretch.

What's New

Toyota's Star Safety System is added to all Yaris models, bringing standard traction and electronic stability control to the little compact. Other changes for 2010 include a rear window defroster as standard equipment and the addition of a tachometer and manual transmission on the five door.

Interior Features

The 2010 Toyota Yaris Sedan and Liftback share many things, but the instrument panel is where they part ways with their domestic rivals. Both vehicles have the center-stacked "waterfall" type gauges borrowed from the Lexus design philosophy. The disconcerting aspect is that at night there are no gauges or little lights in front of you, causing you to have to turn your head slightly to the right to look at, for example, the speedometer. Another unusual trait of the Yaris interior is that the waterfall gauge panel provides a bit of a "cave" section behind it, allegedly providing storage space. This oddly-sized space might allow for balancing a small map, but anything more sizable would be precariously perched. Overall, however, the interiors of both the Sedan and Liftback seem roomier than you'd expect for the sizes of the vehicles.

Exterior Features

The most pronounced difference between the Yaris Liftback and the Yaris Sedan is that the Sedan is nearly 19 inches longer. Though the two body styles share a slight family resemblance, their individual personalities are miles apart. The Yaris Liftback has the more unusual exterior styling, with a pronounced short front overhang and an exaggerated "bulldog" stance. As slight as the front end seems, the wide flat-back design of the hatch door appears solid and substantial, providing a low, easy opening to the cargo area. The four-door Yaris Sedan styling seems rather traditional at first glance. It, too, has the short sloping overhang in front but the traditional sedan look is evident by the high arch of the roofline and windows that helps provide decent head room for those in the back seat.

Driving Impressions

The four-cylinder engine of the Yaris has Toyota's variable valve-timing system (known as VVT-i) and dual overhead camshafts and is rated at 106 horsepower. 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. With this relatively small engine we found the Yaris a little lacking in performance when traveling at 60 mph-plus speeds on the highways. This is a shortcoming for Toyota since one of the main competitors – the Honda Fit – has a few more horses (117 horsepower to Yaris' 106) and is much more fun to drive. This kind of subtle difference may not impact you but, if you're in any way interested in quickness and responsiveness, the Yaris might fail to impress.

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a base Toyota Yaris three-door Liftback with manual transmission starts just under $13,500, while the Sedan starts just over $14,000. A fully loaded Sedan tops out close to $18,500. The Yaris' main competitor, the Honda Fit, has a starting MSRP closer to $15,500, but includes many desirable standard features by comparison (and a slightly more powerful engine). Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price before you buy to find out what smart buyers are really paying for this vehicle in your area. The Yaris is expected to retain a better-than-average resale value over time, higher than the Kia Rio, on par with the Nissan Versa but a bit below the Honda Fit.

Notable Equipment

In this, the least-expensive segment of them all, the idea is to get the advertised price as low as possible, so the standard equipment list is usually short. This is not the case for the Toyota Yaris, however, which offers a tilt wheel, air conditioning, intermittent wipers, rear defroster, six airbags, electronic traction and stability control, and color-keyed mirrors and door handles. More notably, the Yaris Sedan offers six-way adjustable front seats with driver's seat height adjustment, something not usually found in the subcompact segment. Missing from the standard equipment list is a radio and a split-folding rear seat, but both can be had by opting for the Convenience Package.

Notable Options

A simple solution to getting the basic features you probably want is to add the Convenience Package, which includes an AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability and auxiliary input jack, 60/40 split folding rear seat and 15-inch wheels with full wheel covers. Adding the comprehensive Power Package brings an upgraded sound system and interior, alloy wheels, keyless entry, engine immobilizer and power door locks, windows and mirrors. Those two packages are slightly different for the Liftback models, which add a rear wiper/washer to the mix. A Sport package adds sport bucket seats, front, rear and rear decklid spoilers, an iPod connector and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The only two stand alone options are cruise control and fog lights.

Favorite Features

Flexible Seat Adjustments

The Yaris Sedan provides four-way adjustable front seats and fold-down rear seats that provide nearly 13 cubic feet of cargo space.

Roomy Cabin

The Yaris boasts the largest wheelbase in the subcompact arena. This is most noticeable in the interior leg and head room in both front and back seats.

Under the Hood

The Yaris Sedan and Liftback share the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), producing 106 horsepower. This is enough power to tool around town, but maybe not enough to take a chance at passing a Mack truck on a two-way highway with an oncoming car in sight.

1.5-liter in-line 4

106 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

104 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/36 (manual), 29/35 (automatic)

Editors' Notes

For 2010, the Yaris continues as Toyota's subcompact value leader, which makes sense since it's also Toyota's only subcompact offering. Having replaced the slow-selling Echo a few years back, the Yaris has gained in popularity and, although it remains the smallest and least expensive vehicle in the Toyota brand line-up, it is still packed with value. Set to do battle with the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and lesser rivals like the Chevrolet Aveo and Kia Rio, the Yaris must cover a lot of ground. Of the three distinctly different Yaris models it's the Liftback that make the more expressive design statement and, although the Sedan is nearly 19 inches longer than the Liftback, all three vehicles share the same chassis, engine and drivetrain.

Road Test Video Reviews

2010 Toyota Yaris Owner Reviews

126 Reviews
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Yaris is dependable, fuel efficient and compact.

I love my car! My last two cars have been both been a Toyota Yaris. My first was a manual and I really preferred the manual transmission compared to an automatic transmission. The car I have now is an automatic transmission. I love that it is a hatchback, that I get excellent gas mileage (30 miles to the gallon or better), it is compact, has a great turn radius, and has lots of compartments and cubbies on the interior. The only issue I have had with this car is the brakes. They just respond very differently than any car I have owned before. They seem to take longer to engage and seem to stop my car less efficiently than other brake systems I have had in previous cars. Overall it is a very reliable, fuel efficient and compact car.

- Laura T

Under performance, sluggish, not a safe car for long distance highway driving, extremely Loud engine and no so called amenities.

I don't feel comfortable driving my car on the highways. It has no pickup, getting on/off ramps, hills, very sluggish and can't get out of it's own way. The engine is extremely loud, seats are uncomfortable. I had to take the passenger headrest off as it blocked my view when looking over my shoulder. The size is small for the interstates and highways with large trucks and SUVs. Gets blown around. There are no luxury, special features. Hand crank windows and no auto door locks. I would not recommend this model unless strictly for around town driving and you definitely need added features to help make this car more enjoyable to drive, one positive ism it is good on fuel.

- MaryLou L

A well made vehicle for its age.

I do not know much about any vehicle, but the Yaris drives smoothly most of the time. I have had to replace the tires and belts a few times, the brakes once, and have had to repair the undercarriage of the car a few times due to how low it rides. My only read complaint with it is that it is easy to damage it on speed bumps even when going slowly due to how low it rides. Even some dips can do damage if the dips are drastic enough. However, it is still in fairly good condition for a car that is over 8 years old. It is fairly reliable, definitely comfortable to drive and does not break down every few months.

- Echo L

Toyota Yaris is a good investment!

For a small, basic sedan, this vehicle is comfortable, economical, sturdy, and reliable. The a/c cools well, even in the southwest desert. The one issue I have found is one common to small cars, and that is difficulty with visibility on crowded fast-moving freeways. See and being seen can be a difficulty in a small vehicle, and a danger, so responsible, defensive driving practice are important. I bought this 2010 model in 2011. It had been a rental and had low mileage. I have never had a breakdown and have only had normal maintenance costs to pay.

- Margaret P

Reliable, Toyota Yaris for a long time.

Battery problems otherwise it is very reliable. The dealership has provided all of our service needs. When we purchased the car we had free oil changes for the 1st 75, 000 miles on the vehicle which just recently expired. We are very happy with the durability and reliability of this vehicle and will be passing it down to our son once he turns the age of sixteen and will be able to drive. We trust that this vehicle will continue to be reliable in its later years with our son, it is the perfect car for a starting new young driver.

- Richard N

Speedometer, odometer, etc are in the center of the dashboard.

The only problem I have with my Yaris is its timing belt - squeals when the A/C is on, briefly upon start-up. No amount of adjustment has been able to fix this issue. I'm very satisfied with its performance, and the safety features are great - actually nearly totaled it in an accident a couple of years after I purchased it, and neither myself nor my passenger were harmed. Great gas mileage, even after owning for nearly 10 years. It's the vehicle I drive out of town, out of state, often.

- Rachel G

2010 Toyota Yaris - Love the Car, Make sure it�s right for you.

The vehicle is great! The engine is not extremely powerful so it takes some effort to speed up. The good gas mileage saves a bunch of money. Parking is incredibly easy BC it is such a small car. It is not the safest car which is my only hesitation for rating the car a four and not a five. I am nervous that it would be squashed like a bug in a crash with most other vehicles. Overall, I love the car and recommend it for any place without a harsh winter.

- Belle B

Compact, yet roomy, trunk space for a stroller, room for a full grown adult.

It's a compact, yet roomy on the inside. It may look small from the outside, but it is roomy enough for my friends that are 6'3'. I also love how much trunk space there is for a car that size. I do have problems with the acceleration, it's very sensitive and has caused me to slow down because of how fast the car goes. It's such a small car that it goes really fast without the driver noticing.

- Sofia I

Great car with minor setbacks.

I have not really had any real problems with the vehicle. Minor problems include many recalls. There have been about four of them so far. There was one for the airbags and they had to give me a new airbag module, there was one for the handle under the passenger's seat, there was a mirror switch problem and there was also something wrong with the engine but I did not get the full details.

- Greta G

Toyota Yaris 35 miles per gallon.

I get about 35 mpg which is really nice because I drive so much. Just wish I had cruise control. I am able to put the back seats down and sleep in the back when I am on a road trip. I put a new sound system in, and the only downside is that everyone outside can hear it. I do not have automatic windows which can be difficult when I want to roll the passenger side down.

- Emily M

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