EPA estimates for the Yaris are 34 mpg for getting around the city streets and 39 mpg for the highway. The observed gas mileage was 33.5 mpg after the car was driven by people who use shoes with lead soles. Must be some fashion trend I don’t know about. Anyway, the little 1.5 liter, 106 HP engine needs to be revved up for those exhilarating passes or entering the freeway. The small, fuel efficient engine needs to be revving pretty high to pick up speed, but has lots of pep to squirt you through traffic.
Driving at freeway speeds the cabin fills up with road noise. I had to raise my voice above normal speaking levels when conversing with passengers in the car. Measured road noise at 65 MPH was 75 db (A-weighted), which is about average for cars in this price range. I found myself turning up the music whenever I drove the car alone. Not only to mask the road noise, but to listen to the stereo because it was that good. Definitely better sounding than most factory installed sound systems.
The little engine that could did really well climbing the hills of San Francisco. The Yaris is easy to drive and maneuver around the city. Driving position feels a little higher than most sedans such that you feel on top of the car. Which makes it less intimidating when driving next the big, bad SUV’s sucking down three times more gas than the little Yaris.
The 3-door liftback model has lots of versatility for the young person who is always in constant motion. Laying the rear seats flat more than doubles the available cargo space. While the large, rear hatch provides a simple means of loading the car with all kinds of gear, books and supplies.
Thank goodness air conditioning is standard equipment for the Yaris. Many of the powered features I take for granted were manually controlled in the Yaris – outside mirrors, windows, locks and seats. The only thing that had any power was the stereo system. Paying for the optional upgrades raises the price of this attractive 3-door model rapidly. Base price for the Yaris is $11,950. Adding in some of the optional packages can quickly get the sticker price close to $15,000. View the spec sheet for the sticker price of the test car and a list of options that were included.