2009 Toyota Yaris Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Toyota Yaris

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Toyota Yaris Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.5 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 106 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 29/36 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Toyota Yaris

  • The 2009 Toyota Yaris boasts a variety of body styles and a solid track record for reliability, but there are better choices for an economy car.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Very fuel-efficient, comfortable ride, handsome interior, multiple body styles, hatchback's available multifunction rear seat.

  • Cons

    Acceleration-sapping automatic transmission, awkward seating position, centrally placed gauges.

  • What's New for 2009

    For 2009, the Toyota Yaris becomes safer via standard side curtain airbags and antilock brakes. This year also brings a new addition to the lineup: a four-door hatchback.

Full 2009 Toyota Yaris Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009, the Toyota Yaris becomes safer via standard side curtain airbags and antilock brakes. This year also brings a new addition to the lineup: a four-door hatchback.


The subcompact economy car class has historically been populated by vehicles that had all the materials and build quality of a plastic toy found in a box of Cocoa Puffs. To call some of these cheap would be an insult to cheap things. But in the past few years a more competitive market has forced these bottom feeders to up their game in terms of overall quality and the adoption of modern convenience and safety technologies. The 2009 Toyota Yaris is a prime example of this. This is Toyota's least expensive car, yet it offers a stylish-looking interior, a surprising amount of interior room and a respectable collection of standard and optional features.

The 2009 model, in particular, has a handful of changes that should expand the Yaris' appeal. Among the improvements are newly standard safety features (antilock brakes and side curtain airbags) and a new four-door hatchback. The latter makes for a well-rounded lineup in terms of body styles, which also include a cute-looking two-door hatchback and a more traditional four-door sedan. The sedan is distinctive in that it is practically a different model, as its headlights, body panels and even instrument panel are different from those of the hatchbacks.

All of these body styles boast superior fuel economy as well as Toyota's solid reputation for reliability and overall quality. Yet other carmakers have shown big improvements in those areas as well. Apart from the four-door version, the Yaris doesn't hold any significant advantages over other highly regarded small cars such as the Honda Fit, the Kia Rio and the Yaris' hip cousin, the Scion xD. The high-quality Honda offers a more enjoyable drive as well as more versatile cargo-carrying options, while the xD's odd, funky styling and variety of stereo options might appeal more to younger buyers. If you're not into hatchbacks, the Yaris sedan will likely hold considerable sway, though you could also consider the Nissan Versa sedan. Overall, Toyota's Yaris strikes us as a merely average choice in a continually improving segment.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Toyota Yaris subcompact is offered as a three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback and four-door sedan in two trim levels. Standard models are pretty basic, with 14-inch steel wheels, intermittent windshield wipers, air-conditioning, four-way-adjustable front seats and a tilt steering wheel. S-trim equipment levels vary between hatchbacks and sedans but share 15-inch steel wheels, a ground-effects body kit and a CD/MP3 stereo with an auxiliary audio jack.

Many model-specific package upgrades are available and include items such as 15-inch alloy wheels, power accessories, cruise control, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat (sedan), a sliding and reclining rear seat (hatchback), a rear window defroster and upgraded interior trim. Keyless entry, foglamps and a rear spoiler are also offered as stand-alone factory options.

Powertrains and Performance

All Toyota Yaris models are equipped with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. Power is transmitted to the front wheels through a standard five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic transmission. The Yaris accelerates adequately with the manual gearbox, but off-the-line performance is sluggish with the automatic.

Fuel economy is a strong point for the Yaris. EPA estimates for a Yaris with the manual transmission check in at 29 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 32 mpg combined. Automatics rate 1 less mpg.


Standard safety features include antilock brakes and side curtain airbags. In government crash testing, the 2009 Toyota Yaris sedan earned four stars out of five for front occupant protection during frontal impacts. The two-door hatchback model outperformed the sedan in frontal impact testing by scoring a perfect five stars for driver protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Yaris earned the highest possible rating of "Good" for frontal-offset collisions. Side-impact testing also yielded a "Good" rating.

Interior Design and Special Features

With 3 more inches of wheelbase and nearly 20 additional inches of overall length compared to the hatchbacks, the Yaris sedan is a space-efficient and reasonably roomy choice among subcompacts. As you might expect, the sedan is the more conservatively styled of the two, both inside and out. The hatchbacks offer optional sliding and reclining rear seats that add versatility and help compensate for their more restrictive backseat space.

Though all versions feature centrally located instrumentation, the hatchbacks' dashboard is quite a bit different from the one found in the sedan and contains three gloveboxes -- including one uniquely positioned behind the steering wheel -- plus an unusually narrow center stack that coordinates well with their more playful exterior design.

The interior is not without its foibles. Those center-mounted instruments pull your eyes away from the road, while tall drivers will find the driving position akin to sitting atop a stool. Also, the tilt steering wheel cheaply drops like an anchor when its lever is released.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Toyota Yaris travels down the road with a reasonably solid feel. The electric power steering is mostly devoid of feel, but its super-light touch makes maneuvering easy. The Yaris' small four-cylinder engine is surprisingly peppy with the manual transmission and reasonably smooth even when operating at higher speeds. Off-the-line acceleration suffers with the automatic transmission, but both combinations deliver enough midrange power for confident merging and passing on the highway.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Great car

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Yaris S 2dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 4A)

I bought a preowned 2009 Yaris S in January with 77,500 miles on it. Have put 16,000 miles on it since. It's an amazing car. Decent gas mileage, relatively quiet and very reliable. I've had no issues with it other than a headlight going out (which my mechanic didn't even charge to replace). I'm 6'3 and I fit fine in it. Does have trouble with going up mountain, but with 106 horsepower, you have to accept that. Would be nice if it had automatic looks, but that's not too big a deal. I would suggest a Yaris to anyone. This is also after I had a 2000 Echo that I drove for six years and got rid of with 199,800 miles on it.

4 yr. ownership review

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Yaris 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 4A)

After 50000 miles and four years the car has been great. lot of people still ask about this car. great value. its not great in acceleration but smooth at 70mph. Got a new 6 in. touchscreen kenwood stereo with bluetooth audio and telephone, ipod integration, and pandora to bring it to today's AV standard. It does great with snow tires in Minnesota winters. My wife prefers this car in snow over her new Sienna and Acura TSX. That's says something about this car. Just another great Toyota

4 years and 125000 klm's

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Yaris 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 4A)

I've had my Yaris for nearly 4 years now and sadly I just sold it as I didn't need it any longer. But I can attest to great fuel economy, fantastic quality, and a terrific resale. I have 125000 klm's on this baby and never once in the dealer for ANY problems whatsoever. Regular oil changes 8-10000 k's etc., and never a moments problem. So much so, I now have a 2011 Corolla.

5 door

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Yaris 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 4A)

Have had my 5 door for 3 years now. Gets good fuel economy as expected and so far no issues. Feels nimble and zippy around town. However, would not buy it again. For not so small 17+ k the car feels too cheap. It exudes cheapness/budget. Even at street speed open 1 window and you get greeted with such bad wind buffeting it gives me and my wife a headache. We have to open the window on other side to even it out. Maybe its the shape, I don't know but never experienced it in any other car. If you're looking for a good small car in this price range go with the Fit, there is a reason why it consistantly gets better rated. My wife and I certainly wish we did.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Good car but others have

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Yaris 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl 4A)

Our Yaris is a 2008 and we are now 3 1/2 years and 36,000 miles into our ownership. Car has been perfectly reliable and exceeds EPA ratings, we regularly see 40 to 44 mpg highway, 30+ in town. Roomy up front, with lots of legroom, but narrow. Backseat has enough legroom & headroom for 6-footers and under. Large trunk. Lots of storage pockets, the center gauges are no problem, and the interior is pretty nice. Less road noise than the Fit. Problems: The engine has enough power, but the 4 speed automatic needs another gear or two. Driving position is terrible for taller drivers; the wheel is too far away, and the pedals too close. Pay attention to this during your test drive.

2 yrs review

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Vehicle: 2009 Toyota Yaris 2dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl 4A)

after 2 yrs and 29000 miles the car has been a great commuter car. I consistently get 36-38 on my 56 mile daily commute. It did great in a very snowy minnesota winter with snow tires. I am happy with this $14k vehicle that has great value.

Talk About The 2009 Yaris

2009 Toyota Yaris Discussions See all Started By

The Yaris is one of the most honest and fun to drive cars, Americans are too blind to see it. It's got a class leading turning radius (we have some for delivery around town and it does matter) and it'...

Toyota announced mid-year price adjustments to manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) today for the 2008 model year Toyota Yaris, Prius, RAV4, and 2009 Camry and Camry Hybrid....

I recently rented a new Toyota Yaris sedan for two weeks and drove it around in the Pacific Northwest. I was surprised to discover that the Yaris sedan has the same "wandering" steering effe...

Read more about the 2009 Toyota Yaris

Gas Mileage


  • 29
  • cty
  • 35
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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