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.
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.
I wanted a new car that I could reasonably expect would be economical (good mpg) & reliable (no problems). After 17 months of ownership & 15,550 miles my cumulative gas mileage is 42.7 mpg. I've not had ANY mechanical or electrical problems with the auto. I've taken it in for the 5K, 10K, & 15K routine maintenance & that is it.
I recently purchased my '09 Yaris. Dealer can, VERY LOW MILEAGE. I was lucky to find one with the 5 speed man. trans. With a combination of city/highway driving and I am able to get 47.8 mpg CONSISTENTLY. I am very impressed with the car's quality and the quietness of the engine even at highway speeds. As far as the center mounted instruments are concerned. At first I found them to be very awkward, but after just a few days I am very comfortable with the center location..
When I turned 16 my parents bought a practical economy car so I could get to school and work. The car rides nice for an economy car, and it rides and sits higher than my Dad's Honda Fit. The car is obviously not that fast, but it can swiftly accelerate when it needs to. I really like the center mounted gauges. The car doesn't really have much other than the power package, which I actually didn't want, but it was all the dealer had. The car has a lot of headroom for a tiny car, and the rear seats can fold down to make more cargo room. I originally wanted a truck, but I am happy with 42 on the highway, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking to buy a practical commuting car.
No traction control here, but the wheezy engine doesn't produce enough oomph to need it in the dry. Brake torque works best, then the car produces a cute chirp as the tires latch on. Sadly, there isn't enough motor to make this car qualify as merely slow. Using manual upshifting near the redline is good for another tenth, however. Watch out!
The pedal feels firm enough and the Yaris feels stable during full-ABS stops. The high 120s seems a bit long for such a light car, but then it has skinny low-rolling-resistance tires for fuel economy. At least it's relatively consistent and predictable.
Slalom: Tuned conservatively to operate safely without stability control. Steering response and overall handling is respectable and well mannered, but not sporting. Gets the job done. Skid pad: Safely understeers its way to a 0.76g lateral acceleration number. Not much adjustability here. Plenty of body roll.