I purchased my 2007 Toyota Yaris in September of last year. After searching far and wide for a bright blue standard transmission liftback (they call it a 3 door) my local dealer finally traded with another dealer to get me what I wanted. He tried to talk me into any other color (he had them all) but blue was the one for me. And not that wimpy "bayou blue pearl", but "blazing blue pearl". I guess I am a blazing kind of gal.
My decision to buy this car was based on the Toyota brand, the price of $14,500 (I chose the "power package" option), and the advertised mpg, 34 40. I initially wanted a Toyota Prius, but the price point was a bit off putting, even to gain 10 15 miles per gallon. My Yaris was just over ½ the cost of what I would have paid for a Prius.
Before I even considered the Yaris, I checked out the leg room. Being 5'11" is great for playing volleyball, but not so good when it comes to fitting comfortably into cars. With the seat all the way back and the steering wheel adjusted up a bit, the fit was just right. I also slid the passenger seat all the way back and plopped myself into the seat behind it to see what my passengers would feel like. With my excessive leg length, I did need to move the front seat up a notch to be able to put my legs straight, but was confident my passengers would be fine. Since I have owned the car, no back seat passengers have complained about the leg room. And the only complaint I have had about head room came from a friend who is 6'4" who sat in the passenger seat.
The three head rests on the back seat do tend to hit you uncomfortably in the back unless you put them up, even for medium sized kids. This is because the headrest design sits into the seat instead of being attached to the top. Easy to adjust them up and down just different to have a seat that is not comfortable for your back unless you put the head rest up. I'm sure they did this to facilitate the nearly flat fold down seats because the top of the seats just clear the back of the front seats an efficient use of space if ever there was one. There are actually 3 seat belts in the back, and I have occasionally carried 3 people all slender teenagers. It would be too cramped for 3 large/tall people. The fold down rear seat has a 60/40 split; handy for those times when I have two passengers but am carrying a lot of stuff, too.
For such a small car, Toyota has packed in an amazing amount of storage compartments. I delight in them. There are 5 beverage holders (two of them open and close), an upper and lower glove box in front of the passenger as well as an additional one above the steering wheel. I love the way the top glove box fits cds perfectly I have about 10 in there so far. There is also a pullout compartment to the left of the driver that fits a pair of sunglasses quite nicely. Besides that there are 3 more open nooks to put things in one of them holds my charging PDA securely. There is another storage compartment in the back they call a "luggage compartment" which houses the spare tire but has significant extra room for other things. I have never used the luggage compartment because the fold down seats give me all the room I need for dogs, groceries, camping equipment, etc. I am even able to fit my mountain bike (front wheel off) and one medium sized dog in this car impressive.
My daughter was quite happy to plug her MP3 player into the auxiliary audio jack and still knows how to work the stereo better than me! The sound quality maintains when turned up loud, and the fade feature is fun to have even in such a small car.
An interesting side note I have had several people remark that as a passenger it feels like the car is going much faster than it really is on the freeway because of the sub compact size and excellent visibility. Actually, with the instrument panel centrally located, every passenger in the car knows how fast you are traveling! The instrument positioning was very easy for me to adjust to, despite being a bit disconcerting at first. The lack of a tachometer was a surprise and has only been a problem when I am distracted and playing music extra loud. The sound of the engine is your only cue when to shift gears. If you are experienced with a standard transmission, it is not a problem.
The first tank of gas I did virtually no freeway driving all in town, and a heat wave had me running the air conditioner full blast and non stop. Even under those conditions, that first tank got me 33.4 mpg. The highest mileage I have been able to achieve has been 37.1, which involved a long freeway drive never faster than 65 mph and still running the air conditioner on low. With the high gas prices, I am thankful I bought this car each and every time I visit the gas station, avoiding the pained expressions of the SUV owners.
The Yaris has two trip odometers, which was a first for me. This has come in handy when I want to keep track of my gas mileage, and at the same time I am following detailed MapQuest directions like traveling 4.8 miles on a street before turning.
Just yesterday I made another delightful discovery about the Yaris. I had been driving around with the windows open and hit the power buttons to close the windows as I parked. I got ahead of myself and turned the car off before the windows were completely shut. I recall many times, in other cars, having to restart the car because I forgot to close the windows. Toyota has designed the power windows to operate independently, even if the car is off. Nice to not have to waste gas starting the car again!
This front wheel drive car zips around corners, maneuvers well and is a delight to drive; responsive and quick. I find it has good acceleration on the freeway onramps; I am very satisfied with the power. It is just a tad noisy inside when driving at higher speeds but nothing that stops me from talking on the phone or enjoying music, certainly not bad for an economy car. I absolutely love being able to maneuver easily into amazingly small parking spaces sometimes I do it just for fun.
I have yet to discover any problem or issue with my Yaris where I have found myself thinking "If only they would have " or "I wish they hadn't" No complaints here I am indeed a happy Yaris owner!