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2008 Toyota Yaris MPG Review

Toyota Yaris 4-door MPG-o-Matic Toyota Yaris Sedan Review Summary: While not a hybrid, the Toyota Yaris is capable of delivering truly remarkable mileage, both on the highway and in-town. 50 MPG highway is achievable for light-footed drivers.

The Toyota Yaris competes with the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Chevy Aveo, among others in the subcompact market. Available as both a four door sedan and a three-door liftback, the Yaris slots in under the Corolla as the entry-level model in Toyota’s lineup.

Under the hood, the Yaris is fitted with 1.5 liter DOHC 16-valve VVT-i four cylinder engine, producing 106 horsepower (HP) and 103 foot pounds of torque.




The official gas mileage estimates for the 2008 Yaris are 29 city/35 highway miles per gallon (MPG) with the 4-speed automatic transmission and 29/36 with the 5-speed manual transmission.

In hundreds of miles of driving, we absolutely vaporized the official estimates for our automatic-equipped Jade Sea Metallic Yaris S sedan, scoring an amazing average of 45.7 MPG on the highway, with 39 MPG combined. While it might not be one to win hearts among the performance crowd, the Yaris’s ultra-thrifty VVT-i engine is well-suited to budget-minded commuters.

We found the Yaris to be so fuel-efficient that we had to wonder … how could the official estimates be so conservative? In a number of our testing cycles, our review unit flirted with and exceeded the magic 50 MPG mark. While we’ll stop far short of floating any conspiracy theories, the Yaris’s remarkable fuel economy just can’t be denied.

But we will bring one key point to light.

Although the 2008 Yaris features an unconventional and futuristic dashboard layout, it lacks both an average fuel economy and a real-time MPG display. Why Toyota chose to skip these displays, we just can’t say. With the inclusion of these two simple gauges, Yaris owners would optimize their investment and slash the amount of money spent on gasoline.

To make up for the shortcoming in information display, we plugged a ScanGauge II into the Yaris’s OBDII port before hitting the road (verifying the overall results with tank fills).

Our highway testing stage included four Interstate driving cycles, with three variables: windows up/down, A/C on/off, and cruise control on/off. Temperatures ranged from the mid-70s through low-80s.

2008 Toyota Yaris S Sedan – Highway MPG Testing:

  • 43.2 MPG – windows down, cruise control off, A/C off
  • 43.8 MPG – windows down, cruise control on, A/C off
  • 46.2 MPG – windows up, cruise control on, A/C on 50%
  • 49.7 MPG – windows up, cruise control off, A/C off

(Specifics: 40 mile interstate loops, cruise control set at 66 MPH, 60-70 MPH range with cruise off.)

Throughout our testing, we found the Yaris S to be a breeze to drive both in and out of town.

With its center-mounted instrument pod, the Yaris’s interior has a bit of rocket ship feel, falling somewhere between the Corolla’s conservative treatment and the Prius’s ultra-tech design. The audio system’s iPod line-in jack is tucked away in a cubby beneath the dash, while the single power outlet is placed between the seats. Truth be told, this placement is a bit inconvenient when using both the line-in and power port. A second power port next to the line-in jack would be a welcome addition.

All-in-all, we recommend the Toyota Yaris for its fantastic mileage, admirable handling, and solid value. We’re happy to give the little fuel-sipper an enthusiastic thumbs up.

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32 comments ↓

#1 Toyota Yaris Gas Mileage on 08.26.08 at 6:29 am

[…] Toyota Yaris Review: […]

#2 john maher on 08.29.08 at 5:59 pm

I own the 2007 hatchback, and I LOVE it. It has spunk up steep hills, and great handling. Good turning ratio. A really fun drive. And the mileage… freakin’ awesome. Thirty bucks in gas lasts all week long. This little car even fits five, or two adults and two x-large dogs with the back seats down. Great versatile car. I sell them, too, since I bought one and fell in love!

#3 rebecca on 08.30.08 at 11:33 pm

I have a 2008 Yaris Sedan and it’s my baby!! Great gas mileage is an understatement, at 40+ mpg every time. My mom has a jeep that gets 20 mpg (if she’s lucky), so I love to taunt her when I fill my car up at the same time. When I tell people how well my car does, they think I’m joking. Plus, it’s a Toyota, so it will last forever. (ex. My last car was an ’84 Celica GT.) I love driving, and I don’t feel so bad about it with such great mileage!!

#4 Peggy on 08.31.08 at 2:52 pm

I have the 2007 – 4 door hatch, and I love this car… very spunky, has power to go from a dead stop to whatever speed required and a tank of gas goes for 2 weeks … drive to work everyday (200 km/week) and all my running around…

Hard to beat this car for mileage..

#5 DAVIE on 09.03.08 at 9:50 pm

I own a 2008 hatchback, also called a lift back. Awesome MPG 35 city, have gotten 49 MPG on Interstate driving with automatic transmission using cruise on 66 MPH. I’m 6-3 have plenty of room. Yaris back seat folds flat to make a huge cargo area-nice. Love the little gas sipper & has high safety rating & has good pep for a 4 banger.

#6 sam on 09.16.08 at 5:37 pm

i recently bought an ’08 three door and i was amazed at the gas mileage. i was even furthrer amazed by just how much that little beast can carry with the back seats down…..best car i’ve ever had

#7 Nissan Versa MPG Review on 10.01.08 at 7:50 pm

[…] Nissan Versa competes with the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and Chevy Aveo, among others in the subcompact market. Available as both a four door sedan and a […]

#8 ChRiStA on 10.03.08 at 9:05 am

I got the 2007 Sedan S model as a high school graduation gift. And i love it! This car is great on gas. I live almost and hour away from Jacksonville, Florida, and I can drive there and back on a full tank of gas! Both of my sisters hate my car because they have gas drinkers. ( 2008 Nissan Maxima and 2005 Nissan Altima)

#9 DAVID on 10.05.08 at 11:04 pm

Just got my best mpg yet 51 mpg using cruise at 57 mph and a rural US hwy 87 from Fayetteville NC to Southport NC.There were only a few brief stops.I DROVE LIGHT FOOTED with a/c@ 50%.My yaris is an 08 with an automatic transmission.I heard this was possible but was skeptical.TRY THE SAME ROUTE YOURSELF YOU WILL SEE.My previous was 48mpg with driving about 66/67 mph

#10 David B. on 10.09.08 at 2:31 pm

I just bought a 2007 yaris hatchback with 13,000 on it. I got it towards the end of summer and I used the a/c alot when I delivered pizza. I was at first disappointed with 32 mpg, but as I got used to the clutch and I used the a/c less and less I achieved an all time high of 44 mpg in the city. (Just a few highway miles.)

I love it! And the name, Yaris, is a derivative of the greek word “Charis” which actually means gift. That’s what it’s been for me.

#11 Mike on 10.29.08 at 5:23 pm

I’m considering getting one of these. I own a manual 2K Hyundai Accent and with Max PSI in the tires, light footed driving and 80% HW driving I get 42-45MPG. The best I’ve ever gotten was 52.5MPGH, my average over the last 4 months is 46MPG. I suspect that if I was to buy a Yaris and employ the same ‘Hyper Mileage’ techniques I would get ~15-20% boost all around. In other words instead of 42-45, I would get 50-55MPG and max out at about 63MPG. It would be awesome to get 600+ miles per tank of gas, as it is I regularly get 480-510 miles in my accent! BTW, everyone should get a Scangauge…it’s freaking sweet!

#12 Nta on 12.31.08 at 7:05 pm

mpg US or imperial?

just drove in the winter ( below freezing point and lot of wind) at 70-75 mph got 40.2 mpg US or 48 mpg IMP

#13 Darrel on 02.02.09 at 2:24 pm

Low mpg estimates?….

If the Yaris gets 45-50 mpg, doesn’t that make the Prius or Camry Hybrid less attractive?

#14 MPGomatic Traffic Jumps on 02.03.09 at 11:44 am

[…] UPDATE: Wow … it’s MSN … Many thanks for the heads-up! The author of the article referenced our Toyota Yaris review. […]

#15 TeamATOMiK.com on 02.03.09 at 4:30 pm

We purchased a 2007 Yaris sedan in Dec. of 2006 and loved it so much that we came back and purchased another one six months later! Anyone looking for a nice cheap commuter car should check out the Yaris. Our suggestion is to use your Costco.com membership to get the rock bottom, no haggle, Costco Auto Program price and buy the _BASIC_ model with _NO OPTIONS_, then add you own aftermaket stereo, speakers, alarm, etc… We have built up two (2) great little Yaris sedans with loads of bells, whistles, and toys for well under the dealers “loaded” package price. Next, we plan on taking a look at the new 2009-2010 five door (four door with hatchback) Yaris. Both our Yaris sedans are averaging over 40mpg and have had no problems. I hope the ’09 five door is built as well as the 2007-08 sedans. Stay tuned to our website for more Yaris adventures! BTW, thanks MSN for helping me find this great website!

#16 Small Vehicles on 02.08.09 at 10:04 am

[…] Toyota Yaris […]

#17 DaPriz on 03.18.09 at 12:05 pm

I bought a 2009 Yaris 2dr hatchback 5spd a month ago after my 2003 Hyundai Accent sedan automatic got totalled. The Hyundai was getting 25mpg, the Yaris is getting 32mpg! My commute to work is in stop and go traffic for 13 miles. I also have to frequently run the A/C because it gets pretty hot here in south Louisiana, which I know brings the mileage down a little. I admit I bought this car because it was the cheapest new car I could find, but I’m very happy with it. After reading these reviews, I’m going to try and get better mileage, if others have done it, why can’t I?

#18 Clifton C on 06.26.09 at 12:53 pm

Love my Little yaris I did my own road test on the Highway and got 44.1 mpg with no ac windows down and I also got 18 inch wheels Low Pro tires.
215/35rz18 all the way around it greats great milage.

#19 Clifton C on 06.26.09 at 1:06 pm

My little yaris is a Hatchback Manual and I think if you put a smart fortwo side by side they yaris would be the mpg champ just for the fact that the yaris motor has a little more torque than the fortwo with helps the motor to not have to work as hard.

Has any one tried two do a mpg war with the yaris and Smart fortwo I’m intrested to see the results since I dont own a smart I can only tell ya what my yaris will do.

The most I got off of one tank in my yaris is 375 miles mixed driving. and about 10 gallons to fill that back up.

#20 Manu on 07.05.09 at 8:39 pm

I have a 2008 yaris and so far I have averaged 33 and 40 hwy mpg. I have spent so far 1/4 of gas tank and I have 150 miles driven.

#21 Paula on 07.19.09 at 9:48 pm

I own a 2008 Yaris sedan with automatic transmission and absolutely love it! I average 38 MPG mixed driving, and have gotten as high as 45 MPG highway. This is my third Toyota, and I like the Yaris better than the Corolla. It’s more stylish, handles better and blows that Corolla out of the water with gas mileage. We also own a Prius which we use for loner trips, and both are fabulous values given their fuel efficiency. If you are looking for a car as reliable as the Prius with excellent fuel efficiency, consider the Yaris.

#22 Nancy on 12.08.09 at 1:31 pm

Love my YARIS 2008 manual

BUT WHY OH WHY is it getting such lousy gas mileage… 27 mpg mixed driving…. it has only been a year
help

#23 mpg-o-editor on 12.09.09 at 8:35 am

@Nancy – has your mileage dropped recently? If so, what were you averaging before the drop?

Have there been any changes in your daily routine … for example, are you driving in and increased amount of stop and go traffic? Spending more time with the car idling?

Are you hauling more weight in the trunk? More passengers?

Have you kept up with normal maintenance (oil changes, air filter, tire pressure check)?

#24 Steve Bergman on 02.26.10 at 10:34 pm

@Clifton C: Note that the Smart Fortwo has a drag coefficient of 0.38, compared to the Yaris’ 0.29. By comparison, 2010 Prius’ is 0.25, and the 2009 Prius’ is 0.26. This no doubt makes a big difference on the highway. 0.38 just isn’t that great, whereas 0.29 is getting into “impressive” territory.

#25 Bob on 05.01.10 at 9:51 am

I bought a new 08 3 door hatch – 5 speed standard. I bought it stripped and laughed when the salesman told me it had no radio. I said, “even better!”. I did the power door locks, power windows, cruise control, stereo myself for way less than dealer costs. The car is great fun to drive as it has way more pep than I expected. I drive hard and don’t take it easy. Still, I often got 36-38 combined MPH for driving. I love this car! The friends who laughed at me for driving an “egg” were converts after a ride and gas reached near $4/gal. One friend who has a corvette even bought one after riding with me. I may upgrade to the 5 dr hatch soon.

#26 Chris on 05.19.10 at 2:21 pm

I got my Yaris , 07 with 24k miles on it for $9500 out the door after i negotiated the car for 5 hours with the DEALER.

Math is so beautiful,
this car drives 50k miles on 2500 dollars at 45 mpg , compared with a care that does 20 mpg and will cost you 6000 dollars to drive 50k miles .

do the math, in 150k this car is free, just in gas savings compared with a SUV.

When i drive this car I point and laugh all the time at stupid people driving big SUV’s

The satisfaction is more than the Big SUV can give you .

Oooh and did i mention is manual so i cant talk on my phone while im driving or dream about what i did last night, so is safe too. The road and I are one.

#27 Robin on 01.20.11 at 6:32 am

I had a 07 Yaris that got mid to high 40’s in mpg consistently. I commute, so within 3 years I’d racked up nearly 100K miles. Traded it in last spring on a 2010. The new yaris get a very disapointing 17 mpg city and only 29 on the highway. Dealer keeps saying its normal, but I know otherwise. Wish I had my 07 back!

#28 junior on 03.26.11 at 10:28 am

About two months ago I purchased a 08 yaris hatchback and I drive to work round trip 65 miles per day. I can commute to and from work all week long on one tank and a quarter. That averages out to around 40 miles per. gallon mixed driving and I’m sure I could get 50 miles per gallon highway. I just love this car.

#29 Mars on 04.01.11 at 1:52 pm

I have a 2008 Toyota Yaris and every guy I meet makes fun of me for it. I don’t mind too much but it is a nice car, nice odd color of Jade Sea Metallic, and has good gas mileage. If you know how to operate your Automatic speeds just right, the Yaris can keep up with Civics, Mercedes, and BMWs. Maybe not on acceleration which annoys me sometimes but driving side to side, there is no difference of speed. I rarely drive alone anyways so why would I want to accelerate like a jerk when I have a child in the backseat. I get 35-40 city and 40-50 hwy on average.

#30 Ken on 04.09.11 at 3:10 pm

I have a 2007 Toyota Yaris Sedan. So far, my combined mileage is always 36-38 MPG. I am usually 80 on the freeway so I’m going to try to test @ 60-65mph and see how it improves. Love the car. Great value for the $$$. Can’t believe how much the used ones are going for. It’s worth it to just buy it completely new and have a full warranty and know how it’s always been driven…

#31 John on 06.13.11 at 1:00 pm

I am a VERY HAPPY owner of an ’09 Yaris five speed. Driving locally and not using the A/C, but using the cruise control whenever possible I am able to get 49 to 50 MPG in local driving. I have a friend who owns a Prius. His gas mileage is not as good as the mpg that I get.

#32 Chappy on 09.29.12 at 10:43 am

I have a 08 yaris I put a K&N life time filter in it. It is running with syth. moble 1 oil. I run on E0 gas (nonethenlol). And a G-Force performance chip. It dynoed at 142 plus hp It is like a rollaskat on steroids! AND I AM GETTING “”61″” MILES TO A GALLON !!!! IF I make believe there is egg between my foot and the gas peddle. I love this car! Oh by the way I am 6’1″ 290lbs…..

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