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.
– by Daniel Gray