2009 Toyota Yaris Review

Toyota Yaris Five Door Liftback MPG-o-Matic Toyota Yaris Five-Door Liftback Review Summary: The 2009 Toyota Yaris Five-Door Liftback excels in the hotly contested compact hatchback market by delivering remarkable real-world fuel economy and unique styling in a zippy little hatchback package.

Under the hood, the 2009 Yaris Five-Door Liftback is equipped with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine which produces 106 horsepower (HP) and 104 foot pounds of torque. The inline four is exclusively mated to a four-speed automatic transmission.

If you have your heart set on a manual transmission-equipped Yaris, you’ll have to settle for the three-door Lift back or four-door sedan.

The EPA’s fuel economy estimates for the 2009 Toyota Yaris Five-Door Liftback are 29 city / 35 highway miles per gallon (MPG). This is the second Yaris we’ve had the chance to test and we found the official estimates on both vehicles to be quite conservative.

It’s clear that our 2008 Yaris Sedan test was no fluke.

We logged six hundred miles in our 2009 Meteorite Metallic five-door Yaris S review unit and flew past the official mileage estimates for the Toyota Yaris, with an average of 43 MPG highway and 38.1 MPG combined. Test period temperatures ranged through the seventies.

While our standard operating procedure is to set a baseline with the cruise set on 68 MPH, we were not able to do so, as our five-door hatchback was not equipped with cruise control (which is available as a standalone option).

We ran four cycles on the highway circuit, all with the windows up. The driver’s window and rear passenger window were open less than 2 inches a piece to provide cross-ventilation.

47.2 MPG, 55-60 MPH, A/C off.
45.3 MPG, 60-66 MPH, A/C off.
41.1 MPG, 65-72 MPH, A/C off.
38.3 MPG, 65-72 MPH, A/C on.

Although the Yaris responds remarkably well to conscientious driving, Toyota once again failed to include an instant fuel economy gauge as either standard or optional equipment for the 2009 model year. Whether an oversight or by design, this is easily remedied by plugging an aftermarket gauge into the Yaris’ OBDII port.

We used a ScanGaugeII when we tested the 2008 Toyota Yaris Sedan. This time out, we popped an Auto Meter Ecometer into the 2009 Yaris Liftback’s OBDII port. Both the ScanGaugeII and Ecometer provide the feedback necessary to achieve a higher level of fuel efficiency when using a light-footed driving technique.

While the Yaris might not be fast in a conventional sense, it’s surprisingly fun to toss around. (A bolt-on dealer-installed TRD turbo kit sure would be nifty.) This little critter is clearly made for tight spaces, with a eye-opening 30.8 foot turning radius that handily beats the Honda Fit’s 34.4, the Nissan Versa’s 34.2, and the Chevy Aveo’s 33.0. In fact, the Yaris’s turning radius is so tight, it falls just inches short of the tiny Euro-spec Fiat 500 (9.28 meters = approximately 30.5 feet).

The Yaris S package proclaims its largely sporting intentions, with features that include leather trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, cloth front sport bucket seats, upgraded instrumentation, auxiliary audio jack and USB iPod input, fog lights, rocker panels, and front and rear spoilers.

15-inch alloy wheels are included with the Power option package, which also includes power windows, power door locks, power outside mirrors, and a 60/40 split rear seat that reclines, slides, and folds flat.

The backseat has sufficient leg, head, and hip room for two adult passengers, or three little ones.

The Yaris five-door liftback provides 9.3 cubic feet of luggage space with the rear seat up and 25.7 cubic feet of cargo area when the rear seat is folded down.

All-in-all, we found the five-door Toyota Yaris S Liftback to deliver remarkable real world fuel economy in a uniquely styled and fun-to-drive package. While the Yaris’ design may be polarizing, the value and thrift is undeniable. As such, the Yaris remains a top pick in this category.


  • There is one 12-volt outlet at the base of the dash.
  • There are no steering wheel audio controls.
  • Hands-free Bluetooth is a dealer-installed option.

If you’re looking at the Yaris Five-Door, you might also consider: the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Mazda3, Kia Spectra5, and Chevrolet Aveo5.

2009 Toyota Yaris

Daniel Gray
“Is there a conspiracy to hide the fact that the 2009 Toyota Yaris five-door hatch delivers remarkable fuel economy?”

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3 thoughts on “2009 Toyota Yaris Review”

  1. The lack of a manual transmission option in this car is kind of disappointing – I hope they’ll make it available in later model years.

  2. I like how the Yaris dash is designed. I was able to install my after market navigation system right behind the steering wheel. I liked my 2007 Toyota Yaris 3 door hatchback so well that I traded in my Ford Ranger, which gets a EPA 17 mpg highway, as a down payment, for a used 2007 Yaris 3 door hatchback which gets a EPA 35 mpg highway. As a disabled person, I only buy automatics, so the 2009 5 door Yaris having only a automatic available, may keep down production costs, and is acceptable to me.

  3. We love our Yaris [2009 sedan automatic] We have driven hi way and city combined with e-10 gas for nearly a year 38 mpg avg.

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