2010 Toyota Yaris

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starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown


Body style


Combined MPG


Seating capacity

169.3” x 57.5”


Front-wheel drive



The good:

  • Lowest-priced Toyota
  • Side curtain, side-impact airbags
  • Available rear seat slides fore and aft

The bad:

  • Center-mounted instrument cluster

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2010 Toyota Yaris trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Hatchbacks for 2024

Notable features

  • Stubby design, miniscule overhangs
  • Standard stability system
  • Standard antilock brakes

2010 Toyota Yaris review: Our expert's take

By David Thomas

Editor’s note: This review was written in April 2009 about the 2009 Toyota Yaris. Little of substance has changed with this year’s model. To see what’s new for 2010, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

In the world of subcompact cars, things have improved greatly over the past few years. Today’s smallest models offer a lot of room, good fuel economy and surprising levels of quality for small amounts of money. The Toyota Yaris is in this segment, and this is the first year the smallest Toyota has been available as a four-door hatchback; previously, only a two-door hatch and a sedan were offered.

Testing the new four-door hatchback, I found myself enjoying the driving experience more than I ever thought possible. However, its price tag is surprisingly high, I wasn’t very comfortable in it and its ergonomics are downright poor.

In the realm of really small cars, the Yaris isn’t that unattractive. Its snub nose is probably its most striking attribute, and you can find it on both the sedan and hatchback. The sedan’s body style is very traditional; it doesn’t stand out on the road. The two- and four-door hatchbacks have a bit more utility and are more distinguishable.

There’s one positive about the Yaris’ interior that hits you right away: It feels like a more expensive car than it is (the four-door hatch starts at $13,305). One negative hits you about 20 minutes into a drive: It’s incredibly uncomfortable to sit in and even harder to live with.

Let’s tackle the positives first. The Yaris’ materials are very nice: The plastics have nice graining, and there are few rough edges to be found. I’d even say the interior is more pleasing to the eye than the recently redesigned Toyota Corolla. The seat fabric seems like it would be very durable over the long haul, yet it still feels good to the touch. It’s just too bad the seats are horribly unsupportive and offer little thigh support.

The Yaris certainly won’t be the first pick for larger drivers. By the time my first commute home was done, my back hurt. For the record, I’m 5-feet, 10-inches and about average weight. By comparison, I thought the Honda Fit’s seats were much more comfortable.

The other major problem with the Yaris’ interior is its ergonomics. First, there’s the instrument cluster, which is in the center of the dashboard. While this may work in other small cars, like the Mini Cooper, the Yaris’ pale, amber-colored speedometer readout doesn’t stand out enough to grab your eyes. I just kind of gave up looking at it and assumed that I wasn’t speeding.

Then there’s the stereo. The knobs for volume and tuning are so stubby and slippery it was a struggle just to turn up a good song when one came on the radio. Luckily, the air conditioning controls are simply done, with three huge knobs that have ridges to grab onto.

Don’t get me started on the cupholders. There’s only one traditional cupholder, and it’s placed at the far back of the center console, behind the driver’s right elbow. It was a pain to reach back to get a drink. Each door has a bottleholder, but then what do you do with two Slurpees? Two venti lattes? I wouldn’t complain if there weren’t a huge area in front of the shifter where Toyota could have easily put two more cupholders. Instead, it’s just a flat area where you can place cell phones and change.

There are also little cubbies — big enough for the smallest cell phones and MP3 players — sprinkled throughout the front of the car. I didn’t use any of them.

As for roominess, the Yaris is surprisingly adequate. The driver and front passenger have ample headroom and legroom. Even in the backseat there’s a surprising amount of headroom, but your legs can’t stretch too far. I wouldn’t even think of squeezing a third person back there unless they were a very dear frenemy.

By far the biggest shock about the Yaris was how much pep it had. Yes, I’d call it pep. The 1.5-liter four-cylinder only produces 106 horsepower, but it sure moves the Yaris with a lot of zip. The little engine revs healthily even when paired with a four-speed automatic transmission, and it passes easily on the highway. Of course, that zippiness was most often with just one person in the car, though I didn’t notice any decrease in performance when driving with my wife and 1-year-old son. I assume three adults in the back, however, would make the engine work much harder.

Wind and road noise aren’t terrible for this class. The ride is also pretty comfortable considering the car’s short wheelbase. That short wheelbase also lets you easily make a U-turn on narrow side streets, which comes in handy if you live in an urban area. (When Cars.com tested the Smart ForTwo we were shocked it couldn’t make the same maneuver.)

Handling is superb and exactly what you’d expect from a tiny runabout. Turns are sharp and crisp. The steering wheel is a bit sensitive to even the slightest hand movement, but that level of responsiveness gives the car some sportiness. Body roll is excessive, however, and is the one real detractor in the driving experience.

Mileage is very good, as you’d expect. The Yaris achieves an EPA-estimated 29/36 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 29/35 mpg with the automatic.

The Yaris comes standard with antilock brakes and seat-mounted side-impact airbags, plus side curtain airbags for both rows. Electronic stability control isn’t offered.

The Yaris received the top rating, Good, in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests, but it received a score of Marginal (second worst) in rear crash tests. That test simulates whiplash forces on a crash-test dummy.

Recently, IIHS released a damaging report on very small cars, including the Yaris, that showed significant damage in head-on collisions with midsize sedans. So while the Yaris’ scores are good when compared to others in its class, buyers should remember that cars of this size are at a safety disadvantage against larger cars. The Fit is the only subcompact car that’s earned IIHS’ Top Safety Pick designation (when equipped with optional electronic stability control), but even it fared poorly in a head-on crash test with the larger Honda Accord.

Even after years of studying safety reports and testing hundreds of cars, I don’t feel totally safe in cars with doors that shut with a tinny clank, like the Yaris’ do. It’s not a professional assessment; it’s a personal one. In the end, reason won out and I put my son in the Yaris during my week of testing. Still, there are a lot of people who have safety reservations when it comes to cars this size.

I came away from my time with the Yaris liking its performance a lot more than I thought I would, but there’s no way I could live with its poor ergonomics and uncomfortable seating. The price tag will lure many to the table, though. Car shoppers should understand, though, that even a modestly equipped Yaris costs much more than the $12,205 you’d pay for the lowliest two-door hatchback Yaris, with its manual transmission and 14-inch steel wheels — and no stereo.

As mentioned, the four-door hatchback starts at $13,305 with a standard automatic transmission, but adding simple conveniences like power windows and door locks requires a $2,170 option package.

All told, my test car topped $17,000 with its optional alloy wheels and the destination charge. A similarly equipped Honda Fit with 15-inch steel wheels costs about $16,000, and the better-equipped Fit Sport with 16-inch wheels comes in around $17,500. So if you want things like power windows and locks, the Fit is the better choice. It’s also roomier and has better safety scores. If you just want to spend as little as possible, the Yaris fits the bill and would make a serviceable choice if you want a $12,000 car, which is something Honda doesn’t offer. Nissan’s Versa is another possibility; it too is larger than the Yaris and comes in very basic trim levels with few frills.

Even the most basic Corolla has a full complement of side airbags and comes in at $15,350.

Yaris in the market
With such tough competition from Honda and Nissan, it’s hard to recommend the Yaris over its roomier competitors. Its mileage isn’t enough to warrant the tradeoffs in space and — with regard to the Fit — safety.

If all you really want is a truly inexpensive new car, then the Yaris will offer reliable, efficient transportation to meet your needs. However, if you’re looking for a vehicle with even modest levels of convenience, like power windows, there are better options.

Send David an email  
Photo of David Thomas
Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.0
  • Interior 4.1
  • Performance 4.3
  • Value 4.7
  • Exterior 4.3
  • Reliability 4.9
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews


Trusty little daily driver.

I bought my 4-door Yaris hatchback new (to replace a 14-year-old Tacoma my senior dog could no longer get into) and it has been a reliable daily driver for the past thirteen years. I live in Atlanta and commute about a half hour to and from work five days a week. I make occasional treks to the mountains with my dog to hike and go to Michigan once a year, but the vast majority of the time, I'm driving around potholes and idiots in the city. I love being able to fit into the smallest parking spaces. My gas mileage is a little lower than advertised (I'm getting about 26 mpg in the city), but that's likely the result of idling at red lights. It does better on the highway. The car handles nicely, runs quietly and hasn't given me a moment of grief. The windshield wiper motor did have to be replaced as a result of tree debris falling into the oddly open spaces where the arms are mounted. Oh, and changing the headlights is a misery! I miss the days when all one had to do was pop off a plastic cover and swap out the bulb. Once I learned I'd have to remove the bumper, I let the dealer handle it. And even the dealer wasn't thrilled because the old bulb had melted some of the wiring. All things considered, though, I love the car. Hoping to get at least twenty years out of it.


Best car I have ever owned

I love my Toyota Yaris hatchback. It's the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. I have at time 220,000 miles on it. The only thing I've had to repair was a right wheel bearing. I get regular oil changes and never delay it at 3,000 miles and change the air filter. Best car I have owned. I plan to get another 100,000 miles if Brandon doesn't ban oil and gas vehicles. I've had this car 7 years. 2010 hatchback


2010 Yaris is JUNK.

The 1010 Yaris is your bargain basic "Yugoesque" city runner. No frills, no comforts not even a usable drink holder and way too small for even a 5'7" person like me. Not well thought out, poorly designed and a leave at home car when the roads are wet or icy. Absolute zero performance to the level of borderline dangerous. the worst handling small car I've ever driven in my almost 50 years of driving. Would not be survivable in an accident and definitely could never go 600,000 miles as one paid reviewer fallaciously claimed. Remember your science lessons, that is impossible. It's pretty much a crappy car by the 150,000 mile mark, it's all used up! Current actual value of this car is honestly $1,500 and not a penny more.

See all 52 consumer reviews


Based on the 2010 Toyota Yaris base trim.
Frontal driver
Frontal passenger
Nhtsa rollover rating
Side driver
Side rear passenger


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Toyota
New car program benefits
36 months/36,000 miles
60 months/unlimited distance
60 months/60,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
7 years/less than 85,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12, 000 miles
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
160- or 174-point inspections
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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