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2008 Toyota Yaris Trims

Base

Avg. Price: $9,632

Essentially a carry-over from the previous year, the 2008 Toyota Yaris Base offers drivers a family-friendly four-door sedan design, yet still delivers many of the Yaris's popular features, including a fuel-efficient engine, sporty handling, and an overall affordable subcompact vehicle for budget-oriented buyers.

With a nod toward economy and affordabity, the Yaris Base sedan comes with a stripped-down equipment list that includes just the basics. You'll get a tilt steering wheel, CFC-free air conditioning, a covered center console with storage areas, and an advanced airbag system (side airbags are optional). Frosted-illumination instrument gauges are also included with the Base package. However, if you want antilock brakes, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, or an audio system, you'll have to order those components either as singular options or as part of an options package. (The Base sedan does come equipped with an "audio prep package" that includes four speakers.)

The Base sedan offers good gas mileage, with miles per gallon averaging in the mid-30s, thanks to a fuel-efficient 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter, double-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard with the Base trim, while a four-speed automatic is available as an option.

While lacking some of the "fun" factors of the three-door Yaris Hatchback, the Base sedan still offers tight handling, especially around town. And because the Yaris Base sedan is nearly 20 inches longer than the Yaris Hatchback, it offers a smoother ride and more space in the rear seat. The Base sedan has good acceleration, especially with the manual transmission, but the engine can become noisy when pushed. For a small car, the Base sedan offers plenty of interior storage, with a variety of pockets and cup holders. Overall, the Yaris Base gets good marks for its value.

Base 2dr Hatchback

Avg. Price: $9,632

The 2008 Toyota Yaris Hatchback emphasizes affordability, with a stripped-down equipment list that includes just the basics. You'll get a tilt steering wheel, folding rear bench seat, CFC-free air conditioning, and an advanced airbag system (side airbags are an option). But if you want antilock brakes, power windows and door locks, front fog lights, an electric rear-window defroster, or an audio system, you'll have to order those components either as singular options or as part of an options package. (The Hatchback does come equipped with an "audio prep package" that includes four speakers.)

Of course, many drivers consider its affordability part of the Yaris's appeal. The subcompact has quickly gained a reputation as an economical and fun-to-drive vehicle, and the three-door Hatchback delivers those elements in spades. A 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter, double-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine averages gas mileage in the mid-30s, and despite its size, the Hatchback offers plenty of interior storage spaces, including center pockets, console trays, center cup holders, and map pockets.

As far as handling and ride are concerned, the Yaris Hatchback accelerates and navigates well, especially for city-type driving conditions. It holds the road well in tight turns, and some drivers note that it rides over bumpy roads better than expected. Passenger comfort can suffer over longer distances, however, and some note that the Yaris can be noisy. The bottom line: You get what you pay for, but the Yaris Hatchback at least gives you your money's worth, according to most drivers.

S

Avg. Price: $9,508

As the high-end and most expensive trim in the Yaris lineup for 2008, the Yaris S offers a fairly extensive list of standard features, as well as a fuel-efficient engine, sporty handling, and plenty of legroom and interior space, thanks to a wheelbase that's 20 inches longer than the Yaris Hatchback's.

Of course, as a four-door sedan, the Yaris S lacks some of the "fun" factor of the Hatchback. But it's a more family-friendly vehicle, with a 60/40-split fold-down rear bench seat and an advanced airbag system (side airbags are optional). A tilt steering wheel, CFC-free air conditioning, a covered center console with storage areas, and frosted-illumination instrument gauges are also included with the Yaris S package, as is an AM/FM/CD audio system with an MP3 input jack. However, to keep the Yaris S affordable, such features as antilock brakes, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, and cruise control are available only as options.

The Yaris S delivers good gas mileage, with miles per gallon averaging in the mid-30s, thanks to a fuel-efficient 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter, double-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, while a four-speed automatic is available as an option.

Thanks to the sedan's longer wheelbase, the Yaris S offers a fairly smooth ride for a subcompact vehicle, and its light weight, peppy engine, good acceleration, and independent MacPherson front struts result in nimble handling during even the trickiest driving around town. However, some drivers note that the engine can become noisy when pushed. Overall, though, drivers give the Yaris S high marks for its looks, value, and amenities.

S 2dr Hatchback

Avg. Price: $8,327

A new trim for 2008, and a step up from the entry-level Hatchback, the Toyota Yaris Hatchback S comes equipped with such standard features as sport seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, and an AM/FM/CD audio system with an MP3 input jack. The Hatchback S package also includes unique amber-illuminated Optitron instrument gauges, as well as S trim body panels and special S badging.

A fuel-efficient 106-horsepower, 1.5-liter, double-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine drives the Hatchback S, with gas mileage averaging in the mid-30s. The engine links to a five-speed manual transmission, which comes as standard equipment, while a four-speed automatic is available as an option.

An independent MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion-beam rear suspension provide a smooth ride, even over bumpy roads, while power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering provides good handling, especially around town. In addition, the Hatchback S rides on 15-inch wheels, as opposed to 14-inch wheels for the Base trim, which helps improve ride quality.

The Yaris Hatchback S offers plenty of interior storage space, including center pockets, console trays, center cup holders, and map pockets. On the downside, the three-door Hatchback S can be noisy under heavy acceleration, and passenger comfort can suffer over long distances. Still, for a marginal price increase over the Base Hatchback, the Hatchback S offers an upgraded equipment list that can make it a good value for drivers who prefer a better-equipped vehicle.