What Changed for 2009:
- New 5-door Liftback joins lineup
- Styling freshened
- Body kit and new interior color scheme for sport models
- Anti-lock brakes (ABS), side and side-curtain air bags become standard
- Cruise control available on Liftback
- Integrated iPod capability
- New Liftback colors: Yellow Jolt and Carmine Red
- New Sedan colors: Zephyr Blue Metallic and Blue Streak Metallic
For the 2007 model year, Toyota was among the first automakers to introduce a new generation of subcompact models to the American marketplace. Toyota's was the Yaris, replacing the Echo as the automaker's entry-level model and available as a 3-door Liftback model or a 4-door Sedan. For the 2009 model year, a 5-door Liftback version joins the lineup. The Yaris was designed in Europe and has been the sales leader in a category that has become increasingly popular as gasoline prices have escalated.
Each of the three 2009 Toyota Yaris models is available in base and S trim levels (S being short for Sport). Each Yaris comes with air conditioning, tilt steering column, intermittent wipers, wiring and speakers for an audio system, and now with side and curtain air bags as well as air bags mounted ahead of the driver and front-seat passenger. Also for the 2009 model year, ABS becomes a standard feature. The S versions of the Yaris include an audio system with CD and MP3 player, rear window defogger, split-folding rear seat and a body appearance package and interior upgrades.
The 2009 Toyota Yaris is powered by a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that provides 106 hp. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard and a 4-speed automatic transmission is optional. The engine is rated at 29 mpg city/36 mpg highway with the manual gearbox and at 29 mpg city/35 mpg highway with automatic transmission. The Yaris powertrain qualifies the car as a ULEV-II, an ultra-low-emission vehicle.
For the 2009 model year, the Toyota Yaris gains front-seat-mounted side air bags and roof rail-mounted side curtain air bags. ABS becomes standard equipment.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 Toyota Yaris Sedan receives 4 stars (out of 5) in frontal crash testing for both driver and front passenger. The Sedan was not tested for side-impact protection. It also received 4 stars for rollover resistance. The 2009 Toyota Yaris 3-door Liftback was rated at 5 stars (the agency's best rating) for frontal protection for the driver and at 4 stars for the passenger in frontal impacts. The 3-door model did not undergo side-impact tests, but again earned 4 stars for its rollover resistance. The 5-door Liftback had yet to be tested as of this writing. Likewise, no results for the 2009 Toyota Yaris were posted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).