2009 Lemon Aid Superminis


GM chevrolet Aveo Hyundai Accent

Nissan Cube

GM Pontiac G3 Wave

Kia Rio, Rio 5

Nissan Versa

GM Suzuki Swift+

kia soul

Smart FourTwo

Honda Fit

MINI Toyota Yaris

 

 

 

Superminis (referred to as B-Segment cars in many markets) were once cramped, stark, slow and noisy. Those days are gone. Levels of comfort, cabin space, performance and refinement have increased to such an extent, that for many people, there is no need to move beyond this segment. Features like air-conditioning, power windows, locks and mirrors are either standard or available on all of the cars in this category. 

 Popular in the 90s, this segment went dormant when the U.S. market, which sets the trend for what vehicles are sold in Canada, soured on hatchbacks and small cars in general. The Toyota Echo (followed by the Yaris) and the Hyundai Accent were the sole cars in the segment for many years. The introduction of the Chevrolet Aveo and Suzuki Swift in 2004 marked a rebirth of the segment, which now includes the MINI, Smart, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa and Kia Rio.

 Sales of superminis amounted to 120,000 cars in 2007 and 150,000 in 2008, representing nearly 10 percent of total vehicle sales in Canada.

 2009 sees the release of the second-generation Honda Fit, as well as the Kia Soul and the Nissan Cube. The latter two proving that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a roomy, chic and really cool car.

For 2009, GM has updated (along with the Suzuki Swift+) the hatchback versions of the Chevrolet Aveo and Pontiac G3 Wave. Changes include exterior facelifts, new cabins and variable valve timing which boosts horsepower, and according to GM, lowers fuel consumption.  

While most cars in this category are inexpensive, two cars, the MINI and the Smart, broke the chains that once linked small with cheap.

 Vital safety features like side-curtain airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) are gradually creeping into cars in this segment. The Smart Fortwo and MINI, at the premium end of the market, are equipped with multiple airbags, ABS and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard equipment. At the fiscally frugal end of the market, the Nissan Cube matches the two German marques for standard safety gear. The Honda Fit has ABS, seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags as standard. Nissan’s Versa and Kia’s Soul lack the standard ABS but do come with six airbags. Other cars in this segment lack side-curtain airbags as standard equipment, offering them only in conjunction with expensive trim packages. Please refer to the Safety section for each car to determine what equipment is fitted to each model. 

 The better cars in this class are economical to operate, very reliable, and have excellent resale value. If you are not a cash buyer, please pay attention to monthly payments, as lease and finance monthlies for the best cars in the segment can be no greater than less worthy competitors.

 


  Chevrolet Aveo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BELOW AVERAGE
GENERAL MOTORS
CHEVROLET Aveo, Pontiac G3 Wave, SUZUKI Swift+ (FWD)
Body Styles: 4SD (GM), 4HB (All)
Engine: 1.6L-4 106 HP
Transmissions: 5M, 4A*
City Fuel Economy: 8.2L/100 km
ESC Available: No
Emissions Rating: n/a

What’s new
All: Variable valve timing cylinder head delivers three more horsepower and is stated to be more fuel efficient. Revised clutch and gearchange. Improved alternator. Hatchback (all three nameplates) exterior facelifts and updated cabins. GM: Oil life monitor, variable wipers and an audio input jack are standard. Optional satellite radio.  Wave gains G3 prefix. 

Performance
Equipped with the automatic, the car is smooth around town and relaxed on the highway. The manual gearchange was rubbery and allied to a lifeless clutch last year. According to GM, both are now more precise. Handling is secure but uninspiring, with some float evident at highway speeds. The steering, though nicely-weighted, lacks precision. The car has an absorbent ride. Effective braking. The driving position is conventional, and occupants will feel at ease immediately. This year the hatchback gets the cabin featured in the sedan since 2007. The interior design is elegant in a classical way, with good fit and finish. Clear instruments and straightforward controls. The front seats, though too soft for some, are comfortable enough for most occupants. The dash centre-stack is bulky, and some drivers find it uncomfortably close to their right knee. Rear seat comfort and legroom are good for this size of car. The trunk on the hatchback model is short but deep, and ample cargo space can be liberated by folding the rear seats down. The trunk on the sedan is commodious for so small a car. The sound quality of the audio system is good for the price. Good exterior paint and panel fit.

Reliability
Average reliability. High fuel consumption is a common grievance owners have with this car. Complaints on early production cars regarding emissions equipment, wheel bearings and suspension components that, in some cases, could not be resolved. Many of these issues were corrected over the last few years. Not as reliable as other Korean cars. Good underhood access. Three year/60,000 bumper to bumper warranty, 5 years/100,000 km powertrain warranty on the Suzuki, 5 years/160,000 on the Aveo and the G3 Wave.

Comments
GM’s aggressive dealer network have made these cars big sellers in Canada. Sales of these cars held steady in 2008. GM offers hatchback and sedan body styles, Suzuki just the hatch. Made in South Korea

Pricing
The G3 Wave costs $275 more than the Aveo. Trim upgrades represent reasonable value. A Yaris four door hatchback with the Convenience package costs about $750 more than a G3 Wave SE hatch. The Yaris will be worth $1500 to $2000 more than the Wave after three years. Expensive air conditioning option on GM and Suzuki versions. In case of a write-off, depreciation may result in a payout may be less than the balance owed on the car. Unless you live in a town where GM is the only game in town, there are better choices available. Monthly payments for these cars can be as high as for the most highly regarded vehicles in this segment.

Safety
Seat-mounted side airbags are standard on all versions of this car.  Side-curtain airbags not offered. Rated Acceptable  in the IIHS frontal test, Marginal in the side test and Poor in the rear test. Ranked 4th out of the 5 cars in its class. ABS, optional on GM versions of the car, is not offered by Suzuki. ESC is not available.


Honda Fit

 

 

 

 

ABOVE AVERAGE
HONDA Fit (FWD)
Body Styles: 4HB
Engines: 1.5L-4  i-VTEC 117 HP
Transmission: 5M, 5A*
City Fuel Economy: 7.2L/100km
ESC Available: No
Emissions rating: Tier 2 Bin 5

 

What’s New
The second-generation Fit went on sale in the fall of 2008.

Comments
The new Fit is built on a longer wheelbase and is longer overall than before. It has a similar silhouette to its predecessor, but has different proportions within that envelope. The 1.5L 117 HP four zings happily when mated to the precise manual transmission. Low gearing delivers snappy performance at all speeds, but also high revs (3000 rpm/100 km/h) when cruising. The responsive automatic uses every bit of the Fit's available power and cruises at lower revs, but makes the engine sound harsh when pushed. Light, but precise steering and predictable handling. More absorbent ride on the LX than on the Sport. The driving position of the new Fit is much better than before, and the front seats are more substantial and supportive. Big gauges and logical controls are contained within a bulbous dashboard. Both fit and finish reflect thrifting. Slow heater with little output when idling. Drafty cabin in cold weather. Great outward vision. Good space utilization, cargo capacity and versatility. Good fuel economy, and one of only a handful of cars to receive a $100 rebate from the province on Ontario for low fuel consumption.

Reliability
New model, not rated. Predicted reliability is above average. The last high-volume Honda sold in Canada still built in Japan. Three year 60,000 bumper to bumper warranty, 5 years/100,000 km on the powertrain.

Pricing
The LX trim level is good value, but the Sport is overpriced. Unless you can pay cash for your Fit, you may want to buy something else this year. Factory financing is not available, and lease payments are uncompetitive. A Fit LX costs nearly $90 more per month to lease (48 month/$0 down) than a similarly-equipped Yaris LE five-door hatchback, and $60 more than Nissan Versa S with the same features. The Fit LX is actually no cheaper to lease (48 months $0 down) than a Civic DX-G.    

Safety
Seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard on all models. Tested by the IIHS, the Fit was a Top Safety Pick, and was the only car in its segment to be rated Good for frontal, side and rear impacts. Ranked 1st of the 5 cars tested in its class. Standard ABS. ESC is not offered.   


Hyundai Accent

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVERAGE
HYUNDAI Accent (FWD)
Body Styles: 2HB, 4SD*
Engines: 1.6L-4 110 HP
Transmission: 5M, 4A*
City Fuel Economy: 7.9L/100 km
ESC Available: No
Emissions Rating: n/a

What’s  New
Enhanced fuel economy. 25th Anniversary Accent sedan. Cruise control standard on the GLS.

Performance
The Accent’s engine is smooth, with a pleasant rasp when extended. The clutch and gearchange of the manual transmission lack precision but are foolproof in operation. The engine spins quickly at cruising speeds but doesn’t spoil refinement. The automatic transmission works well, with the engine cruising at lower revs than it does when linked to the manual. Long-travel suspension and overly soft settings allow too much wallow over large bumps and a floating feel on the highway. Fantastic air conditioning and good sounding audio system for a car at this price. Very good driving position, comfortable seats, and good legroom front and rear for a car this small. The car is rated as a five-seater, but the three people in the back had better be rake thin. The cabin is tastefully conservative in style, and carefully constructed from attractive components. Big, clear instrumentation, and simple, logical controls. Big trunk. Good exterior paint finish and panel fit.

Reliability
Recent Accents have had average to above average reliability for the first four years of ownership, deteriorating thereafter. Five year/100,000 km bumper to bumper warranty.  

Comments
The Accent enters its fourth year on the market with only minor changes. Power comes from a 1.6L four with 110 horsepower. Power is sent to the front wheels via either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Made in South Korea.  

Pricing
Upgrading to the next trim level represents good value. An Accent GLS sedan has a $195 higher MSRP than a Toyota Yaris sedan with the Enhanced Convenience and Appearance packages. Monthly finance (60 months $0 down) payments are similar to those for the Yaris, but the Accent is about $25 cheaper per month to lease (48 month $0 down) than the Toyota. Above average freight charge.

Safety 
Seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard on the GLS sedan only. Not offered on other models. Tested by the IIHS with side airbags, the Accent was rated Acceptable in the frontal impact test and Poor in the side and rear impact tests. Ranked last of the 5 cars tested in its class. ABS is standard on the GLS sedan only, not offered on other models. ESC is not available.

 

  Kia Rio

 

 

 

 

 

 

AVERAGE
HYUNDAI
KIA Rio, Rio 5 (FWD)
Body Style: 4SD*, 4HB      
Engine: 1.6L-4 110 HP
Transmission: 5M, 4A*
City Fuel Economy: 7.7L/100 km
ESC Available: No
Emissions Rating: n/a
 

What’s new
SX hatchback discontinued. Bluetooth to be phased in as standard equipment during the model year.

Comments
The Hyundai Accent-based Kia Rio enters its fourth year on the market with few changes. Both Kia and Hyundai offer a sedan, but the four-door hatchback is a Kia exclusive. No exterior body panels are shared with the Accent, and with stronger, cleaner, lines, the Kia is arguably the better looking of the two. The interiors of the two cars differ only in details like upholstery and colour selection. The cabin is roomy for this class, with comfortable seats with a good driving position. Spacious trunk on the sedan and a versatile cargo area on the hatchback. Panel fit and paint are both well done. Made in South Korea.  

Reliability
Based on the Hyundai Accent, whose reliability is average to above average for the first four years, deteriorating thereafter. Five year/100,000 bumper to bumper warranty.     

Pricing
Kia charges $400 to $600 more for the hatchbacks than the sedans. The EX Convenience package represents fair value for the premium charged. The Sport hatchback includes about $4000 worth of content for $2300. With automatic transmission, the Rio EX hatchback is priced about $850 higher than an Accent GL hatchback. The Rio EX sedan with the Convenience package costs $200 less than an Accent GL sedan. The Accent GLS sedan is about $850 cheaper than a Rio 5 Sport, but lacks the Rio’s sunroof. Check monthly payments of both cars as they can vary. Take a look at Japanese cars in this segment before settling on the Rio, especially if leasing. Monthly payments for the Rio5 Sport and a loaded Toyota Yaris four-door hatchback are little different. Rapid depreciation; make sure you have a waiver of depreciation endorsement on your auto insurance policy unless you are leasing. Above average freight charge.

Safety
Seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard only on the Rio5 EX Sport, and are not offered on other trim levels. Tested by the IIHS with side airbags, the Rio was rated Acceptable in the frontal impact test and Poor in the side and rear impact tests, ranked last of the 5 cars in its class. ABS is standard on the Rio 5 EX Sport, but is not available on other models. ESC is not available.

 Kia Soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW
HYUNDAI
2010 KIA Soul (FWD)
Body Style: 4HB      
Engine: 1.6L-4 122 HP, 2L-4 142 HP
Transmission: 5M, 4A
City Fuel Economy: n/a
ESC Available: Yes
Emissions Rating: n/a

 

Comments
The tall and angular Soul is built on a 50 mm (2 inch) longer wheelbase, and is 50 mm (2 inches) longer, 156 mm (6.14 inches) wider and 150 mm (5.97 inches) taller than the Kia Rio 5. The Soul steps away from the tasteful banality delivered the Hyundai/Kia combine into something wacky enough to be a Scion before Scion lost its way. Inside, the Soul combines genuinely funky design with all of the room and versatility a tall hatchback body style can provide. The dashboard, with a Mazda 3 type gauge cluster and prominent centre stack looks unique and modern. The high contrast mid-century two-tone décor on the Burner and Retro trim levels is retro and cutting edge at the same time. Controls are stylish and straightforward. Fit and finish are good. Power comes from familiar Hyundai 1.6L and 2L fours. Two transmissions, a five-speed manual and a four-speed automatic, are available with the 2L, with manual transmission only with the 1.6L. The Like the Rondo, the Soul could be a genuine breakthrough product for Kia.

Reliability
New model, not rated. The Soul is base on the Rio, which has average to above average reliability for the first four years, deteriorating after that. Five year/100,000 km warranty.  

Pricing
Starting at $15,495, the Soul is very aggressively priced. For $19,195, the Kia Soul 2u features a 2L engine, automatic transmission, a power convenience group, some appearance items like deep tint glass and alloy wheels, as well as safety equipment like ABS and ESC. Upgrading from one trim level to the next represents excellent value. 

Safety
Seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags are standard. Not crash tested. ABS and ESC, not available with the 1.6L engine, are standard on 2L Souls.

  MINI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOT RATED
MINI Classic, Cooper, Cooper S, John Cooper Works (FWD)
Body Style: 2HB*, 3SW, 2CB
Engines: 1.6L-4 118 HP, 1.6L-4T 172 HP, 1.6L-4T 208 HP (JCW)
Transmissions: 6M*, 6A
City Fuel Economy: 7.9L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions rating: Tier 2 Bin 5

What’s new
New steering wheel with cruise control buttons on all models. Dynamic stability control is added to the Cooper Classic. Auto climate control added to the Cooper and Cooper S. Altered options and option packages. The second-generation convertible is finally on sale. Special order 208 HP John Cooper Works model offered in standard and Clubman body styles.

Comments
The longer Clubman has a truck-style flipper door on the passenger side to aid ingress to a rear seat which has more legroom than the regular model. Improved cargo capacity is accessed via side-hinged van-style doors. The 1.6L fours, normally-aspirated on the Cooper, turbocharged on the Cooper S, can be linked to a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic on all models. The Cooper engine is flexible, pulls well, cruises quietly and sounds like the A-series engine in the Issigonis Mini.  Fuel efficient base engine. The chassis serves up a firm, yet compliant ride, direct steering and agile handling unhindered by twitchiness. The regular model has good space upfront, but rear legroom is tight and cargo capacity is limited. Good fit and finish, stylized ergonomics, naff key, frustrating audio controls and weak air conditioning. Hard to refuel. Made in England.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. The previous MINI ended its production life with an Average reliability rating, but generated numerous complaints for the first few years it was sold here. MINI is not a signatory of the Canadian Motor Vehicle Arbitration Plan (CAMVAP). Four year/80,000 km warranty.  

Pricing
The additional content of the Cooper is worth the $1400 price boost compared with the Classic, especially as dealers are more ready to haggle on the Cooper than they are in the lower profit Classic. The Clubman body style is priced $1600 over the equivalent hatchback. The Cooper S package commands a $5100 premium over the Cooper model. Alfresco fans need to stump up an extra $5150 (Cooper) to $6360 (S) compared with a similarly-equipped hatchback. Option packages offer fair value for the money. At $8400 more than the Cooper S, the John Cooper Works package is a huge amount of money for 26 extra horsepower.

Safety
Seat-mounted side and head-protecting side airbags are standard. Rated Good in the IIHS frontal impact test, Acceptable in the IIHS side impact test and Good in the rear impact test. Ranked 3rd of the 5 vehicles in its class. ABS and ESC are standard.

  Nissan Cube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW
NISSAN Cube
Body Styles: 4HB
Engine: 1.8L-4 122 HP
Transmissions: 6M, CVT
City Fuel Economy: n/a
ESC: Standard.
Emissions rating: Tier 2 Bin 5 

What’s new
Now in its third generation in Japan, the Cube makes it to Canada.

Comments
Based on the architecture underpinning the Versa. With 70 mm (2.8 inches) less space between the wheels, the Cube, is 315 mm (12.4 inches) shorter, the same width and 160 mm (6.3 inches) taller than the Versa hatchback. The styling is unique, a bit comical, and features an asymmetric rear tailgate and window treatment. Although it has a boxy silhouette, it bears many curvilinear styling elements. The body contains an astonishing amount of cabin and cargo space. There is generous space for four, with reasonable space for five, as the vertical body sides allow for greater cabin width at shoulder level. The powertrain, a 1.8L four hooked to either a six-speed manual transmission or a CVT, is pulled directly from the Versa parts bin. With six airbags, ABS and ESC, the Cube features full safety equipment. Air conditioning and a power group are standard, with high tech options like keyless go, Bluetooth, iPod port and rear parking sonar, optional. Like the first Scion xB, the Cube combines abundant space, good fuel economy, and an undeniable cool, with very aggressive pricing.

Reliability
New vehicle, not rated. Three year/60,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, 5 year/100,000 km powertrain warranty.  

Pricing
No pricing available. 

Safety
Standard seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags. Not crash tested. Standard ABS and ESC.

  Nissan Versa

 

 

 

 

 


ABOVE AVERAGE
NISSAN Versa
Body Styles: 4HB*, 4SD
Engine: 1.6L-4 107 HP (sedan), 1.8L-4* 122 HP (hatch)
Transmissions: 5M, 4A (sedan), 6M, CVT*, 4A (hatch)
City Fuel Economy: 7.5L/100 km
ESC Available: No
Emissions rating: ULEV  

What’s new
1.6L sedan repositioned as a value leader 

Performance
The continuously variable transmission (CVT) works well with the 1.8L four, delivering refined motoring around town and on the highway. However, like any CVT hooked to a smaller engine, the high sustained revs the transmission allows during maximum acceleration sounds odd. The six-speed manual transmission (1.8L) is more a “Brochure” feature than a benefit because of poorly chosen gear ratios. The Versa has a fluid ride-handling balance that combines an absorbent ride with confident handling. The steering is light, but precise. Good brakes with solid feel at the pedal. The Versa uses more fuel than cars it is priced against (Yaris, Accent) because its size, weight, power and performance are equal to cars one class higher (Sentra, Cobalt, Focus). Width aside, the Versa is an exceptionally roomy car, and with long, tall doors, an easy car to get in and out of. Large, clear instrumentation and big, logical controls. Cabin materials and assembly quality are first rate. Trunk space is good with the rear seat in place and ample with the rear seatbacks folded. It could be even better if the folded rear seat could be flip-folded forward, but it can’t. At least Nissan made rear seat comfort more of a priority than cargo versatility. Huge trunk on the sedan.  

Reliability
Nissans generate average to above average reliability. The CVT is unproven. Three year/60,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, 5 years/100,000 km on the powertrain 

Comments
Compared to the Honda Fit, the Versa hatchback is roughly the same width and height, but is built on a 100 mm (4 inch) longer wheelbase, is 190 mm (7.5 inches) longer overall and about 100 kg heavier. The Versa is a big car for its class and an exceptionally roomy one. The sedan is built on the same wheelbase, but is 175 mm (6.9 inches) longer than the hatchback. Made in Mexico.

Pricing
For less than $17,000, the Versa S hatch with automatic, the Value Option package and ABS, offers a lot car for the money. For only $1100 more, the SL with CVT, alloy wheels, cruise control, a six CD changer and more luxurious trim, is a steal. High value Sport package. At under $16,000 with the Value Option package, automatic transmission and ABS, the 1.6L sedan is one of the best values in the new car market. It’s MSRP is roughly $1700 less than a Yaris automatic sedan with the Enhanced Convenience package. However, if you are leasing, payments (based on $0. down, 48 month lease) for the Toyota will be about $30 less per month. Finance purchasers will save roughly $20 per month (60 month finance with $0. down) by picking the Versa. Monthly lease payments for a loaded Versa S hatchback are nearly $100 less per month (48 month lease, $0. down, tax included) than those for the Honda Fit Sport. Comparably equipped (Versa SL hatchback versus a Sentra 2.0S), the less roomy but larger Sentra costs about $20 more per month to lease or purchase finance than a Versa. Consider financing the Versa, as finance payments (48 month lease versus 60 month finance) are only about $40 more per month, and you will own the car after five years.

Safety
Seat-mounted side airbags and side-curtain airbags are standard. Tested by the IIHS, the Versa was rated Good in the frontal, side and rear tests. Ranked 3rd of the 18 cars in its class. Optional ABS on the S, standard on the SL. ESP is not available.

 Smart Fortwo

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOT RATED
SMART Fortwo (RWD)
Body Style: 2HB, 2CV
Engine: 1L-3 70 HP
Transmission: 5A
City Fuel Economy: 5.9L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions rating: Tier 2 Bin 5

What’s new
New colours inside and outside. Door nets replace bins. Fuel cap open warning light added. Brabus trim level added.

Comments
The second-generation Fortwo has sold well in Canada, and in the U.S., where sales exceeded expectations. The Smart is powered by a three cylinder 1000 cc gasoline engine that produces 70 horsepower (on premium fuel). Power reaches the rear wheels via a five-speed automated manual with a fully-automatic setting. A conventional PRNDL gear selector has a manumatic mode, with paddle shifters added on the Passion trim level. The engine spins willingly; and while the current Smart is much faster than the previous diesel model, it is still one of the slowest new cars on the market. The transmission is slow and jerky. Choppy ride. Sensitive to crosswinds. The short wheelbase and light front end can make winter operation a somewhat dicey proposition. The cabin is quite spacious for two, with reasonable cargo capacity. The dashboard is functional but visually over-scaled for the car. The new cabriolet boasts a defroster-equipped glass rear window. The coupe is marketed in Pure and Passion trim levels, the cabriolet is Passion only. Heater output, a real weak point in the diesel Smart, is improved. Built in France.

Reliability
Not rated, insufficient data. The new Smart looks mechanically simpler than before but is an unproven design. The new Smart is also sold in the U.S., which makes having a mechanical breakdown there less problematic than it would have been with the previous model. 

Pricing
The Pure model is priced at $15,846 with air conditioning. Upgrading to the Passion trim level represents great value. That said, value and the Smart cannot really be reconciled. You have to love the design or the sheer novelty of the car to consider it, as it is a non-starter on a size-price-features-value basis. The Passion convertible is priced $3000 higher than its hatchback equivalent.

Safety
Standard side airbags. Tested by the IIHS, the Fortwo was rated Good in the frontal and side impact tests, and Marginal in the rear impact test. The Fortwo is the only car in its class. Standard ABS and ESP.


 Toyota Yaris

 

 

 

 

ABOVE AVERAGE
TOYOTA Yaris (FWD)
Engine: 1.5L-4 106 HP
Body Styles: 2HB, 4HB, 4SD
Engines: 1.5L-4 DOHC 106 HP
Transmissions: 5M, 4A*
City Fuel Economy: 7L/100 km
ESC available: No
Emissions rating: Tier 2 Bin 5

What’s new
Minor facelift. New cabin fabrics. Side-curtain airbags and 60/40 split rear seat are now optional on the LE hatchback.

Performance
The 1.5L engine is economical and willing, but can sound coarse at town speeds. The automatic transmission works well. The manual transmission has a pleasant gearchange but the clutch, with a friction point too close to the floor, is unpleasant. Hatchback: the supple suspension reconciles ride and handling very well. Though it exhibits some body roll, the Yaris is an agile companion on twisty roads. Nicely-weighted, precise, electrically-assisted steering. Sedan: with lighter steering and different suspension settings, the sedan is not quite as sharp on the road as the hatchback. The narrow front seats are comfortable; and the rear seat is supportive and surprisingly roomy. The lower roofline of the sedan reduces the view out for rear passengers. The trunk is tiny on the hatch; spacious on the sedan.

Reliability
Above average reliability due to Japanese component sourcing and the proven powertrain. The similar Echo had the best reliability and lowest operating costs of any vehicle on the market. Three year/60,000 km warranty, 5 years/100,000 km on the powertrain. 

Comments
The interior features a central instrument binnacle displaying instruments of great clarity. The dashboard centre stack is quite slim to allow for generous space at knee level. The climate control knobs are vertically arrayed on the centre stack and look like the combination wheels on a back vault. Interior materials are attractive, even on the base model, and very well assembled. The cargo area is neatly finished, but cargo space is both short and shallow with the rear seat arrayed to accept passengers. Split-fold rear seats are standard on the RS and optional on lesser models. One of only a handful of gasoline-powered cars that qualify for a $100 rebate under the provisions of the Ontario Tax for Fuel Conservation. Made in Japan. 

Pricing
The Convenience package and Enhanced convenience packages (hatchback and sedan) are both very good value. The RS package is overpriced. The sedan is cheaper than an equivalent hatchback. Aggressive incentives from Toyota makes monthly payments (lease or finance) for the Yaris very competitive when compared with less worthy rivals.    

Safety
Seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags are optional on both the hatchback and sedan. Tested by the IIHS with side airbags, the Yaris was rated Good in frontal and side impacts, Marginal in rear impacts. Ranked 2nd of the 5 cars in its class. ABS is standard on the RS model, optional on all others. ESC is not offered.